George F. Kennan starts his discussion on the Spanish-American War by examining the origins of the conflict. Short-term public opinion pressured the American government into a conflict with Spain. This conflict was not for national safety or seen as an enforcement action of the Monroe Doctrine, but was the result of subjective and emotional reasoning. Compounding this mistake was the acquisition of the Philippines, which served to encourage Americans to exploit economic opportunities in China resulting in Secretary of State John Hay's Open Door Policy.
In contrast, William Appleman Williams, states that the need for economic expansion led to the Spanish-American War. Imperialist impulses sought the acquisiti...
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...he basic concepts that should be the foundations of foreign policy. America's position in the world evolved from being a world power that was unconcerned about international security in 1900 to 1950 when America was still a world power, but Americans had to contend with the fear of annihilation by the Soviet Union. Williams states that the ultimate "tragedy of American diplomacy" was the failure of the Open Door Policy. This failure, according to the author, resulted not from its misapplication or inherent weaknesses, but rather its successes. This culminated into the Cold War, as Truman demanded resumption of the Open Door Policy without providing economic assistance to the Soviet Union. These perspectives have relevance in the contemporary international environment and could be utilized in an examination of American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
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