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American imperialism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.S. military presence around the world in 2007. As of  2013[update], the U.S. still had many bases and troops stationed globally.[1] Their presence has generated controversy and opposition by some in foreign countries.[2][3]   More than 1,000 U.S. troops   100–1,000 U.S. troops   Use of military facilities
U.S. military presence around the world in 2007. As of 2013, the U.S. still had many bases and troops stationed globally.[1] Their presence has generated controversy and opposition by some in foreign countries.[2][3]
  More than 1,000 U.S. troops
  100–1,000 U.S. troops
  Use of military facilities

American imperialism is the term, often pejorative, for a policy aimed at extending the political, economic, and cultural control of the United States government over areas beyond its boundaries. Depending on the commentator, it may include military conquest, gunboat diplomacy, unequal treaties, subsidization of preferred factions, economic penetration through private companies followed by intervention when those interests are threatened, or regime change.[4]

The government of the United States does not refer to itself as an empire, but some commentators refer to it that way, including mainstream Western writers such as Max Boot, Arthur Schlesinger, and Niall Ferguson.[5]

The United States has also been accused of neocolonialism, sometimes defined as a modern form of hegemony that uses economic rather than military power, and sometimes used as a synonym for contemporary imperialism.

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  • ✪ American Imperialism: Crash Course US History #28
  • ✪ U.S. Imperialism Explained: US History Review
  • ✪ American Imperialism (US History EOC Review - USHC 5.1)
  • ✪ American Imperialism Explained: U.S. History
  • ✪ American Empire

