Walter Russell Meade on Obama and – Hamilton, Wilson, Jefferson, and Jackson

Provocative, interesting essay by Walter Russell Meade in the latest Foreign Policy, The Carter Syndrome.  It argues that Obama is a Jeffersonian in his foreign policy trying to come to grips with his Wilsonianism (“Barack Obama might yet revolutionize America’s foreign policy. But if he can’t reconcile his inner Thomas Jefferson with his inner Woodrow Wilson, the 44th president could end up like No. 39.”).  Among the other matters of interest in the article is Meade setting out four broad paradigms of US foreign policy historically:

In general, U.S. presidents see the world through the eyes of four giants: Alexander Hamilton, Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson. Hamiltonians share the first Treasury secretary’s belief that a strong national government and a strong military should pursue a realist global policy and that the government can and should promote economic development and the interests of American business at home and abroad. Wilsonians agree with Hamiltonians on the need for a global foreign policy, but see the promotion of democracy and human rights as the core elements of American grand strategy. Jeffersonians dissent from this globalist consensus; they want the United States to minimize its commitments and, as much as possible, dismantle the national-security state. Jacksonians are today’s Fox News watchers. They are populists suspicious of Hamiltonian business links, Wilsonian do-gooding, and Jeffersonian weakness.

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