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American imperialism

American imperialism is a policy

aimed at extending the political,
economic, and cultural control of the
United States government over areas
beyond its boundaries. It can be
accomplished in any number of ways:
by military conquest, by treaty, by
subsidization, by economic penetration
through private companies followed by
intervention when those interests are
threatened, or by regime change.[4] U.S. military presence around the world in 2007. As of2013, the U.S. still had
many bases and troops stationed globally.[1] Their presence has generated
The concept of expanding territorial [2][3]
controversy and opposition by some in foreign countries.
control was popularized in the 19th More than 1,000 U.S. troops
century as the doctrine of Manifest
100–1,000 U.S. troops
Destiny and was realized through
Use of military facilities
conquests such as the Mexican–
American War of 1846, which resulted
in the annexation of 525,000 square
miles of Mexican territory.[5][6] While the US government does
not refer to itself as an empire, the continuing phenomenon has
been acknowledged by mainstream Western writers including
Max Boot, Arthur Schlesinger, and Niall Ferguson.[7]

Member states of NATO

Indian Wars and Manifest Destiny
New Imperialism and "The White Man's Burden"
21st century imperialism
American exceptionalism
Wilsonian intervention
Views of American imperialism
U.S. foreign policy debate
Cultural imperialism
U.S. military bases
Benevolent imperialism
See also
Notes and references
Further reading
External links

Indian Wars and Manifest Destiny

Thomas Jefferson, in the 1790s, awaited the fall of the Spanish Empire "until
our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by
piece".[8][9] In turn, historian Sidney Lens notes that "the urge for
expansion – at the expense of other peoples – goes back to the beginnings of
the United States itself".[5] Yale historian Paul Kennedy put it, "From the
time the first settlers arrived in Virginia from England and started moving
westward, this was an imperial nation, a conquering nation."[10] Detailing
George Washington's description of the early United States as an "infant
empire",[11] Benjamin Franklin's writing that "the Prince that acquires new
Caricature showing Uncle Sam lecturing
Territory ... removes the Natives to give his own People Room ... may be
four children labelled Philippines, Hawaii,
properly called [Father] of [his] Nation",[12] and Thomas Jefferson's
Puerto Rico and Cuba, in front of children
statement that the United States "must be viewed as the nest from which all holding books labelled with variousU.S.
America, North & South is to be peopled",[13] Noam Chomsky said that "the states. A black boy is washing windows, a
United States is the one country that exists, as far as I know, and ever has, Native American sits separate from the
that was founded as an empire explicitly".[14][15] class, and a Chinese boy is outside the
door. The caption reads: "School Begins.
A national drive for territorial acquisition across the continent was Uncle Sam (to his new class in Civilization):
popularized in the 19th century as the ideology of Manifest Destiny. It came Now, children, you've got to learn these
lessons whether you want to or not! But just
to be realized with the Mexican–American War of 1846, which resulted in
take a look at the class ahead of you, and
the annexation of 525,000 square miles of Mexican territory, stretching up to
remember that, in a little while, you will feel
the Pacific coast.[5][6] as glad to be here as they are!"

President James Monroe presented his famous doctrine for the western
hemisphere in 1823. Historians have observed that while the Monroe Doctrine contained a commitment to resist colonialism from
Europe, it had some aggressive implications for American policy, since there were no limitations on the US's own actions mentioned
within it. Scholar Jay Sexton notes that the tactics used to implement the doctrine were "modeled after those employed by British
imperialists" in their territorial competition with Spain and France.[16] Eminent historian William Appleman Williams dryly
described it as "imperial anti-colonialism."[17]

The Indian Wars against the indigenous population began in the British era. Their escalation under the federal republic allowed the
US to dominate North America and carve out the 48 continental states. This is now understood to be an explicitly colonial process, as
the Native American nations were usually recognized as sovereign entities prior to annexation. Their sovereignty was systematically
undermined by US state policy (usually involving unequal or broken treaties) and white settler-colonialism.[18] The climax of this
process was the California genocide.[19][20]

New Imperialism and "The White Man's Burden"

A variety of factors converged during the "New Imperialism" of the late 19th century, when the United States and the other great
powers rapidly expanded their overseas territorial possessions. Some of these are explained, or used as examples for the various
forms of New Imperialism.

