Term Paper: US Foreign Affairs

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U.S. Foreign Affairs

The causes of why the United States went to war in 1898 are quite numerous and they include political, economic and social causes.

First of all, from a political perspective, the United States were hoping to gain some of Spain's possessions in the Pacific Ocean, such as the Philippines, Guam or Puerto Rico. This assimilation of overseas possessions would have placed the U.S. In the select set of imperialist powers and gain its status of international power. Further more, the internal political conditions were excellent for external expansion: the West coast had already been reached, while the indigenous populations on the U.S. territory had been more or less dealt with.

From an economic perspective, the opening up of the U.S. To the Pacific Ocean brought about significant trade interests with China and Japan. This meant that territories such as Guam or the Philippines could become excellent naval bases. The economic motivations of this war also included economic interests in Cuba, where U.S. citizens had properties worth around $50 million, from industry segments such as sugar or tobacco. Spanish rule in Cuba could potentially become a problem towards protecting American interests.

Finally, from a social perspective, there was a true expansionist spirit in the United States at that time. The economic successes had brought the U.S. among the world's first countries, but citizens believed that this could be doubled by political and colonial success as well.

The peace treaty established U.S. dominance over the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico, while Cuba received a limited independence. However, the consequences of the war were much greater. The U.S. were now on the imperialist road, like all other powers of the 19th century and were going to play an important part in the wars to follow.

2. T. Roosevelt's terms as U.S. president marked a distinct change from the previous century of U.S. foreign isolation, decreed by George Washington and James Monroe, turning U.S. foreign policy into an active implication in world affairs. In fact, he was the one who added the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, which allowed American interventionism in the countries of Latin America if the state of things imposed it.

Roosevelt's foreign policy was motivated mainly by economic factors. The two main actions of his presidencies in terms of foreign policy, the Spanish-American War and the building of the Panama channel are clear evidence of this. Both actions were aimed at ensuring better commercial access to the Pacific economic area and to encouraging trading relations with the countries of East Asia, such as Japan and China, as well as the British and French Empires present in the area. The former, for example, with the gaining of the Philippines and Guam populated the Pacific with useful American naval bases which were used for trading, but also for war situation, as in World War II. The building of the Panama Channel facilitated the commercial route from the Atlantic to the Pacific and ensured that this strategic position remained in U.S. influence well into the 20th century.

On the other hand, his foreign policy was also a policy of reaffirmation, of reasserting U.S. global presence. The action entitled the Great White Fleet was a PR and marketing action aimed at expanding the respect for the potential role that the U.S. could play in the international arena. Both of the actions previously mentioned, the Spanish - American War and the building of the Panama Channel war also similarly propagandistic.

3. Probably one of the most interesting and difficult questions is raised by Samantha Power in her "A Problem From Hell: American in the Age of Genocide." It refers to why the American decision factors, despite constantly vowing to never let it happen again after each genocide, continue to fail finding the appropriate solutions by which genocide can be stopped.

Obviously, it often happened that U.S. decision factors have found solutions, such NATO air strikes, for example, in the case of Serbian genocide in former Yugoslavian republics, but these were only punctual solutions for problems. They were not the types of solutions that have prevented genocides from occurring in other conditions and situations.

One of the reasons for this is that there generally is no international cooperation in these issues or, if it is, it is always post-genocide, as in large international tribunals judging… [END OF PREVIEW]

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