The Introduction illustrates the claims for divine providence and American exceptionalism from George Washington to the book Exceptional by Dick and Liz Cheney. After pointing out that the idea that America is an empire is no longer controversial, it then contrasts those who consider it benign with those who consider it malign. The remainder of the book supports the latter point of view.
The American Trajectory contains many episodes that many readers will find surprising:
* The sinking of the Lusitania was anticipated, both by Churchill and Wilson, as a means of inducing America's entry into World War I;
* The attack on Pearl Harbor was neither unprovoked nor a surprise;
* During the "Good War" the US government plotted and played politics with a view to becoming the dominant empire;
* There was no need to drop atomic bombs on Japan either to win the war or to save American lives;
* US decisions were central to the inability of the League of Nations and the United Nations to prevent war;
* The United States was more responsible than the Soviet Union for the Cold War;
* The Vietnam War was far from the only US military adventure during the Cold War that killed great numbers of civilians;
* The US government organized false flag attacks that deliberately killed Europeans; and
* America's military interventions after the dissolution of the Soviet Union taught some conservatives (such as Andrew Bacevich and Chalmers Johnson) that the US interventions during the Cold War were not primarily defensive.
The conclusion deals with the question of how knowledge by citizens of how the American Empire has behaved could make America better and how America, which had long thought of itself as the Redeemer Nation, might redeem itself.
|Publisher:||Clarity Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
American imperialism is often said to have begun in 1898, when Cuba and the Philippines were the main prizes. What was new at this time, however, was only that America took control of countries beyond the North American continent. As John Bassett Moore, who had been an assistant secretary of state at that time, later wrote:
It is true that the expansion of 1898 involved . . . the taking of a step geographically in advance of any that had been taken before; but so far as concerns the acquisition of new territory we were merely following a habit which had characterized our entire national existence.
This statement is of utmost importance, because it points out that, already in 1898, imperial conquest was a long-standing habit of American policy makers. America had been engaged in expansionism from the outset.
1. The Creation of the American Empire
Maintaining that US imperialism began only in 1898 depends on an artificial distinction between “expansionism” and “imperialism,” holding that conquests are imperialistic only if a sea has been crossed. If that distinction were otherwise enforced, the Mongol Empire created by Ghengis Khan and his sons, the most extensive empire created until that time, could not be called an empire.
Historians who reject this artificial distinction date the origin of America’s empire much earlier. For example, in his important book The Rising American Empire, Richard Van Alstyne reported that “before the middle of the eighteenth century, the concept of an empire that would take in the whole continent was fully formed.” The War for Independence, he added, was fought “under the spell of [the] imperial idea . . . that the continent of North America belonged, as of right, to the people of the thirteen colonies.”
The right referred to here was a divine right. One way of expressing this sense of divine authorization was to call America the “new Israel.” But the phrase that really caught on was “manifest destiny,” which John O’Sullivan, urging the annexation of Texas, coined in 1845 to signify the mission of the United States “to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.”
One problem with this assessment of the divine will, of course, was that “our” millions encountered the millions of people who were already here.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 From the Beginning to World War I 37
Chapter 2 World War I 69
Chapter 3 Between the Wars 90
Chapter 4 World War II 123
Chapter 5 Pearl Harbor 137
Chapter 6 Hiroshima and Nagasaki 153
Chapter 7 The United Nations 170
Chapter 8 Creating the Cold War 183
Chapter 9 American Imperialism during the Cold War 207
Chapter 10 The Vietnam War 247
Chapter 11 False Flag Operations 305
Chapter 12 Some Post-Cold War Interventions 327
Chapter 13 The Drive for Global Dominance 361
Conclusion American Exceptionalism 381
Epilogue The American Century 387