The prevalence of overt racism, notablyJohn Fiske's conception of Anglo-Saxon racial superiority, and Josiah
Strong's call to "civilize and Christianize"—all manifestations of a growingSocial Darwinism and racism in some
schools of American political thought.[22]
Early in his career, as Assistant Secretary ofthe Navy, Theodore Roosevelt was instrumental in preparing the Navy
for the Spanish–American War[23] and was an enthusiastic proponent of testing the U.S. military in battle, at one
point stating "I should welcome almost any war , for I think this country needs one".[24][25][26]
Roosevelt claimed that he rejected imperialism, but he embraced the near-identical
doctrine of expansionism. When Rudyard Kipling wrote the imperialist poem "The
White Man's Burden" for Roosevelt, the politician told colleagues that it was “rather
." [27] Roosevelt was so
poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view
committed to dominating Spain's former colonies that he proclaimed his own
corollary to the Monroe Doctrine as justification,[28] although his ambitions
extended even further, into the Far East. Scholars have documented the resemblance
and collaboration between US and British military activities in the Pacific at this
This cartoon reflects the view of
Judge magazine regarding America's
imperial ambitions following a quick
Industry and trade are two of the most prevalent motivations of imperialism.
victory in the Spanish–American War
American intervention in both Latin America and Hawaii resulted in multiple
of 1898.[21] The American flag flies
industrial investments, including the popular industry of Dole bananas. If the United from the Philippines and Hawaii in
States was able to annex a territory, in turn they were granted access to the trade and the Pacific to Cuba and Puerto Rico
capital of those territories. In 1898, Senator Albert Beveridge proclaimed that an in the Caribbean.
expansion of markets was absolutely necessary, "American factories are making
more than the American people can use; American soil is producing more than they
can consume. Fate has written our policy for us; the trade of the world must and shall be ours."

American rule of ceded Spanish territory was not uncontested. The Philippine Revolution had begun in August 1896 against Spain,
and after the defeat of Spain in the Battle of Manila Bay, began again in earnest, culminating in the Philippine Declaration of
Independence and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. The Philippine–American War ensued, with extensive damage
and death, ultimately resulting in the defeat of the Philippine Republic.[32][33][34] According to scholars such as Gavan McCormack
and E. San Juan, the American counterinsurgency resulted in genocide.[35][36]

The maximum geographical extension of American direct political and military

control happened in the aftermath of World War II, in the period after the surrender
and occupations of Germany and Austria in May and later Japan and Korea in
September 1945 and before the independence of thePhilippines in July 1946.[37]

Stuart Creighton Miller says that the public's sense of innocence about Realpolitik
impairs popular recognition of U.S. imperial conduct.[38] The resistance to actively
occupying foreign territory has led to policies of exerting influence via other means,
including governing other countries via surrogates or puppet regimes, where
A map of "Greater America" c. 1900,
domestically unpopular governments survive only through U.S. support. including overseas territories.

The Philippines is sometimes cited as an example. After Philippine independence,

the US continued to direct the country through Central Intelligence Agency operatives like Edward Lansdale. As Raymond Bonner
and other historians note, Lansdale controlled the career of President Ramon Magsaysay, going so far as to physically beat him when
the Philippine leader attempted to reject a speech the CIA had written for him. American agents also drugged sitting President
Elpidio Quirino and prepared to assassinate Senator Claro Recto.[40][41] Prominent Filipino historian Roland G. Simbulan has called
the CIA "US imperialism'sclandestine apparatus in the Philippines".[42]

The U.S. retained dozens of military bases, including a few major ones. In addition, Philippine independence was qualified by
legislation passed by the U.S. Congress. For example, the Bell Trade Act provided a mechanism whereby U.S. import quotas might
be established on Philippine articles which "are coming, or are likely to come, into substantial competition with like articles the
product of the United States". It further required U.S. citizens and corporations be granted equal access to Philippine minerals,
forests, and other natural resources.[43] In hearings before the Senate Committee on Finance, Assistant Secretary of State for
Economic Affairs William L. Clayton described the law as "clearly inconsistent with the basic foreign economic policy of this
country" and "clearly inconsistent with our promise to grant the Philippines genuine independence".
21st century imperialism
The United States has aggressively used its power to expand its influence in recent times, seeking to enter numerous countries
militarily, such as Afghanistan and Iraq;[45][46] building military bases around the world, especially in the Arab countries of the
Persian Gulf;[47] deploying its navy in the South China Sea, widely seen as a way to contain Chinese claims in the South China
Sea;[48] supporting the overthrow of democratically elected governments such as Venezuela, Iran, and Syria;[49][50][51] supporting
rebel groups in Libya and Syria;[52][53] continuing the allegedly illegal occupation of the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba;[56]
influencing the complete blockade of countries such as Qatar;[57] using the dominance of the US dollar in worldwide trade to
sanction rival countries such as Turkey, Russia, Venezuela and Iran;[58][59][60][61] initiating a trade war with major economic rival
China;[62] using protectionist measures against traditional allies and fellow WTO-members, Canada, Mexico, and the European
Union;[63] and embargoing countries such as Cuba.[64]

American exceptionalism
American exceptionalism is the notion that the United States occupies a special niche among
the nations of the world[65] in terms of its national credo, historical evolution, and political
and religious institutions and origins.