Transcription

Episode 28: American Imperialism Hi, I’m John Green, this is CrashCourse U.S. History and today we’re gonna talk about a subject near and dear to my white, male heart: imperialism. So, here at CrashCourse we occasionally try to point out that the U.S., much as we hate to admit it, is actually part of a larger world. Mr. Green, Mr. Green, you mean like Alaska? No, Me from the Past, for reasons that you will understand after your trip there before your senior year of college, I do not acknowledge the existence of Canada’s tail. No, I’m referring to all of the Green Parts of Not-America and the period in the 19th century when we thought, “Maybe we could make all of those green parts like America, but, you know, without rights and stuff.” Intro So, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were a period of expansion and colonization in Asia and Africa, mostly by European powers. As you’ll know if you watched Crash Course World History, imperialism has a long, long history pretty much everywhere, so this round of empire building is sometimes called, rather confusingly, New Imperialism. Because the U.S. acquired territories beyond its continental boundaries in this period, it’s relatively easy to fit American history into this world history paradigm. But there’s also an argument that the United States has always been an empire. From very early on, the European settlers who became Americans were intent on pushing westward and conquering territory. The obvious victims of this expansion/imperialism were the Native Americans, but we can also include the Mexicans who lost their sovereignty after 1848. And if that doesn’t seem like an empire to you, allow me to draw your attention to the Russian Empire. Russians were taking control of territory in Central Asia and Siberia and either absorbing or displacing the native people who lived there, which was the exact same thing that we were doing. The empires of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were different because they were colonial in their own special way. Like, Europeans and Americans would rule other places but they wouldn’t settle them and more or less completely displace the native people there. (Well, except for you, Australia and New Zealand.) American historians used to try to excuse America’s acquisitions of a territorial empire as something of an embarrassing mistake, but that’s misleading because one of the primary causes of the phenomenon of American imperialism was economics. We needed places to sell our amazing new products. And at the time, China actually had all of the customers because apparently it was opposite day. It’s also not an accident that the U.S. began pursuing imperialism in earnest during the 1890s, as this was, in many ways, a decade of crisis in America. The influx of immigrants and the crowded cities added to anxiety and concern over America’s future. And then, to cap it all off, in 1893 a panic caused by the failure of a British bank led the U.S. into a horrible economic depression, a great depression, but not The Great Depression. It did however feature 15,000 business failures and 17% unemployment, so take that, 2008. According to American diplomatic historian George Herring, imperialism was just what the doctor ordered to help America get out of its Depression depression. Other historians, notably Kristin Hoganson, imply that America embarked on imperial adventures partly so that American men could prove to themselves how manly they were. You know, by joining the Navy and setting sail for distant waters. In 1890, Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan published “The Influence of Seapower upon History” and argued that, to be a great power like Great Britain, the U.S. needed to control the seas and dominate international commerce. Tied into this push to become a maritime power was the obsession with building a canal through Central America and eventually the U.S. decided that it should be built in Panama because you know how else are we gonna get malaria. In order to protect this canal we would need a man, a plan, a canal. Panama. Sorry, I just wanted to get the palindrome in there somewhere. No we would actually need much more than a man and a plan. We would need ships and in order to have a functioning two-ocean navy, we would need colonies. Why? Because the steamships at the time were powered by coal and in order to re-fuel they needed coal depots. I mean, I suppose we could have, like, rented harbor space, but why rent when you can conquer? Also, nationalism and the accompanying pride in one’s “country” was a worldwide phenomenon to which the U.S. was not immune. I mean, it’s no accident that the 1890s saw Americans begin to recite the pledge of allegiance and celebrate Flag Day, and what better way to instill national pride than by flying the stars and stripes over … Guam. So pre-Civil War attempts to expand beyond what we now know as the continental United States included our efforts to annex Canada, which were sadly unsuccessful, and also filibustering, which before it meant a senator talking until he or she had to stop to pee was a thing where we tried to take over Central America to spread slavery. But, the idea of taking Cuba persisted into the late 19th century because it is close and also beautiful. The Grant administration wanted to annex it and the Dominican Republic, but Congress demurred. But we did succeed in purchasing Canada’s tail. You can see how I feel about that. To be fair, discovery of gold in the Yukon made Seward’s icebox seem like less of a Seward’s folly and it did provide coaling stations in the Pacific. But we could have had rum and Caribbean beaches. Ugh, Stan, all this talk about how much I hate Alaska has me overheated, I gotta take off my shirt. Ughhh. Waste of my life. So hard to take off a shirt dramatically. I’m angry. Anyway, coal stations in the Pacific were important because in 1854 we “opened” Japan to American trade by sending a flotilla of threatening black ships under Matthew Perry. No Stan, not that Matthew Perry. You know better. By far, America’s best piece of imperial business before 1898 was Hawaii. Like, I like oil and gold as much as the next guy but Hawaii has pineapples and also had sugar, which was grown on American owned plantations by Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and native workers. Treaties between the U.S. and the Hawaiian governments exempted this sugar from tariffs, and America also had established a naval base at Pearl Harbor, which seemed like a really good idea...then. We eventually annexed Hawaii in 1898 and this meant that it could eventually become a state, which it did in 1959, two years before Barack Obama was born in Kenya. And this leads us nicely to the high tide of American imperialism, the Spanish-American-Cuban-Fillipino War. The war started out because native Cubans were revolting against Spain, which was holding on to Cuba for dear life as the remnant of a once-great empire. The Cubans’ fight for independence was brutal. 95,000 Cubans died from disease and malnutrition after Spanish general Valeriano Weyler herded Cubans into concentration camps. For this Weyler was called “Butcher” in the American yellow press, which sold a lot of newspapers on the backs of stories about his atrocities. And at last we come to President William McKinley who responded cautiously, with a demand that Spain get out of Cuba or face war. Now Spain knew that it couldn’t win a war with the U.S. but, as George Herring put it, they “preferred the honor of war to the ignominy of surrender.” Let that be a lesson to you. Always choose ignominy. Oh, it’s time for the Mystery Document? The rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document. I’m either right or I get shocked. Alright, let’s see what we’ve got today. With such a conflict waged for years in an island so near us and with which our people have such trade and business relations; when the lives and liberty of our citizens are in constant danger and their property destroyed and themselves ruined; where our trading vessels are liable to seizure and are seized at our very door by warships of a foreign nation, the expeditions of filibustering that we are powerless to prevent altogether -- all these and others that I need not mention, with the resulting strained relations, are a constant menace to our peace, and compel us to keep on a semiwar footing with a nation with which we are at peace. Thank you, Stan. This is obviously President William McKinley’s war message to Congress. You can tell it’s a war message because it includes the word “peace” more than the word “war.” By the way, it’s commonly thought that the President McKinley asked Congress for a declaration of war, he didn’t; he let Congress take the lead. That’s the only time that’s ever happened in all of American history, which would be more impressive if we had declared war more than 5 times. So, the document shows us that, at least according to McKinley, we officially went to war for American peace of mind and to end economic uncertainty. It was not to gain territory, at least not in Cuba. How do we know? Because Congress also passed the Teller Amendment, which forswore any U.S. annexation of Cuba, perhaps because representatives of the U.S. sugar industry like Colorado’s Senator Henry Teller feared competition from sugar produced in an American Cuba. Or maybe not. But probably so. Also not the cause of the war was the sinking of the USS Maine. The battleship which had been in Havana’s harbor to protect American interests sank after an explosion on February 15, 1898 killing 266 sailors. Now, most historians chalk up the sinking to an internal explosion and not to Spanish sabotage, but that didn’t stop Americans from blaming the Spanish with their memorable meme: “Remember the Maine, to hell with Spain.” Let’s go to the Thoughtbubble. The actual war was one of the most successful in U.S. history, especially if you measure success by brevity and relative paucity of deaths. Secretary of State John Hay called it a “splendid little war” and in many ways it was. Fighting lasted about 4 months and fewer than 400 Americans were killed in combat, although 5,000 died of, wait for it, disease. Stupid disease, always ruining everything. There weren’t a ton of battles but those that happened got an inordinate amount of press coverage, like the July attack on San Juan Hill at the Cuban city of Santiago, led by future president Theodore Roosevelt. While it was a successful battle, the real significance is that it furthered Roosevelt’s career. He returned a hero, promptly became Governor of New York and by 1900 was McKinley’s vice president. Which was a good job to have because McKinley would eventually be assassinated. A more important battle was that of Manila Bay in which commodore George Dewey destroyed a tiny Spanish fleet and took the Philippines. This battle took place in May of 1898, well before the attack on Cuba, which strongly suggests that a war that was supposedly about supporting Cuban independence was really about something else. And what was that something else? Oh right. A territorial empire. As a result of the war, the U.S. got a bunch of new territories, notably the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam. We also used the war as an opportunity to annex Hawaii to protect our ships that would be steaming toward the Philippines. We didn’t annex Cuba, but we didn’t let it become completely independent, either. The Platt Amendment in the Cuban Constitution authorized American military intervention whenever it saw fit and gave us a permanent lease for a naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Thanks Thoughtbubble. So, Cuba and Puerto Rico were gateways to Latin American markets. Puerto Rico was particularly useful as a naval station. Hawaii, Guam, and especially the Philippines opened up access to China. American presence in China was bolstered by our contribution of about 3,000 troops to the multinational force that helped put down the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. But in the Philippines, where Americans had initially been welcome, opinion soon changed after it became clear that Americans were there to stay and exercise control. Emiliano Aguinaldo, leader of the Filipino rebellion against Spain, quickly turned against the U.S. because his real goal was independence and it appeared the U.S. would not provide it. The resulting Philippine War lasted 4 years, from 1899-1903. And 4,200 Americans were killed as well as over 100,000 Filipinos. The Americans committed atrocities, including putting Filipinos in concentration camps, torturing prisoners, rape, and executing civilians. And much of this was racially motivated and news of these atrocities helped to spur anti-imperialist sentiment at home, with Mark Twain being one of the most outspoken critics. Now, there was some investment in modernization in the Philippines, in railroads, schools, and public health, but the interests of the local people were usually subordinated to those of the wealthy. So, American imperialism in short looked like most other imperialism. So Constitution nerds will remember that the U.S. Constitution has no provision for colonies, only territory that will eventually be incorporated as states. Congress attempted to deal with this issue by passing the Foraker Act in 1900. This law declared that Puerto Rico would be an insular territory; its inhabitants would be citizens of Puerto Rico, not the United States and there would be no path to statehood. But this wasn’t terribly constitutional. Congress did extend U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans in 1917. Now it’s a commonwealth with its own government that has no voice in U.S. Congress or presidential elections and no control over its own defense or environmental policy. The Philippines were treated similarly to Puerto Rico, in a series of cases between 1901 and 1904 collectively called the Insular Cases. But Hawaii was treated differently. Because it had a sizeable population of American settlers who happened to be white. Ergo, it became a traditional territory with a path to statehood because white people and also pineapples. Now let’s briefly talk about anti-imperialism. There were lots of people who objected to imperialism on racial grounds, arguing that it might lead to, like, diversity. But there were also non-racist anti-imperialists who argued that empire itself with its political domination of conquered people was incompatible with democracy, which, to be fair, it is. The Democratic Party, which had supported intervention in Cuba, in 1900 opposed the Philippine War in its platform. Some Progressives opposed imperialism too because they believed that America should focus on its domestic problems. Yet those who supported imperialism were just as forceful. Among the most vocal was Indiana Senator Albert Beveridge who argued that imperialism was benevolent and would bring “a new day of freedom.” But, make no mistake, underneath it all, imperialism was all about trade. According to Beveridge, America’s commerce “must be with Asia. The Pacific is our ocean … Where shall we turn for consumers of our surplus? Geography answers the question. China is our natural customer.” In the end, imperialism was really driven by economic necessity. In 1902, Brooks Adams predicted in his book The New Empire that the U.S. would soon “outweigh any single empire, if not all empires combined.” Within 20 years America would be the world’s leading economic power. We didn’t have the most overseas territory, but ultimately that didn’t matter. Now, the reasons for imperialism, above all the quest for markets for American goods, would persist long after imperialism became recognized as antithetical to freedom and democracy. And we would continue to struggle to reconcile our imperialistic urges with our ideals about democracy until...now. Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, Rosianna Rojas, and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Café. Every week there’s a new caption for the libertage. You can suggest captions in comments where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thanks for watching Crash Course and as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome. This is the part where Stan gets nervous, like, is he gonna go this way or this way or this way? I’m going this way. Imperialism -

