Understanding of the White Man's Burden

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Ever since its beginnings as a colony, America had always had a strong interest in expansion, a fact that is undeniably true even to this day as America seeks to find territory even outside of Earth. America has always found that it is the duty of the white man to bring the world into the next era of society. This burden and the desire to protect American economic and political interest is what drives America. Be it someone attempting to limit America or obstruct democracy, or just an interest in expansion, America always found its way outside of its vast borders.

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The history of American interference in foreign government begins in Hawaii during the 1890s. Amos Starr Cooke acted as one of the most successful and influential planters in Hawaii and by using his relationship with King Kamehameha the third (a former student of his) Cooke was able to set up a system that allowed the land in Hawaii to be bought by planters. Later these planters were able to gain a treaty with the United States that allowed them to freely and exclusively trade with taxes in the United States in return for protection and support in Hawaii. This event revealed just how much influence the Hawaiian monarchy compared to the American and European elites aiding the crown. News of this angered the natives and King Kalakaua’s sister Liliuokalani, who became the queen after Kalakaua’s death. And with her rise to power, the new queen would make sure to return her lands to its original and traditional state. There would be no issues with anyone on the islands except for the white elites who thrived on the sugar industry and their mutual agreement with the United States. As a result, a minister appointed to Hawaii decided to overthrow her using military aid from the United States government. Faced with a small army, Queen Liliuokalani had no choice but to surrender to the United States new regime and joining them as the 50th states.

The next three countries America claimed were rewards gained after defeating Spain and signing the Treaty of Paris in 1898, were Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico. The first of these three to come under American control was Cuba during the climax of its third revolution against Spain. During this period America had reached a low point after realizing that the country produced more than it consumed, The only option to rectify this issue would be too spread their markets to foreign consumers, a task not so simple with the number of protective tariffs in powerful nations in Europe, leaving America with no choice but to look at weak nations that would buy their goods at a better price. And at the time there was no better target than Cuba which was currently in the midst of a war for its independence from Spain. Most Americans already had a deep hatred towards Spain and with the destruction of an American ship at the hands of Spain this feeling was only magnified. Many of these Americans also enjoyed the idea of Cuba gaining its independence and even published a brief promise to leave Cuba after the revolution was over. Instead however after Spain was defeated, America announced they would not follow the promise due to is the hasty decision and would instead stay in Cuba, offering to leave a ruler there and not force too much control over the island as long as Cuba belonged to the United States. Puerto Rico (which was seen as a sort of extension of Cuba) was invaded for its potential in the sugar industry. While the war in Cuba waged, America fought a relatively simple war in Puerto Rico, establishing control after the capture of Guanica on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. The next area, the Philippines, was a similar case to Cuba as it technically belonged to Spain who decided to sell it to the United States. Filipinos similarly desired independence but businessmen in America seeking markets in China fought for war over control of the Philippines. A war that ended with a general named Frederick Funston tricked and captured Aguinaldo the primary leader for the Filipinos.

Nicaragua was the next country to be claimed by the United States. At this point in time, the current president of Nicaragua, Jose Santos Zelaya was working hard to make his country powerful and independent. America’s primary issue with this is Zelaya’s restrictions on American companies that worked on Nicaraguan land and his willingness to accept aid from other countries besides the United States. These restrictions and independent attitude angered the Attorney General Philander Knox. As a result, Knox plotted with other businessmen to start a revolution in Nicaragua. At the center of it two American soldiers, Lee Roy Cannon, and Leonard Grace were killed as a punishment from Zelaya for attempting to blow up an important naval vessel sent to help Zelaya. The United States was able to brand Zelaya as a war criminal, leading to him choosing to leave in order to protect his country, His successor, Jose Madriz attempted to end the rebellion but was faced with an issue from the United States who requested the war ground be made neutral. This meant Nicaraguans couldn’t advance due to a chance of having stray bullets harm citizens; in contrast, their opposition led by Tomas Estrade could freely fire due to their backs being towards the citizens. The Nicaraguans were forced to retreat and Madriz was forced to attempt to make a peaceful solution, Despite this America decided to continue and forced Madriz out as well due to his support for Zelaya’s principles, leading to simple take over of their government. The next organized revolution took place in Honduras. A successful banana planter known as Sam Zemurray (who had been angered by Honduras’s President Miguel Davilla’s effort to tax his exports and limit the amount of land he owned ) had hired Lee Christman a famous soldier who had fought in almost every war in Central America. Lee had planned a revolution and with a string of early victories he had caught the eyes of the U.S. with the chance of the success large benefits for the U.S. President Taft and Secretary Knox who had been involved with the capture of Nicaragua understood the benefits and saw the Honduran president as a second Zelaya. In an attempt to salvage the situation the president of Honduras attempted to establish a treaty with the United States which was voted against by the National Assembly. An order was issued by the U.S. prohibiting further combat in Honduras and forcing President Davilla to resign his power to the United States who granted the seat to one of the conspirators aiding Christman.