Philosopher Douglas Kellner traces the identification of American exceptionalism as a distinct

phenomenon back to 19th century French observer Alexis de Tocqueville, who concluded by
agreeing that the U.S., uniquely, was "proceeding along a path to which no limit can be

President Donald Trump has once said that he does not "like the term" American
exceptionalism because he thinks it is "insulting the world". He told tea party activists in
Texas that "If you're German, or you're from Japan, or you're from China, you don't want to
have people saying that."[67]
On the cover of Puck
As a Monthly Review editorial opines on the phenomenon, "in Britain, empire was justified as published on April 6, 1901,
a benevolent 'white man's burden'. And in the United States, empire does not even exist; 'we' in the wake of gainful victory
are merely protecting the causes of freedom, democracy and justice worldwide." in the Spanish–American
War, Columbia—the
National personificationof
Wilsonian intervention the U.S.—preens herself
with an Easter bonnet in the
When World War I broke out in Europe, President Woodrow Wilson promised American form of a warship bearing
neutrality throughout the war. This promise was broken when the United States entered the the words "World Power"
war after the Zimmermann Telegram. This was "a war for empire" to control vast raw and the word "Expansion"
materials in Africa and other colonized areas according to the contemporary historian and on the smoke coming out of
its stack.
civil rights leader W. E. B. Du Bois.[69] More recently historian Howard Zinn argues that
Wilson entered the war in order to open international markets to surplus US production. He
quotes Wilson's own declaration that

Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling
nations be outraged in the process... the doors of the nations which are closed must be battered down.

In a memo to Secretary of State Bryan, the president described his aim as "an open door to the world".[70] Lloyd Gardner notes that
Wilson's original avoidance of world war was not motivated by anti-imperialism; his fear was that "white civilization and its
domination in the world" were threatened by "the great white nations" destroying each other in endless battle.
Despite President Wilson's official doctrine of moral diplomacy seeking to "make
the world safe for democracy", some of his activities at the time can be viewed as
imperialism to stop the advance of democracy in countries such as Haiti.[72] The
United States invaded Haiti in July 1915 after having made landfall eight times
previously. American rule in Haiti continued through 1942, but was initiated during
World War I. The historian Mary Renda in her book, Taking Haiti, talks about the
American invasion of Haiti to bring about political stability through U.S. control.
The American government did not believe Haiti was ready for self-government or American troops marching in
democracy, according to Renda. In order to bring about political stability in Haiti, Vladivostok during the Allied
the United States secured control and integrated the country into the international intervention in the Russian Civil War,
August 1918
capitalist economy, while preventing Haiti from practicing self-governance or
democracy. While Haiti had been running their own government for many years
before American intervention, the U.S. government regarded Haiti as unfit for self-rule. In order to convince the American public of
the justice in intervening, the United States government used paternalist propaganda, depicting the Haitian political process as
uncivilized. The Haitian government would come to agree to U.S. terms, including American overseeing of the Haitian economy.
This direct supervision of the Haitian economy would reinforce U.S. propaganda and further entrench the perception of Haitians
being incompetent of self-governance.[73]

In World War I, the US, Britain, and Russia had been allies for seven months, from April 1917 until the Bolsheviks seized power in
Russia in November. Active distrust surfaced immediately, as even before the October Revolution, British officers had been involved
in the Kornilov Affair which sought to crush the Russian anti-war movement and the independent soviets.[74] Nonetheless, once the
Bolsheviks took Moscow, the British began talks to try and keep them in the war effort. British diplomat Bruce Lockhart cultivated a
relationship with several Soviet officials, including Leon Trotsky, and the latter approved the initial Allied military mission to secure
the Eastern Front, which was collapsing in the revolutionary upheaval. Ultimately, Soviet head of state V.I. Lenin decided the
Bolsheviks would settle peacefully with the Central Powers at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. This separate peace led to Allied disdain
for the Soviets, since it left the Western Allies to fight Germany without a strong Eastern partner. The British SIS, supported by US
diplomat Dewitt C. Poole, sponsored an attempted coup in Moscow involving Bruce Lockhart and Sidney Reilly, which involved an
attempted assassination of Lenin. The Bolsheviks proceeded to shut down the British and US embassies.

Tensions between Russia (including its allies) and the West turned intensely ideological. Horrified by mass executions of White
forces, land expropriations, and widespread repression, the Allied military expedition now assisted the anti-Bolshevik Whites in the
Russian Civil War, with the British and French giving armed support to the brutal General Alexander Kolchak. Over 30,000 Western
troops were deployed in Russia overall.[77] This was the first event which made Russian–American relations a matter of major, long-
term concern to the leaders in each country. Some historians, including William Appleman Williams and Ronald Powaski, trace the
origins of the Cold War to this conflict.[78]

Wilson launched seven armed interventions, more than any other president.[79] Looking back on the Wilson era, General Smedley
Darlington Butler, a leader of the Haiti expedition and the highest-decorated Marine of that time, considered virtually all of the
operations to have been economically motivated.[80] In a 1933 speech he said:

I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it...I
helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a
decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central
American republics for the benefits of Wall Street ... Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a
few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Views of American imperialism

Journalist Ashley Smith divides theories of the U.S. imperialism into 5 broad categories: (1) "liberal" theories, (2) "social-
democratic" theories, (3) "Leninist" theories, (4) theories of super-imperialism",
" and (5) "Hardt-and-Negri" theories.[82]
There is also a conservative, anti-interventionist view as expressed by American journalist
John T. Flynn:

The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving
forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims, while incidentally capturing
their markets; to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples, while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.

