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Letter of the Day: Gunboat diplomacy

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010 file photo, a Lebanese army helicopter flies past the USS Ramage as search efforts continue for a downed airliner, in Beirut, Lebanon. The USS Ramage is one of four U.S. Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea waiting for a possible order to launch against Syria. The United States and its allies accuse Syrian President Bashar Assad of allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, possibly including sarin gas, to kill hundreds of Syrians. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

<b>Gunboat diplomacy</b>

EDITOR: The dispatching of naval forces by President Barack Obama to foreign shores is a classic, centuries-old tradition for the U.S. government. It is called gunboat diplomacy. This type of aggression kept Central and South American nations free of meddling by European governments. It was useful in keeping South America's rulers in Uncle Sam's pocket, with trade policies beneficial to American corporations, and it provided a colonial presence in the world which the United States longed for.

Its most successful application was the Spanish-American War in which Spain was eliminated from the Western Hemisphere, many Spanish colonial holdings, including the Philippines, were transferred to America. U.S. dominance in world affairs began here, and it has not yet waned.

All it cost us were a few human casualties and the battleship Maine which was blown up in the harbor at Havana, Cuba. Much later, it was determined that the Spanish had not sunk the Maine. It was caused by a fatal accident by American sailors themselves.

It should make all Americans nostalgic for the good old days.

JIM E. ADAMS

Sonoma


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