The next countries overthrown start the cold war era of American intervention. This era is marked by the use of the CIA in order to secretly cause chaos in countries which would be ‘saved’ by people chosen by the U.S and the first of them is Iran which starts when Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh decides to nationalize the oil industry and to remove all British employees operating in Iran. These acts anger the British who rely on the oil in Iran but leave them with little way to retaliate due to the lack of British in the country. But with the election of Eisenhower and his new Secretary of State Dulles, fortune once again smiles on the British. At this time Kermit Roosevelt the current chief of CIA operations in the Middle East was passing through London, where he met with British chiefs to discuss their proposal for a revolution in Iran. These British chiefs decided to send an agent to Washington to attempt to gain their aid, warning the United States of how this could result in further communism and the loss of one of the biggest sources of oil. This, however, did not initially work due to how weak the communists in Iran were compared to Mossadegh and the fact the Mossadegh rejected communists doctrines and only allowed them in his country due to their support. This forced Dulles to rely on the CIA, who devised a plan to use large sums of money to bribe journalists, editors, and preachers to create hostility towards Mossadegh and his government. The plan was carried out by Kermit Roosevelt who used the money to paint Mossadegh as a heinous villain, a simple feat due to Mossadegh faith and commitment to due process of law, civil rights, and democracy (a faith so strong, it pushed him to let these rumors spread). The final nail came when Roosevelt used his connections with local gangs to cause chaos. Roosevelt then had General Zahedi join the conflict as a hero. In the end, Mossadegh was forced to resign. The next takeover in Guatemala starts off similarly to Iran. With the harsh presence presented by the United Fruits company that thrived off, many Guatemalans felt the need to revolt and establish a new system. After the end of that, a democracy was formed and Juan Jose Arevalo was elected as the new president. With his election came a multitude of new regulations such as a social security system, rights of trade unions, fixed the number of time workers spend at their job, and created a tax on large landholders, all of which heavily hurt United Fruit. After the end of Arevalo’s term, he handed the seat to Jacobo Arbenz, who then attempted to fix issues in his country that would threaten the power of the United States. The fear that other Central American countries would follow Guatemala and the thought that these reform movements in Guatemala were signs of communism made for two strong reasons to overthrow Arbenz. Seeing Roosevelt’s success in Iran, the Dulles brothers decided to reuse the method in Guatemala. The two chose John Peurifoy to act as their ambassador, a man who had seemed to enjoy denouncing leftist. Peurifoy soon met with Arbenz and after that meeting, he told the Dulles that Arbenz will work as their communist scapegoat. After the approval of the plan, Carlos Castillo Armas was chosen as their Guatemalan figurehead. One agent known as Howard Hunt used the priests who were close to the wealthy (disliked reformers like Arbenz) to make it seem like Guatemala was being taken over by communism. Even more difficulties for Arbenz came when they requested weapons from Czechoslovakia who came into the port with Soviet weaponry, a major source of proof for the rising communism in Guatemala. When the invasion force led by Armas arrived, Arbenz sent his Foreign Minister Toriello to attempt a diplomatic solution. But with the arrival on planes and aerial attacks, the people of Guatemala began believing there was a true warrior and the United States responded acting as if it was the result of a revolution caused by Guatemalans. With the arrival of more planes that dealt serious damage Arbenz had little choice but to surrender to the United States. Colonel Diaz took power after that but was quickly dealt with and replaced by Castillo Arma using the threat of further violence.

The plot for South Vietnam begins after Vietnam’s gains its independence from the French. Due to clashing groups, the country is briefly split into two sectors for two years, one ruled by the communist Ho Chi Minh and the other controlled by former allies of the French. John Dulles a fervent opposer of communism could not stand by in a situation that could spread communism. To start this project Dulles chose Colonel Edward Lansdale who partnered with Ngo Dinh Diem. Fearing the election of Ho Chi Minh, Dulles and Diem decided not to go through the election, resulting in the permanent separation of Vietnam. After some time war broke out between the two sides and in order to quell the growing communism President Kennedy supported Diem with American troops and weaponry. An act that Diem believed would only create more violence. Soon after multiple members of Kennedy’s administration had been looking towards replacing Diem. They chose Duong Van Minh, Diem’s military advisor who had lost his troops due to Diem’s mistrust, to replace him. With the aid of American funds, Minh was able to build an army that isolated Diem and forced them to surrender.