A "social-democratic" theory says that imperialistic U.S. policies are the products of the
excessive influence of certain sectors of U.S. business and government—the arms industry in
alliance with military and political bureaucracies and sometimes other industries such as oil
and finance, a combination often referred to as the "military–industrial complex". The
complex is said to benefit from war profiteering and the looting of natural resources, often at
the expense of the public interest.[84] The proposed solution is typically unceasing popular
vigilance in order to apply counter-pressure.[85] Chalmers Johnson holds a version of this

Alfred Thayer Mahan, who served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the late 19th century,
supported the notion of American imperialism in his 1890 book titled The Influence of Sea
Power upon History. Mahan argued that modern industrial nations must secure foreign
markets for the purpose of exchanging goods and, consequently, they must maintain a
In 1899, Uncle Sam maritime force that is capable of protecting thesetrade routes.[87][88]
balances his new
possessions which are A theory of "super-imperialism" argues that imperialistic U.S. policies are not driven solely by
depicted as savage children. the interests of American businesses, but also by the interests of a larger apparatus of a global
The figures are Puerto Rico,
alliance among the economic elite in developed countries. The argument asserts that
Hawaii, Cuba, Philippines
and "Ladrone Island" capitalism in the Global North (Europe, the U.S., Japan, among others) has become too
(Guam, largest of the entangled to permit military or geopolitical conflict between these countries, and the central
Mariana Islands, which were conflict in modern imperialism is between the Global North (also referred to as the global
formerly known as the core) and the Global South (also referred to as the global periphery) rather than between the
Ladrones Islands). imperialist powers.

Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the idea of American imperialism
was reexamined. In November 2001, jubilant marines hoisted an American flag over
Kandahar and in a stage display referred to the moment as the third after those on
San Juan Hill and Iwo Jima. All moments, writes Neil Smith, express US global
ambition. "Labelled a war on terrorism, the new war represents an unprecedented
quickening of the American Empire, a third chance at global power

On October 15, the cover of William Kristol's Weekly Standard carried the headline,
American occupation of Mexico City
"The Case for American Empire".[90] Rich Lowry, editor in chief of the National
in 1847
Review, called for "a kind of low-grade colonialism" to topple dangerous regimes
beyond Afghanistan.[91] The columnist Charles Krauthammer declared that, given
complete U.S. domination "culturally, economically, technologically and militarily", people were "now coming out of the closet on
the word 'empire' ".[10] The New York Times Sunday magazine cover for January 5, 2003, read "American Empire: Get Used To It".
[92] Two Harvard
The phrase "American empire" appeared more than 1000 times in news stories during November 2002 – April 2003.
Historians and their French colleague observed:
Since September 11, 2001 ... if not earlier, the idea of American
empire is back ... Now ... for the first time since the early Twentieth
century, it has become acceptable to ask whether the United States
has become or is becoming an empire in some classic sense."

It used to be that only the critics of American foreign policy referred

to the American empire ... In the past three or four years [2001–
2004], however, a growing number of commentators have begun to
use the term American empire less pejoratively, if still ambivalently,
Ceremonies during theannexation of
and in some cases with genuine enthusiasm.[94] the Republic of Hawaii, 1898

US historians have generally considered the late 19th century

imperialist urge as an aberration in an otherwise smooth democratic
trajectory ... Yet a century later, as the US empire engages in a new
period of global expansion, Rome is once more a distant but
essential mirror for American elites ... Now, with military
mobilisation on an exceptional scale after September 2001, the
United States is openly affirming and parading its imperial power.
For the first time since the 1890s, the naked display of force is
backed by explicitly imperialist discourse.[95]

In the book "Empire", Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri argue that "the decline of Empire has begun".[96] Hardt says the Iraq War is
a classically imperialist war, and is the last gasp of a doomed strategy.[97] They expand on this, claiming that in the new era of
imperialism, the classical imperialists retain a colonizing power of sorts, but the strategy shifts from military occupation of
economies based on physical goods to a networked biopower based on an informational and affective economies. They go on to say
that the U.S. is central to the development of this new regime of international power and sovereignty, termed "Empire", but that it is
decentralized and global, and not ruled by one sovereign state: "the United States does indeed occupy a privileged position in Empire,
but this privilege derives not from its similarities to the old European imperialist powers, but from its differences".[98] Hardt and
Negri draw on the theories ofSpinoza, Foucault, Deleuze and Italian autonomist Marxists.[99][100]

Geographer David Harvey says there has emerged a new type of imperialism due to geographical distinctions as well as unequal rates
of development.[101] He says there has emerged three new global economic and political blocs: the United States, the European
Union and Asia centered on China and Russia.[102] He says there are tensions between the three major blocs over resources and
economic power, citing the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the motive of which, he argues, was to prevent rival blocs from controlling oil.[103]
Furthermore, Harvey argues that there can arise conflict within the major blocs between business interests and the politicians due to
their sometimes incongruent economic interests.[104] Politicians live in geographically fixed locations and are, in the U.S. and
Europe, accountable to an electorate. The 'new' imperialism, then, has led to an alignment of the interests of capitalists and politicians
in order to prevent the rise and expansion of possible economic and political rivals from challenging America's dominance.

