By John A. Thompson
Why has the U.S. assumed so large and dear a task in international affairs during the last hundred years? the 2 commonest solutions to this question are "because it can" and "because it had to." Neither solution will do, in line with this demanding second look of how that the USA got here to imagine its international function. The country's colossal monetary assets gave it the ability to workout nice impression in a foreign country, yet americans have been lengthy reluctant to fulfill the prices of wielding that strength. Neither the country's protection from international assault nor its monetary overall healthiness required the fulfillment of formidable overseas coverage objectives.
In A feel of Power, John A. Thompson takes a protracted view of America's dramatic upward thrust as an international strength, from the past due 19th century into the post–World warfare II period. How, and extra importantly why, has the United States come to play this sort of dominant position in global affairs? there's, he argues, no easy solution. Thompson demanding situations traditional motives of America's involvement in international struggle I and international warfare II, seeing neither the necessities of nationwide safety nor financial pursuits as settling on. He indicates how American leaders from Wilson to Truman built an ever extra capacious knowing of the nationwide curiosity, and why by means of the Forties such a lot american citizens got here to aid the fee tag, in blood and treasure, connected to strenuous efforts to form the area. The ideals and feelings that led them to take action mirrored certain elements of U.S. tradition, no longer least the power of ties to Europe. realization of the nation’s specified strength fostered emotions of accountability, entitlement, and aspiration one of the humans and leaders of the United States.
This unique research demanding situations a few extensively held ideals concerning the determinants of usa overseas coverage and should deliver new perception to modern debates approximately even if the country should―or must―play so energetic an element in international politics.
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Additional info for A Sense of Power: The Roots of America’s Global Role
Involves more than national survival,” the historian Melvyn P. Leffler insists. ”54 But this belief, too, is not self-explanatory. It might well be thought that a military posture that limited itself to making North America an uninviting target for attack would be less costly in terms of both resources and domestic liberty than the achievement of preponderant global power. As we have seen, the costs of the extensive role that the United States has assumed have not been slight. P. ”57 It is perhaps not surprising that many of those—at both ends of the political spectrum—who have most feared the effects on American liberties of a “garrison state” have tended to oppose the extension of overseas military commitments.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, the navy had declined until it possessed only fifty ships capable of firing a gun, and these mostly un-armored, wooden sailing vessels; its impotence was demonstrated in 1873 by its inability to mount an effective challenge when Spain captured an American ship carrying contraband to Cuban insurrectionists and executed over fifty men, many of whom were Americans. The revival of the navy began in the 1880s with the building of steel cruisers, increasingly steam-powered, armored, and with rifled guns.
Humanitarian sentiment was fused with traditional anticolonialism and a particular demonization of the effete Catholic monarchy of Spain. There was nothing new about these impulses and attitudes in themselves; the novel element was consciousness of the nation’s power and the belief that this brought with it a moral obligation. “We cannot refuse to accept this responsibility which the God of the universe has placed upon us as the one great power in the New World,” declared John M. ), weeping as he reported to the Senate on a fact-finding mission to the island.
A Sense of Power: The Roots of America’s Global Role by John A. Thompson