Bailey83221 (bailey83221) wrote in politicalbridge,
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Chapter 2: The Hinge: Teddy and Wilson; Diplomacy by Henry Kissinger

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2nd chapter

This chapter started out as boring, like the first chapter, but toward the end it became more interesting and much more promising.
I learned a lot.

Haiti and the Louisiana Purchase

One item of history I wanted to mention—something that I learned when reading a book about the invasion and occupation of Haiti. I guess if their was not the rebellion of Haiti, against the French masters, and the creation of the first black state, run by former slaves, there is a good chance that France would have never sold us the Louisiana Purchase. But Frances failure in Haiti made France reassess its land in America.

Church of America
Like chapter one, Kissinger praises the Church of America in chapter two, using all of the catch phrases and words which we were all taught in school.

There is really not much I can write about the early part of the chapter.


Until the turn of the twentieth century…

One paragraph which Kissinger writes is this, page 34:

“Until the turn of the twentieth century, American foreign policy was basically quite simple: to fulfill the country’s manifest destiny, and to remain free of entanglements overseas. America favored democratic governments whenever possible, but abjured action to vindicate its preferences.”

Kissinger wrote: “Until the turn of the twentieth century…[America]… remained free of entanglements overseas.”

I just purchased the comic book: “Addicted to War Why the US Can’t Kick Militarism”. I plan to print our photos of Iraq and give it to my neighbor, who plans to join the military.

I choose a comic book, because I failed trying to convince my brother to leave the military by mailing him actual books, which he never read. I will quote it here because the facts and ideas of this book right now are readily available and I don’t have to dig through my books to find the same facts and ideas.


At the turn of the century:

According to this comic book, Between 1898 and 1934 the marines invaded Cuba 4 times, Nicaragua 5 times, Honduras 7 times, the Dominican Republic 4 times, Haiti Twice, Guatemala once, Panama twice, Mexico 3 times, and Columbia 4 times. –These statistics are from the book: The Caribbean: Struggle, Survival and Sovereignty.

During this same time, Marines went to China, Russia and North Africa. –Quoted the Book: A Chronology of the U.S. Navy: 1775-1965.

“America favored democratic governments whenever possible, but abjured action to vindicate its preferences.”

--This “American favoritism for democratic governments whenever possible” which Kissinger wrote, is shown to be more American religious empty rhetoric, when you look at the treatment and governments set up in those countries in the Western Hemisphere that America controlled.

Monroe Doctrine
What I found was fascinating in this chapter as Kissinger explained it, was that the Monroe Doctrine was an early form of the Iraq doctrine, which was laid about and signed by the major neocons during Clinton’s presidency:

“The Monroe Doctrine justified American intervention not only against an existing threat but against any possibility of an overt challenge—much as the European balance of power did.” --Page 36

Kissinger praises America again and again in this chapter, using the “beacon of freedom” analogy a half dozen times. He truly knows how to please his audience. Like Chapter one, he uses grandiose facts, and absolute statements, which will stay in the readers mind and which makes great quotes. One of the most interesting I found was:
“No nation has ever experienced such an increase in its power without seeking to translate it into global influence” –page 37

Justifying empire
I love how Kissinger frames our invasions and intervention of Haiti and the Dominican Republic:

“In 1902, America had forced Haiti to clear up its debts with European banks.”
“In 1905, the United states the United States established a financial protectorate over the Dominican Republic.”
—pg 39

Both sentences are written to show that America is helping both poor backward countries.

