The writer argues that Woodrow Wilson loses in the League of Nations fight because of the three main propositions. However, the first one is considered to be the most important. The author points out that Wilson lost in the fight because he was “ahead of his time”. Because of this characteristic, he is daring in his actions and tries to do his best. Wilson is one step ahead his peers, which are not able to cope with him. He is also unyielding in his disposition, for example, he insists to be a part of the obligations, stated in Article X, despite the objections from his colleagues.
The oppositionists, however, take his being ahead of time negatively. They believe that Wilson is acting like a messiah, and that he can easily delude them. Being a Protestant and a modernist in his views has inculcated Wilson a thought that he can save the world from carnage and armed conflicts. The oppositionists also accuse him of suffering from oedipal complex, a childhood psychological condition, wherein a boy is sexually attracted to his mother, thus assuming the role of her husband. Such condition makes him adjust the conflict in a fatherly way, where he behaves like he has an authority over it. However, the author argues against these allegations, reiterating that they are baseless and not well expounded. He adds that the limitation of Wilson’s ideas is not a flaw; it rather shows his flexibility as he does not intend his ideas to be absolute in order to allow room for improvements. The author also cites three flaws of the oppositionists’ interpretation of Wilson’s psychological problems. Firstly, the interpretation neglects the words used by Wilson in his writings and oral speeches, which do not support the messianic syndrome. He does not suggest a war as a solution. Secondly, the oppositionists criticize Wilson’s flaws, however, they fail to understand that Wilson’s religious upbringing and belief prevent him from assuming messianic role. Thirdly, the interpretation did not consider that the heart stroke, which happened during the League of Nations fight in 1920, hugely affected Wilson’s refusal to compromise.
However, the oppositionists strongly believe that Wilson is too ahead of time, and they cite circumstances that are connected with his advanced mentality. They admit that they cannot cope up with him and, therefore, refuse to accept his ideas. The author points out that the oppositionists object to Wilson because they, particularly Lodge and Root, simply dislike him. Their resentment is based on their personal prejudice, thus, their claim is not credible. The author also points out that the bipartisan is similar to partisan. Bipartisan does not conform to the two-party system of America, where the two parties are opposing ardently each other. However, they have equal importance in their quest for the common goal. Neither is denounced. On the other hand, bipartisan, according to the author, is a system that promotes suppression or denouncement of either party, thus the sense of having two parties is lost. In the long run, Lodge, the ardent adversary to Wilson, agrees with some of Wilson’s ideas. His conceding, however, makes him more of a laughing stock than noble. Later on, the author stresses that these circumstances, coupled with nationwide political unrest, contribute to the advanced thinking of Wilson. This leads to the re-emphasis of the possibility that Wilson’s heart disease affects his performance during the fight. The interpretation of Edwin Weinstein and Arthur Link regarding the illness favors Wilson. The very enthusiastic pursuit of the two to justify the illness causes minor setback, though, as the oppositionists are challenged to make their own pronouncement. Further, both sides agree that Wilson’s illness is something that can affect a person’s behavior, resulting to sub-par performance. Despite his illness, Wilson is still able to be firm on his disposition. The author labels Wilson’s firm stand “promethean” in reference to the mortal Prometheus, a mythological character who steals fire from the gods. Wilson is as bold as Prometheus, and this boldness enables him to reach very far and achieve so much. Without such boldness, Wilson will be just a mundane school president.
The second proposition is not expounded because, according to the author, almost everyone, including the critics, agrees that the Americans, still having a hangover from the WWI, are not ready to embrace Wilson’s ideas. Thus, it contributes to Wilson’s defeat, because people are not interested to listen.
The third proposition arises from the second one. The Americans do not accept the Wilson’s message, and, therefore, the WWII conveys it directly to them. Thus, there is no need for Wilson to fight for it. The author’s assumption, that “things did happen that way” (427), implies that the war is imminent. Therefore, inclusion of the United States of America to the League of Nations and the acceptance of Wilson’s message by the Americans could not stop or delay the war. Such an assumption may have been in the minds of the people even before the WWII, and, therefore, they did not heed Wilson’s advice.
In conclusion, the author points out that the League of Nations fight cannot guarantee that conflicts like WWI will never happen again. However, one should appreciate Wilson’s effort to prevent the war. Wilson may have lost in his attempt to promote the League of Nations due to zealous oppositionists and his health problems, but his desire to achieve peace is evident. The author ends up with exclamatory remark indicating that it would only have been right, if Wilson had won the fight.