Classics professor and war historian Victor Davis Hanson dismisses the notion of an American Empire altogether, with a mocking
comparison to historical empires: "We do not send out proconsuls to reside over client states, which in turn impose taxes on coerced
subjects to pay for the legions. Instead, American bases are predicated on contractual obligations — costly to us and profitable to
their hosts. We do not see any profits in Korea, but instead accept the risk of losing almost 40,000 of our youth to ensure that Kias
can flood our shores and that shaggy students can protest outside our embassy in Seoul."

The existence of "proconsuls", however, has been recognized by many since the early Cold War. In 1957, French Historian, Amaury
de Riencourt, associated the American "proconsul" with "the Roman of our time".[107] Expert on recent American history, Arthur M.
Schlesinger detected several contemporary imperial features, including "proconsuls": Washington does not directly run many parts of
the world. Rather, its "informal empire" was one "richly equipped with imperial paraphernalia: troops, ships, planes, bases,
proconsuls, local collaborators, all spread wide around the luckless planet."[108] "The Supreme Allied Commander, always an
American, was an appropriate title for the American proconsul whose reputation and influence outweighed those of European
premiers, presidents, and chancellors."[109] US "combatant commanders ... have served as its proconsuls. Their standing in their
regions has usually dwarfed that of ambassadors and assistant secretaries of state."[110] Harvard Historian Niall Ferguson calls the
[111] Günter Bischof
regional combatant commanders, among whom the whole globe is divided, the "pro-consuls" of this "imperium".
calls them "the all powerful proconsuls of the new American empire. Like the proconsuls of Rome they were supposed to bring order
and law to the unruly and anarchical world".[112] In September 2000, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest published a series of
articles whose central premise was Combatant Commanders' inordinate amount of political influence within the countries in their
areas of responsibility. They "had evolved into the modern-day equivalent of the Roman Empire’s proconsuls—well-funded, semi-
autonomous, unconventional centers of US foreign policy".[113] The Romans often preferred to exercise power through friendly
client regimes, rather than direct rule: "until Jay Garner and L. Paul Bremer became US proconsuls in Baghdad, that was the
American method too".[114]

Another distinction of Victor Davis Hanson—that US bases, contrary to the legions, are costly to America and profitable for their
hosts—expresses the American view. The hosts express a diametrically opposite view. Japan pays for 25,000 Japanese working on
US bases. 20% of those workers provide entertainment: a list drawn up by the Japanese Ministry of Defense included 76 bartenders,
48 vending machine personnel, 47 golf course maintenance personnel, 25 club managers, 20 commercial artists, 9 leisure-boat
operators, 6 theater directors, 5 cake decorators, 4 bowling alley clerks, 3 tour guides and 1 animal caretaker. Shu Watanabe of the
Democratic Party of Japan asks: "Why does Japan need to pay the costs for US service members' entertainment on their
holidays?"[115] One research on host nations support concludes:

At an alliance-level analysis, case studies of South Korea and Japan present that the necessity of the alliance
relationship with the US and their relative capabilities to achieve security purposes lead them to increase the size of
direct economic investment to support the US forces stationed in their territories, as well as to facilitate the US global
defense posture. In addition, these two countries have increased their political and economic contribution to the US-
led military operations beyond the geographic scope of the alliance in the post-Cold War period ... Behavioral
changes among the US allies in response to demands for sharing alliance burdens directly indicate the changed nature
of unipolar alliances. In order to maintain its power preponderance and primacy, the unipole has imposed greater
pressure on its allies to devote much of their resources and energy to contributing to its global defense posture ... [It]
is expected that the systemic properties of unipolarity–non-structural threat and a power preponderance of the
unipole–gradually increase the political and economic burdens of the allies in need of maintaining alliance
relationships with the unipole.[116]

In fact, increasing the "economic burdens of the allies" is one of the major priorities of President Donald Trump.[117][118][119][120]
Classicist Eric Adler notes that Hanson earlier had written about the decline of the classical studies in the United States and
insufficient attention devoted to the classical experience. "When writing about American foreign policy for a lay audience, however,
Hanson himself chose to castigate Roman imperialism in order to portray the modern United States as different from—and superior
to—the Roman state."[121] As a supporter of a hawkish unilateral American foreign policy, Hanson's "distinctly negative view of
Roman imperialism is particularly noteworthy
, since it demonstrates the importance a contemporary supporter of a hawkish American
foreign policy places on criticizing Rome".[122]

U.S. foreign policy debate

Annexation is a crucial instrument in the expansion of a nation, due to the fact that once a territory is annexed it must act within the
confines of its superior counterpart. The United States Congress' ability to annex a foreign territory is explained in a report from the
Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations, "If, in the judgment of Congress, such a measure is supported by a safe and wise
policy, or is based upon a natural duty that we owe to the people of Hawaii, or is necessary for our national development and security,
that is enough to justify annexation, with the consent of the recognized government of the country to be annexed."
Prior to annexing a territory,
the American government
still held immense power
through the various
legislations passed in the
late 1800s. The Platt
Amendment was utilized to
prevent Cuba from entering Map of the United States and directly-
into any agreements with controlled territory at its greatest extent from
1898 political cartoon: "Ten
1898–1902, after the Spanish–American
Thousand Miles From Tip to Tip" foreign nations, and also
meaning the extension of U.S. granted the Americans the
domination (symbolized by abald right to build naval stations
eagle) from Puerto Rico to the
on their soil.[124] Executive officials in the American government began to
Philippines. The cartoon contrasts
determine themselves the supreme authority in matters regarding the recognition or
this with a map of the smaller United
States 100 years earlier in 1798. restriction of independence.[124]