Contents

History

Overview

Despite periods of peaceful co-existence, wars with Native Americans resulted in substantial territorial gains for colonists from the United Kingdom. Wars continued intermittently after independence, and an ethnic cleansing campaign known as Indian removal gained for ethnically European settlers more valuable territory on the eastern side of the continent.

George Washington began a tradition of United States non-interventionism which lasted into the 1800s. The United States protected the Americas against European colonial powers under the Monroe Doctrine in 1821, but desire for territorial expansion to the Pacific Ocean was explicit in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. The giant Louisiana Purchase was peaceful, but the Mexican–American War of 1846 resulted in the annexation of 525,000 square miles of Mexican territory.[6][7] President Ulysses S. Grant attempted to Annex the Dominican Republic in 1870, but failed to get the support of the Senate.

Non-interventionism was wholly abandoned with the Spanish-American War, the United States acquired the remaining island colonies of Spain, with imperialist Theodore Roosevelt defending the permanent acquisition of the Philippines. The U.S. policed Latin America under Roosevelt Corollary, and sometimes using the military to favor American commercial interests (such as intervention in the banana republics and the annexation of Hawaii). Imperialist foreign policy was controversial with the American public, and domestic opposition allowed Cuban independence, though in the early 20th century the U.S. obtained the Panama Canal Zone and occupied Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The United States returned to strong non-interventionist policy after World War I, including with the Good Neighbor policy for Latin America. After fighting World War II, it administered many Pacific islands captured during the fight against Japan. Partly to prevent the militaries of those countries from growing threateningly large, and partly to contain the Soviet Union, the United States has promised to defend Germany (which is also part of NATO) and Japan (through the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States and Japan) which it had formerly defeated in war and which are now independent democracies. It maintains substantial military bases in both. The Cold War reoriented American foreign policy to focus on opposing Soviet communism, and prevailing U.S. foreign policy embraced its role as a nuclear-armed global superpower. Though the Truman Doctrine framed the mission as protecting free peoples against an undemocratic system, under later presidents and the Reagan Doctrine anti-Soviet foreign policy became more coercive and occasionally covert. United States involvement in regime change included overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iran, the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, occupation of Grenada, and interference in various foreign elections.

Many saw the post-Cold War 1990-91 Gulf War as motivated by U.S. oil interests, even though it reversed the hostile invasion of Kuwait and protected treaty ally Saudi Arabia. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, questions of imperialism were raised again as the United States invaded Afghanistan (which harbored the attackers) and Iraq (which the U.S. mostly incorrectly claimed had weapons of mass destruction), and installed friendly governments.

In terms of territorial acquisition, the United States has integrated with full democratic voting rights, all of its acquisitions on the North American continent, including the non-contiguous Alaska. Hawaii has also become a state with equal representation to the mainland, but other island jurisdictions acquired during wartime remain territories, namely Guam, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The remainder of acquired territories have become independent with varying degrees of cooperation, ranging from three freely associated states which enjoy participation in federal government programs in exchange for military basing rights, to Cuba which became outright hostile during the Cold War. The United States was a strong advocate for European decolonization after World War II, having started a ten-year independence transition for the Philippines in 1934 with the Tydings–McDuffie Act. The United States has also granted citizenship to Native Americans and recognizes some degree of tribal sovereignty.

Indian Wars and Manifest Destiny

Caricature showing Uncle Sam lecturing four children labelled Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Cuba, in front of children holding books labelled with various U.S. states. A black boy is washing windows, a Native American sits separate from the class, and a Chinese boy is outside the door. The caption reads: "School Begins. Uncle Sam (to his new class in Civilization): Now, children, you've got to learn these lessons whether you want to or not! But just take a look at the class ahead of you, and remember that, in a little while, you will feel as glad to be here as they are!"
Caricature showing Uncle Sam lecturing four children labelled Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Cuba, in front of children holding books labelled with various U.S. states. A black boy is washing windows, a Native American sits separate from the class, and a Chinese boy is outside the door. The caption reads: "School Begins. Uncle Sam (to his new class in Civilization): Now, children, you've got to learn these lessons whether you want to or not! But just take a look at the class ahead of you, and remember that, in a little while, you will feel as glad to be here as they are!"

