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Roots of American Interventionism
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11/16/2015 5:12:35 AM
Posted: 11 months ago
This thread is the brother to the "Cold War II Ideology" thread, just as a heads up.
It's pretty clear what the founding principles of America are. But what are the roots of that?
Well, there are several landmarks which I would list that have shaped our modern policy:
1. The Monroe Doctrine and its enforcement. Under the Monroe Doctrine the United States pretty much declared two continents to be under its protection. This set a precedent of the U.S. using its military force as what it perceived to be protecting the world.
2. The American Civil War. What people don't realize is the massive impact that the American Civil War had on America's modern foreign policy.
In the 1850s the U.S. was one nation. That being said, its many different regions were often vastly different and people often identified with their state more than they did their country. At this time there were free States and slave states. The free States had the moral high ground (though that's not to say that they weren't mostly just anti-slavery because they looked down on Southerners in general and that's not to say that they abstained from purchasing huge amounts of cotton from the South each year and that's not to say that most Northerners didn't still view blacks as inferior and that's not to say that a shred of abolitionist sentiment would exist in the North if its economy were almost completely dependent on slavery). The South was living the low road.
So, a man named Stephen Douglas, who was perhaps the first postmodernist, proposed that each region do it's its own thing and that those regions which wanted slavery could keep it while those regions which wanted abolition of slavery could outlaw it within their borders.
This is similar to the idea that Western nations can keep their democracies while but they have no right to impose democracy upon everyone else.
In the end, the U.S. did not maintain this postmodern system and instead it chose the modern system in which it attempted to impose modern values on those who didn't follow them. In this case, slavery is wrong and we won't tolerate anyone doing it (though they only took action against slavery in the U.S. in this example). A system where some regions of the U.S. are permitted to maintain slavery is unacceptable.
3. WWII. The U.S. emerged from WWII a nation with a very large and powerful military, which gave it the strength to impose its values on the world.
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