When asked on April 28, 2003, onAl Jazeera whether the United States was "empire
e never have been."[125]
building", Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld replied, "We don't seek empires, we're not imperialistic. W

However, historian Donald W. Meinig says the imperial behavior by the United States dates at least to the Louisiana Purchase, which
he describes as an "imperial acquisition—imperial in the sense of the aggressive encroachment of one people upon the territory of
another, resulting in the subjugation of that people to alien rule". The U.S. policies towards the Native Americans he said were
"designed to remold them into a people more appropriately conformed to imperial desires".

Writers and academics of the early 20th century, like Charles A. Beard, in support of non-interventionism (sometimes referred to as
"isolationism"), discussed American policy as being driven by self-interested expansionism going back as far as the writing of the
Constitution. Some politicians today do not agree. Pat Buchanan claims that the modern United States' drive to empire is "far
removed from what the Founding Fathers had intended the young Republic to become."

Andrew Bacevich argues that the U.S. did not fundamentally change its foreign policy after the Cold War, and remains focused on an
effort to expand its control across the world.[128] As the surviving superpower at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. could focus its
assets in new directions, the future being "up for grabs" according to former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz in
1991.[129] Head of the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University
, Stephen Peter Rosen, maintains:

A political unit that has overwhelming superiority in military power, and uses that power to influence the internal
behavior of other states, is called an empire. Because the United States does not seek to control territory or govern the
overseas citizens of the empire, we are an indirect empire, to be sure, but an empire nonetheless. If this is correct, our
goal is not combating a rival, but maintaining our imperial position, and maintaining imperial order

In Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, the political activist Noam Chomsky argues that
exceptionalism and the denials of imperialism are the result of a systematic strategy of propaganda, to "manufacture opinion" as the
process has long been described in other countries.

Thorton wrote that "[...]imperialism is more often the name of the emotion that reacts to a series of events than a definition of the
events themselves. Where colonization finds analysts and analogies, imperialism must contend with crusaders for and against."[132]
Political theorist Michael Walzer argues that the term hegemony is better than empire to describe the US's role in the world;[133]
political scientist Robert Keohane agrees saying, a "balanced and nuanced analysis is not aided ... by the use of the phrase 'empire' to
describe United States hegemony, since 'empire' obscures rather than illuminates the differences in form of rule between the United
Soviet Union in the twentieth".[134]
States and other Great Powers, such as Great Britain in the 19th century or the
Since 2001,[135] Emmanuel Todd assumes that USA cannot hold for long the status of mondial hegemonic power due to limited
resources. Instead, the USA is going to become just one of the major regional powers along with European Union, China, Russia, etc.
Reviewing Todd's After the Empire, G. John Ikenberry found that it had been written in "a fit of French wishful thinking".[136] The
thinking proved to be "wishful" indeed, as the book became a bestseller in France for most of the year 2003.

Other political scientists, such as Daniel Nexon and Thomas Wright, argue that neither term exclusively describes foreign relations of
the United States. The U.S. can be, and has been, simultaneously an empire and a hegemonic power. They claim that the general
trend in U.S. foreign relations has been away from imperial modes of control.

Cultural imperialism
Some critics of imperialism argue that military and cultural imperialism are
interdependent. American Edward Said, one of the founders of post-colonial theory,
said that,

... so influential has been the discourse insisting on American

specialness, altruism and opportunity, that imperialism in the United
States as a word or ideology has turned up only rarely and recently
in accounts of the United States culture, politics and history. But the
connection between imperial politics and culture in North America, McDonald's in Saint Petersburg,
and in particular in the United States, is astonishingly direct. Russia

International relations scholar David Rothkopf disagrees and argues that cultural
imperialism is the innocent result of globalization, which allows access to numerous U.S. and Western ideas and products that many
non-U.S. and non-Western consumers across the world voluntarily choose to consume.[140] Matthew Fraser has a similar analysis,
but argues further that the global cultural influence of the U.S. is a good thing.[141]

Nationalism is the main process through which the government is able to shape public opinion. Propaganda in the media is
strategically placed in order to promote a common attitude among the people. Louis A. Perez Jr. provides an example of propaganda
used during the war of 1898, "We are coming, Cuba, coming; we are bound to set you free! We are coming from the mountains, from
the plains and inland sea! We are coming with the wrath of God to make the Spaniards flee! We are coming, Cuba, coming; coming

American progressives have been accused of engaging in cultural imperialism.[142][143] In contrast, many other countries with
American brands have incorporated themselves into their own local culture. An example of this would be the self-styled "Maccas", an
Australian derivation of "McDonald's" with a tinge of Australian culture.