Thomas Jefferson, in the 1790s, awaited the fall of the Spanish Empire "until our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece".[8][9] In turn, historian Sidney Lens notes that "the urge for expansion – at the expense of other peoples – goes back to the beginnings of the United States itself".[6] Yale historian Paul Kennedy put it, "From the time the first settlers arrived in Virginia from England and started moving westward, this was an imperial nation, a conquering nation."[10] Detailing George Washington's description of the early United States as an "infant empire",[11] Benjamin Franklin's writing that "the Prince that acquires new Territory ... removes the Natives to give his own People Room ... may be properly called [Father] of [his] Nation",[12] and Thomas Jefferson's statement that the United States "must be viewed as the nest from which all America, North & South is to be peopled",[13] Noam Chomsky said that "the United States is the one country that exists, as far as I know, and ever has, that was founded as an empire explicitly".[14][15]

A national drive for territorial acquisition across the continent was popularized in the 19th century as the ideology of Manifest Destiny. It came to be realized with the Mexican–American War of 1846, which resulted in the annexation of 525,000 square miles of Mexican territory, stretching up to the Pacific coast.[6][7]

President James Monroe presented his famous doctrine for the western hemisphere in 1823. Historians have observed that while the Monroe Doctrine contained a commitment to resist colonialism from Europe, it had some aggressive implications for American policy, since there were no limitations on the US's own actions mentioned within it. Scholar Jay Sexton notes that the tactics used to implement the doctrine were "modeled after those employed by British imperialists" in their territorial competition with Spain and France.[16] Eminent historian William Appleman Williams dryly described it as "imperial anti-colonialism." [17]

The Indian Wars against the indigenous population began in the British era. Their escalation under the federal republic allowed the US to dominate North America and carve out the 48 continental states. This is now understood to be an explicitly colonial process, as the Native American nations were usually recognized as sovereign entities prior to annexation. Their sovereignty was systematically undermined by US state policy (usually involving unequal or broken treaties) and white settler-colonialism.[18] The climax of this process was the California genocide.[19][20]

New Imperialism and "The White Man's Burden"

This cartoon reflects the view of Judge magazine regarding America's imperial ambitions following a quick victory in the Spanish–American War of 1898.[21] The American flag flies from the Philippines and Hawaii in the Pacific to Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.
This cartoon reflects the view of Judge magazine regarding America's imperial ambitions following a quick victory in the Spanish–American War of 1898.[21] The American flag flies from the Philippines and Hawaii in the Pacific to Cuba and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.

A variety of factors converged during the "New Imperialism" of the late 19th century, when the United States and the other great powers rapidly expanded their overseas territorial possessions. Some of these are explained, or used as examples for the various forms of New Imperialism.

  • The prevalence of overt racism, notably John Fiske's conception of Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, and Josiah Strong's call to "civilize and Christianize"—all manifestations of a growing Social Darwinism and racism in some schools of American political thought.[22]
  • Early in his career, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Theodore Roosevelt was instrumental in preparing the Navy for the Spanish–American War[23] and was an enthusiastic proponent of testing the U.S. military in battle, at one point stating "I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one".[24][25][26]

Roosevelt claimed that he rejected imperialism, but he embraced the near-identical doctrine of expansionism. When Rudyard Kipling wrote the imperialist poem "The White Man's Burden" for Roosevelt, the politician told colleagues that it was "rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view." [27] Roosevelt was so committed to dominating Spain's former colonies that he proclaimed his own corollary to the Monroe Doctrine as justification,[28] although his ambitions extended even further, into the Far East. Scholars have documented the resemblance and collaboration between US and British military activities in the Pacific at this time.[29]

Industry and trade are two of the most prevalent motivations of imperialism. American intervention in both Latin America and Hawaii resulted in multiple industrial investments, including the popular industry of Dole bananas. If the United States was able to annex a territory, in turn they were granted access to the trade and capital of those territories. In 1898, Senator Albert Beveridge proclaimed that an expansion of markets was absolutely necessary, "American factories are making more than the American people can use; American soil is producing more than they can consume. Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours."[30][31]

One of the New York Journal's most infamous cartoons, depicting Philippine–American War General Jacob H. Smith's order "Kill Everyone over Ten," from the front page on May 5, 1902.
One of the New York Journal's most infamous cartoons, depicting Philippine–American War General Jacob H. Smith's order "Kill Everyone over Ten," from the front page on May 5, 1902.

American rule of ceded Spanish territory was not uncontested. The Philippine Revolution had begun in August 1896 against Spain, and after the defeat of Spain in the Battle of Manila Bay, began again in earnest, culminating in the Philippine Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. The Philippine–American War ensued, with extensive damage and death, ultimately resulting in the defeat of the Philippine Republic.[32][33][34] According to scholars such as Gavan McCormack and E. San Juan, the American counterinsurgency resulted in genocide.[35][36]

The maximum geographical extension of American direct political and military control happened in the aftermath of World War II, in the period after the surrender and occupations of Germany and Austria in May and later Japan and Korea in September 1945 and before the independence of the Philippines in July 1946.[37]

Stuart Creighton Miller says that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik impairs popular recognition of U.S. imperial conduct.[38] The resistance to actively occupying foreign territory has led to policies of exerting influence via other means, including governing other countries via surrogates or puppet regimes, where domestically unpopular governments survive only through U.S. support.[39]

A map of "Greater America" c. 1900, including overseas territories.
A map of "Greater America" c. 1900, including overseas territories.

