The Pity of War --- Niall Ferguson (concerning World War I and it's causes)
Another example may be given of an aggressive power which posed a direct threat to Britain in the Atlantic and Pacific; a power which shared a border over three thousand miles long with one of the Empire’s most prosperous territories. This was the United States.(the bold emphasis is mine)
Though the two powers had not come to blows since 1812, it is easily forgotten how many reasons they had to quarrel in the 1890’s. The US took issue with Britain over the border of Venezuela and British Guiana, a dispute not settled until 1899; went to war with Spain over Cuba and in the process acquired the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam in 1898; annexed Hawaii in the same year; fought a bloody colonial war in the Philippines between 1899 and 1902; acquired some of the Samoan Islands in 1899; and eagerly took a hand in the economic carve-up of China. The next stage of American imperial expansion was to construct a canal across the Central American isthmus. Compared with the US, Germany was a pacific power. Once again Britain appeased the strong. The 1901 Hay-Paunceforte Treaty waived Britain’s objection to American control and fortification of the projected Panama Canal; and London allowed President Theodore Roosevelt to ride roughshod over Colombian objections by assisting a Panamanian revolt in the chosen Canal Zone. In 1901-2 Selborne took the decision to wind down Britain’s naval capacity for war with the United States in the Caribbean and the Atlantic. (R. Williams, Defending the Empire, pp. 70f.) This appeasement had predictable results. In 1904 the Americans established financial control over the Dominican Republic; the same thing happened in Nicaragua in 1909 (with military backing in 1912). Woordrow Wilson claimed to deplore “dollar diplomacy” and the “big stick”; but it was he who sent the marines to take over Haiti in 1915 and to the Dominican Republic in 1916; and it was he who authorized military intervention in Mexico, first in 1914 to change the Mexican government and then in March 1916 to punish ‘Pancho’ Villa for a raid on New Mexico. (M. Jones, Limits of Liberty, pp. 396-411.) But no one in Britain said a word. America was powerful; so there could be no Anglo-American antagonism.
British foreign policy between 1900 and 1906, then, was to appease those powers which appeared to pose the greatest threat to her position, even at the expense of good relations with the less important powers. The key point is that Germany fell into the latter category; France, Russia and the United States into the former.
This is from the view of an English professor. For those among us who stand by a strict, constitutional, isolationist policy....this list is not only shocking, but enlightening. Upon this foundation came about our entrance into World War I, and WW II, and Korea, and Vietnam, and the "cold war", and the first Iraq war, and the current "war on terror".
I'll bet 99% of Americans have no idea that all this happened, or that any of it is a problem.
I'll bet--no, I KNOW that a lot of them also think that the "war on terror" is a decisive battle between freedom and dictatorships. They want us to get "victory" and "liberty" before we pull out. They think that all the death and expense and destruction is justified by the social ends that we are "achieving".
I'll bet most of them don't know or won't believe the quote:
"When war comes, the first casualty is truth..." US Senator Hiram Johnson