The Atlantic

Could 'America First' Lead to War?

China and the U.S. are each intent on greatness. Those visions may not be compatible.
Source: Joe Raedle / Getty

When Presidents Trump and Xi meet at Mar-a-Lago on Thursday, they will bring a common conviction that the fates of their nations—especially on grand issues like war and peace—rest firmly in their hands. Each has vowed to make his respective country great again (what Xi called “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”). And each believes that the vision and determination of a strong leader with an unyielding agenda shape events; not vice versa.

While it is merely coincidental, it is nonetheless fitting that their summit occurs on the precise centennial of the day another world leader who shared their convictions about leadership got mugged by reality.

After three years of pledging to stay out, the United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. An ardent opponent of U.S. entanglement in what he called a “European war,” Woodrow Wilson had just five

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