The Philippines is sometimes cited as an example. After Philippine independence, the US continued to direct the country through Central Intelligence Agency operatives like Edward Lansdale. As Raymond Bonner and other historians note, Lansdale controlled the career of President Ramon Magsaysay, going so far as to physically beat him when the Philippine leader attempted to reject a speech the CIA had written for him. American agents also drugged sitting President Elpidio Quirino and prepared to assassinate Senator Claro Recto.[40][41] Prominent Filipino historian Roland G. Simbulan has called the CIA "US imperialism's clandestine apparatus in the Philippines".[42]

The U.S. retained dozens of military bases, including a few major ones. In addition, Philippine independence was qualified by legislation passed by the U.S. Congress. For example, the Bell Trade Act provided a mechanism whereby U.S. import quotas might be established on Philippine articles which "are coming, or are likely to come, into substantial competition with like articles the product of the United States". It further required U.S. citizens and corporations be granted equal access to Philippine minerals, forests, and other natural resources.[43] In hearings before the Senate Committee on Finance, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs William L. Clayton described the law as "clearly inconsistent with the basic foreign economic policy of this country" and "clearly inconsistent with our promise to grant the Philippines genuine independence".[44]

American exceptionalism

On the cover of Puck published on April 6, 1901, in the wake of gainful victory in the Spanish–American War, Columbia—the National personification of the U.S.—preens herself with an Easter bonnet in the form of a warship bearing the words "World Power" and the word "Expansion" on the smoke coming out of its stack.
On the cover of Puck published on April 6, 1901, in the wake of gainful victory in the Spanish–American War, Columbia—the National personification of the U.S.—preens herself with an Easter bonnet in the form of a warship bearing the words "World Power" and the word "Expansion" on the smoke coming out of its stack.

American exceptionalism is the notion that the United States occupies a special niche among the nations of the world[45] in terms of its national credo, historical evolution, and political and religious institutions and origins.

Philosopher Douglas Kellner traces the identification of American exceptionalism as a distinct phenomenon back to 19th century French observer Alexis de Tocqueville, who concluded by agreeing that the U.S., uniquely, was "proceeding along a path to which no limit can be perceived".[46]

President Donald Trump has once said that he does not "like the term" American exceptionalism because he thinks it is "insulting the world". He told tea party activists in Texas that "If you're German, or you're from Japan, or you're from China, you don't want to have people saying that."[47]

As a Monthly Review editorial opines on the phenomenon, "in Britain, empire was justified as a benevolent 'white man's burden'. And in the United States, empire does not even exist; 'we' are merely protecting the causes of freedom, democracy and justice worldwide."[48]

Wilsonian intervention

American troops marching in Vladivostok during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, August 1918
American troops marching in Vladivostok during the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War, August 1918

When World War I broke out in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson promised American neutrality throughout the war. This promise was broken when the United States entered the war after the Zimmermann Telegram. This was "a war for empire" to control vast raw materials in Africa and other colonized areas according to the contemporary historian and civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois.[49] More recently historian Howard Zinn argues that Wilson entered the war in order to open international markets to surplus US production. He quotes Wilson's own declaration that

Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process... the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down.

In a memo to Secretary of State Bryan, the president described his aim as "an open door to the world".[50] Lloyd Gardner notes that Wilson's original avoidance of world war was not motivated by anti-imperialism; his fear was that "white civilization and its domination in the world" were threatened by "the great white nations" destroying each other in endless battle.[51]

Despite President Wilson's official doctrine of moral diplomacy seeking to "make the world safe for democracy", some of his activities at the time can be viewed as imperialism to stop the advance of democracy in countries such as Haiti.[52] The United States invaded Haiti in July 1915 after having made landfall eight times previously. American rule in Haiti continued through 1942, but was initiated during World War I. The historian Mary Renda in her book, Taking Haiti, talks about the American invasion of Haiti to bring about political stability through U.S. control. The American government did not believe Haiti was ready for self-government or democracy, according to Renda. In order to bring about political stability in Haiti, the United States secured control and integrated the country into the international capitalist economy, while preventing Haiti from practicing self-governance or democracy. While Haiti had been running their own government for many years before American intervention, the U.S. government regarded Haiti as unfit for self-rule. In order to convince the American public of the justice in intervening, the United States government used paternalist propaganda, depicting the Haitian political process as uncivilized. The Haitian government would come to agree to U.S. terms, including American overseeing of the Haitian economy. This direct supervision of the Haitian economy would reinforce U.S. propaganda and further entrench the perception of Haitians being incompetent of self-governance.[53]

In World War I, the US, Britain, and Russia had been allies for seven months, from April 1917 until the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in November. Active distrust surfaced immediately, as even before the October Revolution, British officers had been involved in the Kornilov Affair which sought to crush the Russian anti-war movement and the independent soviets.[54] Nonetheless, once the Bolsheviks took Moscow, the British began talks to try and keep them in the war effort. British diplomat Bruce Lockhart cultivated a relationship with several Soviet officials, including Leon Trotsky, and the latter approved the initial Allied military mission to secure the Eastern Front, which was collapsing in the revolutionary upheaval. Ultimately, Soviet head of state V.I. Lenin decided the Bolsheviks would settle peacefully with the Central Powers at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. This separate peace led to Allied disdain for the Soviets, since it left the Western Allies to fight Germany without a strong Eastern partner. The British SIS, supported by US diplomat Dewitt C. Poole, sponsored an attempted coup in Moscow involving Bruce Lockhart and Sidney Reilly, which involved an attempted assassination of Lenin. The Bolsheviks proceeded to shut down the British and US embassies.[55][56]

Tensions between Russia (including its allies) and the West turned intensely ideological. Horrified by mass executions of White forces, land expropriations, and widespread repression, the Allied military expedition now assisted the anti-Bolshevik Whites in the Russian Civil War, with the British and French giving armed support to the brutal General Alexander Kolchak. Over 30,000 Western troops were deployed in Russia overall.[57] This was the first event which made Russian–American relations a matter of major, long-term concern to the leaders in each country. Some historians, including William Appleman Williams and Ronald Powaski, trace the origins of the Cold War to this conflict.[58]

Wilson launched seven armed interventions, more than any other president.[59] Looking back on the Wilson era, General Smedley Darlington Butler, a leader of the Haiti expedition and the highest-decorated Marine of that time, considered virtually all of the operations to have been economically motivated.[60] In a 1933 speech he said:

