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Of Crusaders Old and New - Walter A. McDougall

Of Crusaders Old and New - Walter A. McDougall

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Published by MuslimThunder
Walter A. McDougall is Professor of History and the Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations. A graduate of Amherst College and a Vietnam veteran, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1974 and taught at U.C. Berkeley for 13 years before coming to Penn to direct its International Relations Program, which now has 350 majors.

McDougall teaches U.S., European, and Asia/Pacific diplomatic history and is the author of many books, most recently Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828 (2004). His other recent books include Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter With the World Since 1776 (1997) and Let the Sea Make a Noise: A History of the North Pacific from Magellan to MacArthur (1993).

In 1986 Professor McDougall won the Pulitzer Prize for The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. He is also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and editor of Orbis, its journal of world affairs.

http://www.history.upenn.edu/faculty/mcdougall.shtml
Walter A. McDougall is Professor of History and the Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations. A graduate of Amherst College and a Vietnam veteran, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1974 and taught at U.C. Berkeley for 13 years before coming to Penn to direct its International Relations Program, which now has 350 majors.

McDougall teaches U.S., European, and Asia/Pacific diplomatic history and is the author of many books, most recently Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828 (2004). His other recent books include Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter With the World Since 1776 (1997) and Let the Sea Make a Noise: A History of the North Pacific from Magellan to MacArthur (1993).

In 1986 Professor McDougall won the Pulitzer Prize for The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. He is also a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and editor of Orbis, its journal of world affairs.

http://www.history.upenn.edu/faculty/mcdougall.shtml

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Foreign Policy Research Institute - A Catalyst for IdeasNight Thoughts - August 1999
OF CRUSADERS OLD AND NEWByWalter A. McDougall
Walter A. McDougall is editor of Orbis, co-director of FPRI's History Academy, and Alloy-Ansin Professor of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. He is author of Promised Land, Crusader State: America's Encounter with the World Since 1776 (Houghton Mifflin, 1997).This essay is adapted from a speech before the Philadelphia Society on April 24, 1999 and is printed here in advance of publication in Orbis, Summer 1999, a journal published for FPRI by JAI Press.
 I have been asked to speak today about "the Crusader State in the twenty-first century," whichis to say, something that may not exist in an era that has not yet begun. I can blame only myself for this assignment, since I had the temerity to publish a book about American foreign policycalled Promised Land, Crusader State, and to end it with speculations about whether our diplomatic traditions ought to shape the U.S. role in the world in the decades to come. But I amnot going to talk about the book, lest I give you an excuse not to read it.All you need to know now is my argument to the effect that Wilsonianism, collective security,promotion of democracy, human rights, and development, assertive multilateralism,enlargement, and so forth are twentieth-century novelties, and far from expressing Americanexceptionalism, they represent a repudiation of it.From 1776 to the 1890s, U.S. foreign policy clung to four traditions-Liberty at home,Unilateralism abroad, an American System of States, and Expansion across the continent-designed to prevent the outside world from perturbing the growth of America as a PromisedLand. And so far from asserting an American mission to reform the world, this old testament of foreign relations specifically precluded "going abroad in search of monsters to destroy."In 1898 a new testament of American foreign policy began to be written when, for the first time,the U.S. mounted a white charger and rode off on a crusade to slay the Spanish dragon andsave the Cuban damsel in distress. The colonial acquisitions that followed were justified by anethic of global uplift, as imperialists argued that America had not been raised up to greatnessonly to hide her lamp under a bushel, but that America now had the means and mission to endviolence, export democracy, and promote prosperity in the less fortunate nations under her care.
 
