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School of Law

Woodrow Wilson's racist legacy and decolonising modern sanctions

Dr Eva Nanopoulos pens an opinion piece for Al Jazeera about Woodrow Wilson's racist legacy

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"Wilson was not only an avowed racist, but also an architect of a sanctions regime that continues to kill to this day," writes Dr Eva Nanopoulos in this opinion piece for Al Jazeera. A Nobel Peace prize holder usually remembered for his idealism, Woodrow Wilson, president of the US from 1913 to 1921, supported segregationist policies at home and played a key role in defeating a Japanese proposal to write the principal of racial equality into the Covenant of the League of Nations. His views on race "stemmed from a deeper belief in white supremacy as a guarantee of peace, order and stability." In the wake of George Floyd's murder and the massive anti-racist mobilisations that followed, the five-year battle to remove Wilson's name from Princeton University's School of Public and International Affairs was finally won. Another battle, according to Dr Nanopoulos, awaits to be fought: President Wilson was also one of the architects of modern sanctions, packaging them as peaceful alternatives to war. "Not only did sanctions fail when applied to powerful states or did little to avert the second world war, but over the last three decades, their increased popularity [...] has cost an unprecedented number of lives."

Read the full article on Al Jazeera.