I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it...I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street ... Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.[61]

Views of American imperialism

1903 cartoon, "Go Away, Little Man, and Don't Bother Me", depicts President Roosevelt intimidating Colombia to acquire the Panama Canal Zone
1903 cartoon, "Go Away, Little Man, and Don't Bother Me", depicts President Roosevelt intimidating Colombia to acquire the Panama Canal Zone

Journalist Ashley Smith divides theories of the U.S. imperialism into 5 broad categories: (1) "liberal" theories, (2) "social-democratic" theories, (3) "Leninist" theories, (4) theories of "super-imperialism", and (5) "Hardt-and-Negri" theories.[62][clarification needed]

There is also a conservative, anti-interventionist view as expressed by American journalist John T. Flynn:

The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.[63]

In 1899, Uncle Sam balances his new possessions which are depicted as savage children. The figures are Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines and "Ladrone Island" (Guam, largest of the Mariana Islands, which were formerly known as the Ladrones Islands).
In 1899, Uncle Sam balances his new possessions which are depicted as savage children. The figures are Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines and "Ladrone Island" (Guam, largest of the Mariana Islands, which were formerly known as the Ladrones Islands).

A "social-democratic" theory says that imperialistic U.S. policies are the products of the excessive influence of certain sectors of U.S. business and government—the arms industry in alliance with military and political bureaucracies and sometimes other industries such as oil and finance, a combination often referred to as the "military–industrial complex". The complex is said to benefit from war profiteering and the looting of natural resources, often at the expense of the public interest.[64] The proposed solution is typically unceasing popular vigilance in order to apply counter-pressure.[65] Chalmers Johnson holds a version of this view.[66]

Alfred Thayer Mahan, who served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the late 19th century, supported the notion of American imperialism in his 1890 book titled The Influence of Sea Power upon History. Mahan argued that modern industrial nations must secure foreign markets for the purpose of exchanging goods and, consequently, they must maintain a maritime force that is capable of protecting these trade routes.[67][68]

A theory of "super-imperialism" argues that imperialistic U.S. policies are not driven solely by the interests of American businesses, but also by the interests of a larger apparatus of a global alliance among the economic elite in developed countries. The argument asserts that capitalism in the Global North (Europe, the U.S., Japan, among others) has become too entangled to permit military or geopolitical conflict between these countries, and the central conflict in modern imperialism is between the Global North (also referred to as the global core) and the Global South (also referred to as the global periphery) rather than between the imperialist powers.

Empire

Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the idea of American imperialism was reexamined. In November 2001, jubilant marines hoisted an American flag over Kandahar and in a stage display referred to the moment as the third after those on San Juan Hill and Iwo Jima. All moments, writes Neil Smith, express US global ambition. "Labelled a war on terrorism, the new war represents an unprecedented quickening of the American Empire, a third chance at global power."[69]

On October 15, the cover of William Kristol's Weekly Standard carried the headline, "The Case for American Empire".[70] Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the National Review, called for "a kind of low-grade colonialism" to topple dangerous regimes beyond Afghanistan.[71] The columnist Charles Krauthammer declared that, given complete U.S. domination "culturally, economically, technologically and militarily", people were "now coming out of the closet on the word 'empire'".[10] The New York Times Sunday magazine cover for January 5, 2003, read "American Empire: Get Used To It". The phrase "American empire" appeared more than 1000 times in news stories during November 2002 – April 2003.[72] Two Harvard Historians and their French colleague observed:

Since September 11, 2001 ... if not earlier, the idea of American empire is back ... Now ... for the first time since the early Twentieth century, it has become acceptable to ask whether the United States has become or is becoming an empire in some classic sense."[73]

It used to be that only the critics of American foreign policy referred to the American empire ... In the past three or four years [2001–2004], however, a growing number of commentators have begun to use the term American empire less pejoratively, if still ambivalently, and in some cases with genuine enthusiasm.[74]

US historians have generally considered the late 19th century imperialist urge as an aberration in an otherwise smooth democratic trajectory ... Yet a century later, as the US empire engages in a new period of global expansion, Rome is once more a distant but essential mirror for American elites ... Now, with military mobilisation on an exceptional scale after September 2001, the United States is openly affirming and parading its imperial power. For the first time since the 1890s, the naked display of force is backed by explicitly imperialist discourse.[75]

In the book "Empire", Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue that "the decline of Empire has begun".[76] Hardt says the Iraq War is a classically imperialist war, and is the last gasp of a doomed strategy.[77] They expand on this, claiming that in the new era of imperialism, the classical imperialists retain a colonizing power of sorts, but the strategy shifts from military occupation of economies based on physical goods to a networked biopower based on an informational and affective economies. They go on to say that the U.S. is central to the development of this new regime of international power and sovereignty, termed "Empire", but that it is decentralized and global, and not ruled by one sovereign state: "the United States does indeed occupy a privileged position in Empire, but this privilege derives not from its similarities to the old European imperialist powers, but from its differences".[78] Hardt and Negri draw on the theories of Spinoza, Foucault, Deleuze and Italian autonomist Marxists.[79][80]

A U.S. soldier stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaila oil field, Iraq, April 2003
A U.S. soldier stands guard duty near a burning oil well in the Rumaila oil field, Iraq, April 2003

Geographer David Harvey says there has emerged a new type of imperialism due to geographical distinctions as well as unequal rates of development.[81] He says there has emerged three new global economic and political blocs: the United States, the European Union and Asia centered on China and Russia.[82][verification needed] He says there are tensions between the three major blocs over resources and economic power, citing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the motive of which, he argues, was to prevent rival blocs from controlling oil.[83] Furthermore, Harvey argues that there can arise conflict within the major blocs between business interests and the politicians due to their sometimes incongruent economic interests.[84] Politicians live in geographically fixed locations and are, in the U.S. and Europe,[verification needed] accountable to an electorate. The 'new' imperialism, then, has led to an alignment of the interests of capitalists and politicians in order to prevent the rise and expansion of possible economic and political rivals from challenging America's dominance.[85]