Panama
Look at how my comic book compares the creation of Panama to Kissinger:

Diplomacy:

“In 1903, [America] fanned unrest in Panama into a full-scale insurrection. With American help, the local population wrested independence from Columbia, but not before Washington had established the Canal Zone under United States sovereignty on both sides of what was to become the Panama Canal.” –pg 39

Addicted to War, Why the US Can’t Kick Militarism:

“During the same period, the US overthrew Hawaii’s Queen Liluokalani and transformed these unspoiled Pacific islands into a U.S. Navy base surrounded by Dole and Del Monte plantations. In 1903, after Roosevelt became president, he sent gunboats to secure Panama’s separation from Columbia. The Columbian government had refused Roosevelt’s terms for building a canal.” --Quoted from “A History of the United States” [Since 1865]

Japan / Russian war
I was not aware of this part of the Japan / Russian war:

In 1904, Japan, protected by an alliance with Great Britain, attacked Russia. –pg 41

[Because of his negotiation with Russia and Japan to end the war] Roosevelt became the first American to be awarded to Noble Peace Prize. –pg 42

The Russia / Japan war is fascinating; it really helped bring in the Russian revolution and the rise of Communism. I have a section on my web page www.odessaguide.com about how one of the Russian ships had a mutiny in the port of Odessa.

With all of these “beacon” quotes, I wonder who first said this, I know Reagan said this a lot. Was it Jefferson who came up with this?

Wilson’s ideology

The section comparing Teddy Roosevelt with Wilson is fascinating, and I really enjoyed it.

“From Woodrow Wilson through George Bush, American presidents have invoked their country’s unselfishness as the crucial attribute of its leadership role…America waged the Cold War not as a conflict between two superpowers (as Roosevelt would advance) but as a moral struggle for democracy.” –page 46, 54

This is true, no matter where America is invading, it always invokes the terms “freedom” and “democracy”.

I would rather have Roosevelt’s views in foreign policy, which I feel are more honest and straightforward:

“Had Roosevelt or his ideas prevailed in 1912, the question of [World War I] aims would have been based on an inquiry into the nature of American national interest. Roosevelt would have rested America’s entry into war on the proposition—which he in fact advanced—that, unless America joined the Triple Entente, the Central Powers would win the war and, sooner or later, pose a threat to American security.” –page 50

As Kissinger said:
“Such an Old World approach (balance of power politics) ran counter to the wellspring of American emotions being tapped by Wilson—as it does to this day …Roosevelt’s approach to international affairs died with him in 1919, no significant school of American thought on foreign policy has invoked him since.”—page 51, 54

I find it fascinating that today the far right is the most supportive of Wilson’s ideas (a Democrat)—that American is a “beacon of democracy” and the far left is more supportive of Roosevelt’s ideas (a Republican), which has less ideological baggage and sees America is simply an empire, which flexes its strength often—not for democracy or freedom, but for power.
I want to discuss this last argument with you, Trav, because it seems that the Neocons in this war on terror are doing exactly what Roosevelt would have done. We're on the offensive now, knowing that sooner or later, we'll regret doing nothing.
Read this again:
“Had Roosevelt or his ideas prevailed in 1912, the question of [World War I] aims would have been based on an inquiry into the nature of American national interest. Roosevelt would have rested America’s entry into war on the proposition—which he in fact advanced—that, unless America joined the Triple Entente, the Central Powers would win the war and, sooner or later, pose a threat to American security.” –page 50

This is why we're in Iraq...and why the libs oppose the war. Don't you agree? It seems we're now melding the Roosevelt/Wilson ideology: dismantling despots in Iraq and Afghanistan for national security and encouraging democracy out of the vaccuum of power.

Being new to politics, the political jargon of this chapter had me a bit twisted up. I still learned much in reading the chapter.

I find it interesting how Americans have reworked all their systems for their own needs and stamped the package democracy. It is even more interesting how this invasion mindset was all derived from the doctrine of Wilson.

It is claimed by these Presidents and supported by this author that the balance of power and the means to establish more democractic nations are in direct conflict. I disagree. I believe both terms can be met, and in fact by taking on democracy action by ourselves, we have limited our ability to establish peace before democracy.

Such is the current case of Iraq, we went in with weak allies, in our Wilsonian point of view and burned bridges instead of thinking through the situation and balancing the power of the problem.

If we forgo the balance of power than we stand to lose greatly the ability to establish peacefull democracies.

Democratic nations demand power of the people, but often have limited it to their own people, defeaning the voice of other nations.

Both means can be achieved and should be achieved. Freedom, democracy and a balanced world power.