U.S. military bases

Chalmers Johnson argued in 2004 that America's version of the colony is the military base.[145] Chip Pitts argued similarly in 2006
" as a colony".[146]
that enduring U.S. bases in Iraq suggested a vision of Iraq

While territories such as Guam, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa and Puerto Rico
remain under U.S. control, the U.S. allowed many of its overseas territories or occupations to gain independence after World War II.
Examples include the Philippines (1946), the Panama canal zone (1979), Palau (1981), the Federated States of Micronesia (1986) and
the Marshall Islands (1986). Most of them still have U.S. bases within their territories. In the case of Okinawa, which came under
U.S. administration after the Battle of Okinawa during the Second World War, this happened despite local popular opinion.[147] In
2003, a Department of Defense distribution found the United States had bases in over 36 countries worldwide.
By 1970, the United States had more than 1,000,000 soldiers in 30 countries, was a member of four regional defense alliances and an
active participant in a fifth, had mutual defense treaties with 42 nations, was a member of 53 international organizations, and was
furnishing military or economic aid to nearly 100 nations across the face of the globe.[149] In 2015 the Department of Defense
reported the number of bases that had any military or civilians stationed or employed was 587. This includes land only (where no
facilities are present), facility or facilities only (where there the underlying land is neither owned nor controlled by the government),
and land with facilities (where both are present).[150] Also in 2015, David Vine's book Base Nation, found 800 US military bases
located outside of the US, including 174 bases in Germany, 113 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea, the total costs, an estimated $100
billion a year.[151]

Benevolent imperialism
One of the earliest historians of American Empire, William Appleman Williams, wrote, "The
routine lust for land, markets or security became justifications for noble rhetoric about
prosperity, liberty and security."[152]

Max Boot defends U.S. imperialism by claiming: "U.S. imperialism has been the greatest
force for good in the world during the past century. It has defeated communism and Nazism
and has intervened against the Taliban and Serbian ethnic cleansing."[153] Boot used
"imperialism" to describe United States policy, not only in the early 20th century but "since at
least 1803".[153][154] This embrace of empire is made by other neoconservatives, including
British historian Paul Johnson, and writers Dinesh D'Souza and Mark Steyn. It is also made by
some liberal hawks, such as political scientistZbigniew Brzezinski and Michael Ignatieff.[155] Political cartoon depicting
Theodore Roosevelt using
British historian Niall Ferguson argues that the United States is an empire and believes that the Monroe Doctrine to keep
this is a good thing: "What is not allowed is to say that the United States is an empire and that European powers out of the
this might not be wholly bad."[156] Ferguson has drawn parallels between the British Empire Dominican Republic.

and the imperial role of the United States in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, though he
describes the United States' political and social structures as more like those of the Roman
Empire than of the British. Ferguson argues that all of these empires have had both positive and negative aspects, but that the positive
aspects of the U.S. empire will, if it learns from history and its mistakes, greatly outweigh its negative aspects.

Another point of view implies that United States expansion overseas has indeed been imperialistic, but that this imperialism is only a
temporary phenomenon; a corruption of American ideals or the relic of a past historical era. Historian Samuel Flagg Bemis argues
that Spanish–American War expansionism was a short-lived imperialistic impulse and "a great aberration in American history", a
very different form of territorial growth than that of earlier American history.[158] Historian Walter LaFeber sees the Spanish–
American War expansionism not as an aberration, but as a culmination of United States expansion westward.

Historian Victor Davis Hanson argues that the U.S. does not pursue world domination, but maintains worldwide influence by a
system of mutually beneficial exchanges.[160] On the other hand, a Filipino revolutionary General Emilio Aguinaldo felt as though
the American involvement in the Philippines was destructive, "the Filipinos fighting for Liberty, the American people fighting them
to give them liberty. The two peoples are fighting on parallel lines for the same object."[161] American influence worldwide and the
effects it has on other nations have multiple interpretations according to whose perspective is being taken into account.

Liberal internationalists argue that even though the present world order is dominated by the United States, the form taken by that
dominance is not imperial. International relations scholar John Ikenberry argues that international institutions have taken the place of

International relations scholar Joseph Nye argues that U.S. power is more and more based on "soft power", which comes from
cultural hegemony rather than raw military or economic force.[163] This includes such factors as the widespread desire to emigrate to
the United States, the prestige and corresponding high proportion of foreign students at U.S. universities, and the spread of U.S.
styles of popular music and cinema. Mass immigration into America may justify this theory, but it is hard to know for sure whether
the United States would still maintain its prestige without its military and economic superiority
See also
American Century
Criticism of the United States government
Indian massacre
Inverted totalitarianism
Manifest destiny
A People's History of American Empire– 2008 book by Howard Zinn, et al.
Territories of the United States
Superiority complex
Washington Consensus
New Imperialism
Soviet Empire
Chinese imperialism