Classics professor and war historian Victor Davis Hanson dismisses the notion of an American Empire altogether, with a mocking comparison to historical empires: "We do not send out proconsuls to reside over client states, which in turn impose taxes on coerced subjects to pay for the legions. Instead, American bases are predicated on contractual obligations — costly to us and profitable to their hosts. We do not see any profits in Korea, but instead accept the risk of losing almost 40,000 of our youth to ensure that Kias can flood our shores and that shaggy students can protest outside our embassy in Seoul."[86]

The existence of "proconsuls", however, has been recognized by many since the early Cold War. In 1957, French Historian, Amaury de Riencourt, associated the American "proconsul" with "the Roman of our time".[87] Expert on recent American history, Arthur M. Schlesinger detected several contemporary imperial features, including "proconsuls": Washington does not directly run many parts of the world. Rather, its "informal empire" was one "richly equipped with imperial paraphernalia: troops, ships, planes, bases, proconsuls, local collaborators, all spread wide around the luckless planet."[88] "The Supreme Allied Commander, always an American, was an appropriate title for the American proconsul whose reputation and influence outweighed those of European premiers, presidents, and chancellors."[89] US "combatant commanders ... have served as its proconsuls. Their standing in their regions has usually dwarfed that of ambassadors and assistant secretaries of state."[90] Harvard Historian Niall Ferguson calls the regional combatant commanders, among whom the whole globe is divided, the "pro-consuls" of this "imperium".[91] Günter Bischof calls them "the all powerful proconsuls of the new American empire. Like the proconsuls of Rome they were supposed to bring order and law to the unruly and anarchical world".[92] In September 2000, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest published a series of articles whose central premise was Combatant Commanders' inordinate amount of political influence within the countries in their areas of responsibility. They "had evolved into the modern-day equivalent of the Roman Empire's proconsuls—well-funded, semi-autonomous, unconventional centers of US foreign policy".[93] The Romans often preferred to exercise power through friendly client regimes, rather than direct rule: "until Jay Garner and L. Paul Bremer became US proconsuls in Baghdad, that was the American method too".[94]

Another distinction of Victor Davis Hanson—that US bases, contrary to the legions, are costly to America and profitable for their hosts—expresses the American view. The hosts express a diametrically opposite view. Japan pays for 25,000 Japanese working on US bases. 20% of those workers provide entertainment: a list drawn up by the Japanese Ministry of Defense included 76 bartenders, 48 vending machine personnel, 47 golf course maintenance personnel, 25 club managers, 20 commercial artists, 9 leisure-boat operators, 6 theater directors, 5 cake decorators, 4 bowling alley clerks, 3 tour guides and 1 animal caretaker. Shu Watanabe of the Democratic Party of Japan asks: "Why does Japan need to pay the costs for US service members' entertainment on their holidays?"[95] One research on host nations support concludes:

At an alliance-level analysis, case studies of South Korea and Japan present that the necessity of the alliance relationship with the US and their relative capabilities to achieve security purposes lead them to increase the size of direct economic investment to support the US forces stationed in their territories, as well as to facilitate the US global defense posture. In addition, these two countries have increased their political and economic contribution to the US-led military operations beyond the geographic scope of the alliance in the post-Cold War period ... Behavioral changes among the US allies in response to demands for sharing alliance burdens directly indicate the changed nature of unipolar alliances. In order to maintain its power preponderance and primacy, the unipole has imposed greater pressure on its allies to devote much of their resources and energy to contributing to its global defense posture ... [It] is expected that the systemic properties of unipolarity–non-structural threat and a power preponderance of the unipole–gradually increase the political and economic burdens of the allies in need of maintaining alliance relationships with the unipole.[96]

In fact, increasing the "economic burdens of the allies" is one of the major priorities of President Donald Trump.[97][98][99][100] Classicist Eric Adler notes that Hanson earlier had written about the decline of the classical studies in the United States and insufficient attention devoted to the classical experience. "When writing about American foreign policy for a lay audience, however, Hanson himself chose to castigate Roman imperialism in order to portray the modern United States as different from—and superior to—the Roman state."[101] As a supporter of a hawkish unilateral American foreign policy, Hanson's "distinctly negative view of Roman imperialism is particularly noteworthy, since it demonstrates the importance a contemporary supporter of a hawkish American foreign policy places on criticizing Rome".[102]

U.S. foreign policy debate

Map of the United States and directly-controlled territory at its greatest extent from 1898–1902, after the Spanish–American War
Map of the United States and directly-controlled territory at its greatest extent from 1898–1902, after the Spanish–American War
1898 political cartoon: "Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip" meaning the extension of U.S. domination (symbolized by a bald eagle) from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. The cartoon contrasts this with a map of the smaller United States 100 years earlier in 1798.
1898 political cartoon: "Ten Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip" meaning the extension of U.S. domination (symbolized by a bald eagle) from Puerto Rico to the Philippines. The cartoon contrasts this with a map of the smaller United States 100 years earlier in 1798.

Annexation is a crucial instrument in the expansion of a nation, due to the fact that once a territory is annexed it must act within the confines of its superior counterpart. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations, "If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security, that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."[103]

Prior to annexing a territory, the American government still held immense power through the various legislations passed in the late 1800s. The Platt Amendment was utilized to prevent Cuba from entering into any agreements with foreign nations, and also granted the Americans the right to build naval stations on their soil.[104] Executive officials in the American government began to determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or restriction of independence.[104]

When asked on April 28, 2003, on Al Jazeera whether the United States was "empire building", Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld replied, "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. We never have been."[105]

However, historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which he describes as an "imperial acquisition—imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule". The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were "designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires".[106]

Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, in support of non-interventionism (sometimes referred to as "isolationism"), discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."[107]

Andrew Bacevich argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an effort to expand its control across the world.[108] As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in 1991.[109] Head of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, Stephen Peter Rosen, maintains:

A political unit that has overwhelming superiority in military power, and uses that power to influence the internal behavior of other states, is called an empire. Because the United States does not seek to control territory or govern the overseas citizens of the empire, we are an indirect empire, to be sure, but an empire nonetheless. If this is correct, our goal is not combating a rival, but maintaining our imperial position, and maintaining imperial order.[110]

