<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.