Chile’s story begins with the election of Salvador Allende an admirer of Fidel Castro and a man who looked towards the nationalism of American companies in his country, two decisions that placed him on America’s radar. Agustin Edwards, one of Chile’s richest men would not stand by this and appealed to President Nixon who declared to protect American foreign businesses and fight communism, two goals that could be dealt with in Chile. After Edwards visited multiple American businesses (Kennecott and Anaconda Copper Companies, alongside others such as ITT ) located in Chile. They banded together to provide further support for change in Chile and protect their companies. The coup started with messages broadcasted by the CIA and rallies started by CIA funded groups. The next stage was creating a mini-crisis that would act as a reason for a revolution. Acts such as the spreading of rumors of bank collapses and food rationing. With the eventual murder of a general, Chile was soon on its way to a point where military intervention was their only solution. This, however, did not work and only pushed Allende’s inauguration. It was only after this that Nixon was able to bring his forces together, that Allende’s fate was sealed. The first act was an economic blockade started by the companies in Chile. After some time a short military coup started and one of Allende’s primary generals was forced to resign leading to the selection of General Augusto Pinochet. With the departure of General Prats, the CIA’s army was finally able to join together for the coup. Soon after, strikes began taking place, food was becoming limited and Allende’s enemies were drawing closer. And at the La Moneda, he gave his final words and surrendered his seat.

The conflict in Grenada marked the beginning of a new period of regime change. Unlike the last era where countries were taken through covert action by the CIA, this era was marked by invasions meant to reignite American influence after failure in Vietnam. Grenada was the first of these countries after the assassination of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. The situation had turned worse when protestors clashed with the new government leading to more violence. Due to the danger that threatened United States citizens in Grenada, Reagan ordered in over two thousand troops to invade the island. There they faced opposition from Grenadan soldiers. After the battle, the government collapsed and the United States replaced it with one of their usual figureheads.

In the last 1900s, the CIA recruited Manuel Noriega to assist in quelling the spread of communism in Central America. Soon after Noriega became involved in drug trafficking and in 1983 became the military dictator of Panama. Trouble came when Noriega’s history as a drug trafficker and CIA agent was made public. And as tension grew between the U.S and Noriega’s PDF (Panama Defense Force) violence soon began with the shooting of an off-duty U.S. marine. The next day Bush began the invasion of Panama and sent nine thousand troops into Panama which easily crushed the PDF. The U.S. gave the seat of the president to Endara and swiftly placed Noriega in jail, later dying in a hospital on May 29, 2017.

Initially, the United States was looking for a way to gain a victory over the Soviet Union after the failure in Vietnam left them on the defensive side. As a result of the CIA immediately got to work on creating an Afghan rebellion. In order to do this, the CIA supplied Pakistan’s military dictator who then transported the weapons and money to Afghan rebels he favored. Through covert aid, the Soviet was eventually forced to call its troops home due to the extreme loss of lives and money. With this victory, the United States decided to step away and look towards Iraq, a mistake that would lead to one of America’s biggest disasters. While America had ignored Afghanistan a new force, the Taliban was being formed to combat one of the warlords who gained power through the CIA’s intervention. And then an event that shocked all Americans took place; the attack on the Pentagon and World Trade Center by Al Qaeda terrorists. Almost instantaneously America set its sights back on Afghanistan. To fight the terrorist the United States decided to fight an aerial war while using rented troops from the Northern Alliance, an Afghan Militia, to fight on the ground. After some time the bribes from the CIA pushed these militias to fight for the United States eventually defeating the current terrorists. After this, the invasion of Iraq starts due to the possible threat of highly dangerous weapons. With the disaster of 9/11 many Americans are in a state of high alert and fear the radical terrorists from Middle East countries. To combat the Iraqi army, the military used air forced to apply large amounts of pressure, while pushing into the heart of Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. Due to the weak weapons used by the Iraq soldiers and superior firepower used by Americans, the battle was extremely one-sided. Due to the little resistance, Americans managed to occupy most of the area, forcing Saddam Hussein, the president, into hiding.

The history of America’s foreign regime change can be broken into three eras. The imperial era which started with Hawaii and ended with Honduras was based around expansion for resources. Most of the countries were won using military power or through wars that gave up the countries as apart of a treaty, The next era which started with Iran and ended with Chile relied on the CIA to cause chaos and make the U.S. look like heroes. The final era was based on invasions and wars meant to bring prosperity back to the U.S. after its failure in Vietnam. All three eras included basic reasoning mostly dealing with gaining resources, protecting the interests of businessmen, and combating communism. After the governments were taken over the U.S. would place a figurehead leader who would take orders from the establishing rule over the country. This method is what expanded the U.S. and led to many problems in third world countries. And as a result the U.S. has grown into one of the largest nations using its understanding of “the white man’s burden” of interest in business.

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