In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the process has long been described in other countries.[111]

Thorton wrote that "[...]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against."[112] Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world;[113] political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided ... by the use of the phrase 'empire' to describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the Soviet Union in the twentieth".[114]

Since 2001,[115] Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited resources. Instead, the USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc. Reviewing Todd's After the Empire, G. John Ikenberry found that it had been written in "a fit of French wishful thinking".[116] The thinking proved to be "wishful" indeed, as the book became a bestseller in France for most of the year 2003.[117]

Other political scientists, such as Daniel Nexon and Thomas Wright, argue that neither term exclusively describes foreign relations of the United States. The U.S. can be, and has been, simultaneously an empire and a hegemonic power. They claim that the general trend in U.S. foreign relations has been away from imperial modes of control.[118]

Cultural imperialism

McDonald's in Saint Petersburg, Russia
McDonald's in Saint Petersburg, Russia

Some critics of imperialism argue that military and cultural imperialism are interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory, said that,

... so influential has been the discourse insisting on American specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct.[119]

International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume.[120] Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis, but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.[121]

Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda used during the war of 1898, "We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming now!"[104]

American progressives have been accused of engaging in cultural imperialism.[122][123] In contrast, many other countries with American brands have incorporated themselves into their own local culture. An example of this would be the self-styled "Maccas", an Australian derivation of "McDonald's" with a tinge of Australian culture.[124]

U.S. military bases

Chalmers Johnson argued in 2004 that America's version of the colony is the military base.[125] Chip Pitts argued similarly in 2006 that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggested a vision of "Iraq as a colony".[126]

While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II. Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion.[127] In 2003, a Department of Defense distribution found the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.[128]

By 1970,[needs update] the United States had more than 1,000,000 soldiers in 30 countries, was a member of four regional defense alliances and an active participant in a fifth, had mutual defense treaties with 42 nations, was a member of 53 international organizations, and was furnishing military or economic aid to nearly 100 nations across the face of the globe.[129] In 2015 the Department of Defense reported the number of bases that had any military or civilians stationed or employed was 587. This includes land only (where no facilities are present), facility or facilities only (where there the underlying land is neither owned nor controlled by the government), and land with facilities (where both are present).[130] Also in 2015, David Vine's book Base Nation, found 800 US military bases located outside of the US, including 174 bases in Germany, 113 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea, the total costs, an estimated $100 billion a year.[131]

According to The Huffington Post, "The 45 nations and territories with little or no democratic rule represent more than half of the roughly 80 countries now hosting U.S. bases. ... Research by political scientist Kent Calder confirms what's come to be known as the "dictatorship hypothesis": The United States tends to support dictators [and other undemocratic regimes] in nations where it enjoys basing facilities."[132]

Benevolent imperialism

Political cartoon depicting Theodore Roosevelt using the Monroe Doctrine to keep European powers out of the Dominican Republic.
Political cartoon depicting Theodore Roosevelt using the Monroe Doctrine to keep European powers out of the Dominican Republic.

One of the earliest historians of American Empire, William Appleman Williams, wrote, "The routine lust for land, markets or security became justifications for noble rhetoric about prosperity, liberty and security."[133]

Max Boot defends U.S. imperialism by claiming: "U.S. imperialism has been the greatest force for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated communism and Nazism and has intervened against the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing."[134] Boot used "imperialism" to describe United States policy, not only in the early 20th century but "since at least 1803".[134][135] This embrace of empire is made by other neoconservatives, including British historian Paul Johnson, and writers Dinesh D'Souza and Mark Steyn. It is also made by some liberal hawks, such as political scientists Zbigniew Brzezinski and Michael Ignatieff.[136]

British historian Niall Ferguson argues that the United States is an empire and believes that this is a good thing: "What is not allowed is to say that the United States is an empire and that this might not be wholly bad."[137] Ferguson has drawn parallels between the British Empire and the imperial role of the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, though he describes the United States' political and social structures as more like those of the Roman Empire than of the British. Ferguson argues that all of these empires have had both positive and negative aspects, but that the positive aspects of the U.S. empire will, if it learns from history and its mistakes, greatly outweigh its negative aspects.[138][page needed]

Another point of view implies that United States expansion overseas has indeed been imperialistic, but that this imperialism is only a temporary phenomenon; a corruption of American ideals or the relic of a past historical era. Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis argues that Spanish–American War expansionism was a short-lived imperialistic impulse and "a great aberration in American history", a very different form of territorial growth than that of earlier American history.[139] Historian Walter LaFeber sees the Spanish–American War expansionism not as an aberration, but as a culmination of United States expansion westward.[140]

Historian Victor Davis Hanson argues that the U.S. does not pursue world domination, but maintains worldwide influence by a system of mutually beneficial exchanges.[141] On the other hand, a Filipino revolutionary General Emilio Aguinaldo felt as though the American involvement in the Philippines was destructive, "the Filipinos fighting for Liberty, the American people fighting them to give them liberty. The two peoples are fighting on parallel lines for the same object."[142] American influence worldwide and the effects it has on other nations have multiple interpretations according to whose perspective is being taken into account.

Liberal internationalists argue that even though the present world order is dominated by the United States, the form taken by that dominance is not imperial. International relations scholar John Ikenberry argues that international institutions have taken the place of empire.[143]

International relations scholar Joseph Nye argues that U.S. power is more and more based on "soft power", which comes from cultural hegemony rather than raw military or economic force.[144] This includes such factors as the widespread desire to emigrate to the United States, the prestige and corresponding high proportion of foreign students at U.S. universities, and the spread of U.S. styles of popular music and cinema. Mass immigration into America may justify this theory, but it is hard to know for sure whether the United States would still maintain its prestige without its military and economic superiority.

See also

Notes and references

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  14. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PdJ9TAdTdA
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  16. ^ Sexton, Jay (2011-03-15). The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth-Century America. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 2–9. ISBN 9781429929288.
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Further reading

External links

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