Woodrow Wilson was an avid imperialist, and in World War I he universalized the new Americanmission in the belief that only the U.S. had the grace and power to pacify a world rent byrevolution and war, and create a new world order. Accordingly, Americans invented four newtraditions over the course of the twentieth century, representing various strategies for thefulfillment of that noble quest: Progressive Imperialism, Wilsonianism, Containment, and GlobalMeliorism, or the promotion of democracy, growth, and social reform world-wide.Various mugwumps, nationalists, isolationists, and realists periodically warned that crusadingzeal might breed arrogance and hubris in American policy, and that a permanent mobilization of American power would erode liberty and civic virtue at home. In the event, the U.S. did greatgood in the wicked twentieth century, thanks to its willingness to spend blood and treasure toslay imperialism, fascism, and communism. But the U.S. also did much that was bad or justugly, and did harm itself in the process.The question before us after the Cold War, therefore, is whether the time has come to take arest from crusading, as Jonathan Clarke has advised, and become a normal nation again, asJeane Kirkpatrick has said. Or whether this unipolar moment makes America all the more the"indispensable nation," and placed on her still greater responsibilities to design, impose, andpolice some new world order?I will not recite all the eloquent arguments made by advocates of an American "benevolentglobal hegemony," such as Bill Kristol, Bob Kagan, Senator McCain, Joshua Muravchik, WarrenChristopher, Madeleine Albright, and Tony Lake. Nor will I recite the eloquent rebuttals to their vision advanced by Clarke and Kirkpatrick, Owen Harries, Robert Kaplan, Michael Mandelbaum,Fareed Zakaria, Samuel Huntington, Charles Maynes, Charles Krauthammer, James Kurth, or even myself.I mean instead to do something wildly tangential to the debate over America's future role in theworld, but for that reason wildly original. I want to ask what it means to be a Crusader State,whether the U.S. is indeed one, and what the history of the original Crusades can contribute toour current debate. I mean to discuss, not the twenty-first century, but the twelfth and thirteenth.Last year we celebrated, or lamented, the hundredth anniversary of our nation's first crusade inthe Spanish-American war. So far no one has noted that July 1999 will mark the nine-hundredth anniversary of the original Crusaders' conquest of Jerusalem. Preached by PopeUrban II in 1095, the First Crusade was a military success, and inspired future popes, kings, andmilitary orders to launch a score of others against the Muslim world, pagans on Europe'speriphery, and heretics inside of Europe.But while the various crucesignata, the soldiers who went into battle with the sign of the crosson their hauberks and shields, justified their campaigns as holy wars in defense of the Catholicfaith, their motives-and those of the popes who exhorted them-went far beyond self-defense.
 
The eleventh century--the first of the new millennium--was the best and worst of times inWestern Europe. On the one hand, the Dark Ages had ended thanks to the Benedictines andthe little renaissance promoted at Charlemagne's court. The marauders who had vexed settledEurope, such as the Vikings and Normans, and the march-lands of Bohemia, Hungary, andPoland were tamed and converted around 1000 A.D. In the core regions of France and theRhineland, and in England after 1066, the Frankish feudal system had taken root.Agriculture was booming thanks to the invention of the mould-board plough, the three-fieldsystem, and the clearing of forests, which meant both a growing population and the surplus foodnecessary to support towns and tradesmen. Europe was gaining a self-confidence it had never known, and was primed for the explosion of cultural creativity that would characterize the HighMiddle Ages. On the other hand, Latin Christendom was rent internally by religious dissent andnew heresies in the Church, worldly corruption among clergy and within wealthy monasteries,and the incessant fighting of lords and knights who, having vanquished all foreign foes, turnedon each other.The kings of France were helpless to enforce their authority over feuding vassals, while inGermany and Italy the Holy Roman Emperors not only battled local lords, but challenged papalauthority by attempting to tax the church and appoint bishops. The popes had fought back byflinging excommunications in all directions, decreeing celibacy for priests, and insisting on their primacy to the point of schism with the Eastern Orthodox Church. But nothing worked-untilUrban hit on the idea of a crusade.Mind you, the Arabs who had swept over half the Christian world in the eighth century were nolonger a threat, and were being slowly pushed back in Spain, while the new invaders, the SeljukTurks, threatened only the Byzantine Empire. So no immediate security imperative justified anexpedition to the Holy Land, and while it was a scandal for Christianity's holiest places to beruled by Muslims, Europeans had resigned themselves to that for three hundred years.What prompted Urban II to preach a crusade was the excellent, perhaps divinely inspired notionthat a holy war far away might ameliorate all four of Europe's internal problems at once.Through a crusade he could reassert papal prestige and authority over the secular rulers,reimpose orthodoxy at a time of wayward opinions, restore law and order by diverting therestless warrior class abroad, and forge in Europe an internal unity it had not enjoyed since thebreakup of Charlemagne's empire. "Christendom possessed in the Crusade Idea an instrumentuniquely suited to express its sense of oneness," while Pope Innocent III confessed (in 1213),"that of all the desires of our heart we long chiefly for two in this life, namely . . . to recover theHoly Land and to reform the Universal Church."[1]The capture of Jerusalem and establishment of a Crusader State there was taken bycontemporaries to be providential, but more to the point the pope appeared to achieve hisdomestic agenda. The monks who chronicled the Crusaders' fight for the Holy Land marveled attheir penitent demeanor, as if they comprised "a military monastery on the move," and testifiedto their virtue as much as their valor. Back in Europe, the knights so recently condemned by the

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