TED Conversations

pat gilbert


This conversation is closed.

Ken mentioned he was dumbfounded by Obama's rhetoric. Are Americans oblivious to imperialism?



The main factor in conflict is that it is created by someone other than the apparent enemies as illustrated by the article. It also indicates that the most likely instigator is the one making the instigations as with Johnson and the Vietnam war or Lincoln and the Civil War or Polk and the Mexican American War.

Also mentioned in the article is how american foreign policy starting with Wilson has followed the same M.O.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Sep 15 2013: Gave this more thought... as my old PC did not bring up the article, so I am kind of shooting blind. When I looked at the references of Polk, Lincoln and Johnson. We have seemed to have gone from classic imperialism to what I consider the progressive political evolution of Wilson.

    Mexico revolted against Spain about 1825 and sort had started as a free state, but was soon a dictatorship that could be considered worse then under Spain. From then until the war some 20 odd years later, there were enough "unneighborly" acts that would justify the war in Washington's mind. Polk was a generous imperialist and sent compensation. Lincoln held the union together and began the ending of the Federation of the United States as may have been predicted by the antifederalists.
    A succession of constitutional amendments pretty much gutted the intent of states rights in the constitution.
    The Spanish American War was probably the last war of flagrant imperialism.

    Wilson, the consummate progressive, saw that by appearing to save the day in WWI, that our "Foreign Policy" could be better used to influence global outcomes rather then get involved in War.
    FDR miscalculated the Japanese when our policies sought to tip the balance away from Japan in the late thirties and then suffered the attack on Pearl Harbor. After WW2, the standoff known as the cold war. There were influential outcomes made in Central America another areas, the dropped ball by Kennedy in Cuba, culminated by Johnson's miss in the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and that war. Since, the US has wheeled and dealed on just about every continent to influence local outcomes.
    I think that Wilson read the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire and saw how Rome kept control over it's vast empire... considered that Rome was too obvious in it's manipulation and went for the more subtle approach. I am afraid that the end will be as bad as it did for Rome. And yes the Roman people were just as clueless as us...
    • thumb
      Sep 16 2013: This from the article:

      When James K. Polk became president in 1845 he announced to his cabinet that one of his chief objectives was to acquire California, which was then a part of Mexico. As he wrote in his diary, “I stated to the cabinet that up to this time as they knew, we had herd of no open act of aggression by the Mexican army, but that the danger was imminent that such acts would be committed. I said that in my opinion we had ample cause of war.”

      Thus, long before the presidency of George W. Bush, James K. Polk advocated the neocon notion of the “pre-emptive war.” Polk recognized that the Mexican army had not committed any “act of aggression,” so he set out to provoke one by sending American troops to the border of Mexico in territory that historians agree was “disputed territory” at the time because of a very dubious claim by the U.S. government. None other than Ulysses S. Grant wrote in his memoirs that, as a young soldier serving under the command of General Zachary Taylor during the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War, he understood that he had been sent there to provoke a fight:

      The presence of United States troops on the edge of the disputed territory furthest from the Mexican settlements, was not sufficient to provoke hostilities. We were sent to provoke a fight, but it was essential that Mexico should commence it. I was very doubtful whether Congress would declare war; but if Mexico should attack our troops, the Executive [President Polk] could announce, ‘Whereas war exists by the acts of, etc.’ and prosecute the contest with vigor.

    • thumb
      Sep 16 2013: Polk’s gambit worked; he did provoke the Mexican army. In his war message to Congress he then declared that “Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil. ... As war exists ... by the act of Mexico herself, we are called upon by every consideration of duty and patriotism to vindicate with decision the honor, the rights, and the interests of our country.” This con game of provoking a war by showing up on another nation’s border, heavily armed with weapons aimed at the hoped-for belligerent, would be repeated many times in subsequent generations, right up to today’s provocation of a war in Syria.

      The invasion and conquest of Mexico enabled the U.S. government to acquire California and New Mexico at the cost of some 15,000 American lives and at least 25,000 Mexican casualties. It was an aggressive war of conquest and imperialism.

      "Lincoln held the union together and began the ending of the Federation of the United States as may have been predicted by the antifederalists.
      A succession of constitutional amendments pretty much gutted the intent of states rights in the constitution.
      The Spanish American War was probably the last war of flagrant imperialism."

      As I learned here on TED it started with McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819. Then Lincoln taking away the constitutional right secede. Then the 17th amendment. Then the general growth of federal government violating the 10th amendment.

      The article says that it the idea behind the policy was a progressive idea bring western values to the countries that were invaded.

      Wilson (progressive) - used the Lusitania known to be loaded with war supplies to taunt Germany into firing the first shot.

      FDR (progressive) - In addition the article did not mention that FDR cut off Japan's access to oil

      Truman (progressive) - Korean War

      LBJ/Kennedy (progressive) - Vietnam War

      Clinton (progressive) - Kosovo War

      Bush 1 (republican)- Iraq War
    • thumb
      Sep 16 2013: Bush 2 (republican) - Iraq War, Afghanistan War.

      Obama (progressive) - Stepped up war in Afghanistan, if had his way we would be involved in Syria as well which could lead to WW3

      I'm thinking war is predominantly a progressive thing?

      War is such a specious idea that it can apparently only be furthered by subterfuge

      This problem is vastly under realized by Americans and a huge part of cronyism.
      This problem is as big as the domestic spending.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.