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Further reading
Bacevich, Andrew (2008). The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism . Macmillan. ISBN 0-8050-
Boot, Max (2002). The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. Basic Books. ISBN 0-
Brown, Seyom (1994).Faces of Power: Constancy and Change in United States Foreign Policy fromruman T to
Clinton. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-09669-0.
Burton, David H. (1968).Theodore Roosevelt: Confident Imperialist. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Callahan, Patrick (2003).Logics of American Foreign Policy: Theories of America's World Role . New York: Longman.
ISBN 0-321-08848-4.
Card, Orson Scott (2006). Empire. TOR. ISBN 0-7653-1611-0.
Daalder, Ivo H.; James M. Lindsay (2003).America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy . Washington,
DC: Brookings Institution.ISBN 0-8157-1688-5.
Fulbright, J. William; Seth P. Tillman (1989). The Price of Empire. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-394-57224-6.
Gaddis, John Lewis (2005). Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar American National Security
Policy (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517447-X.
Grandin, Greg, "The Death Cult of Trumpism: In his appealsto a racist and nationalistchauvinism, Trump leverages
tribal resentment against an emerging manifest common destiny",The Nation, 29 Jan./5 Feb. 2018, pp. 20–22."
[T]he ongoing effects of the ruinous 2003 war in Iraq and the 2007–8 financial meltdown are... two indicators that the
promise of endless growth can no longer help organize people's aspirations... W e are entering the second 'lost
decade' of what Larry Summers calls 'secular stagnation,' and soon we'll be in the third decade of a war that Senator
Lindsey Graham... says will never end.[T]here is a realization that the world is fragile and that we are trapped in an
economic system that is well past sustainable or justifiable.... In a nation like the United States, founded on a
mythical belief in a kind of species immunity—less anAmerican exceptionalismthan exemptionism, an insistence
that the nation was exempt from nature, society , history, even death—the realization that it can't go on forever is
traumatic." (p. 21.)
Hardt, Michael; Antonio Negri (2001). Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.ISBN 0-674-00671-2.
Huntington, Samuel P. (1996). The Clash of Civilizations. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-81164-2.
Johnson, Chalmers (2000). Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire . New York: Holt. ISBN 0-
Johnson, Chalmers (2004). The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy , and the End of the Republic. New York:
Metropolitan Books. ISBN 0-8050-7004-4.
Johnson, Chalmers (2007). Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic . New York, NY: Metropolitan Books.
ISBN 0-8050-7911-4.
Kagan, Robert (2003). Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order . New York: Knopf.
ISBN 1-4000-4093-0.
Kerry, Richard J. (1990). The Star-Spangled Mirror: America's Image of Itself and the World. Savage, MD: Rowman
& Littlefield. ISBN 0-8476-7649-8.
Lundestad, Geir (1998). Empire by Integration: The United States and European Integration, 1945–1997 . New York:
Oxford University Press.ISBN 0-19-878212-8.
Meyer, William H. (2003). Security, Economics, and Morality in American Foreign Policy: Contemporary Issues in
Historical Context. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-086390-4.
Nye, Joseph S., Jr (2002). The Paradox of American Power: Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone .
New York: Oxford University Press.ISBN 0-19-515088-0.
Odom, William; Robert Dujarric (2004).America's Inadvertent Empire. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10069-8.
Patrick, Stewart; Forman, Shepard, eds. (2001).Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement .
Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. ISBN 1-58826-042-9.
Perkins, John (2004). Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. Tihrān: Nashr-i Akhtarān.ISBN 1-57675-301-8.
Rapkin, David P., ed. (1990). World Leadership and Hegemony. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. ISBN 1-55587-189-5.
Ruggie, John G., ed. (1993).Multilateralism Matters: The Theory and Praxis of an Institutional Form
. New York:
Columbia University Press.ISBN 978-0-231-07980-8.
Smith, Tony (1994). America's Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the
Twentieth Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.ISBN 0-691-03784-1.
Tomlinson, John (1991).Cultural Imperialism: A Critical Introduction. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
ISBN 0-8018-4250-6.
Todd, Emmanuel (2004). After the Empire: The Breakdown of the American Order . New York: Columbia University
Press. ISBN 978-0-231-13103-2.
Tremblay, Rodrigue (2004). The New American Empire. Haverford, PA: Infinity Pub. ISBN 0-7414-1887-8.
Zepezauer, Mark (2002). Boomerang!: How Our Covert Wars Have Created Enemies Across the Middle East and
Brought Terror to America. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press.ISBN 1-56751-222-4.

External links
"Imperial America" by Richard Haass, 2000
"Empire or Not? A Quiet Debate Over U.S. Role"by Thomas E. Ricks, 2001
"The Answer to Terrorism? Colonialism"by Paul Johnson, 2001
"The Need for a New Imperialism"by Martin Wolf, 2001
"The Case for American Empire"by Max Boot, 2001
"All Roads Lead to D.C."by Emily Eakin, 2002
"The Reluctant Imperialist: Terrorism, Failed States, and the Case for American Empire"by Sebastian Mallaby, 2002
"The New Liberal Imperialism"by Robert Cooper, 2002
"In Praise of American Empire"by Dinesh D'Souza, 2002
"Empire lite" by Michael Ignatieff, 2003
"America and The Tragic Limits of Imperialism" by Robert D. Kaplan, 2003
"An Empire in Denial: The Limits of US Imperialism"by Niall Ferguson, 2003
"In Defence of Empires"by Deepak Lal, 2003

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