Sunday, 27 November 2016

Americans disapprove of it but owe their country's existence to colonialism


It's strange that Americans owe their country's existence to colonialism but are so prejudiced against it.

Other people's colonialism, that is. They have their own colonial empire. Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Alaska, various islands, Cuba and the Philippines in the past, Europe west of Russia.

All the USA east of the original 13 colonies is the result of American colonialism, I suppose. Including the lands taken from Mexico, that the Mexicans are now reoccupying.

AJP Taylor, the greatest 20th century British historian said: 

“If the Germans had succeeded in exterminating their Slav neighbors as the Anglo-Saxons in North America succeeded in exterminating the Indians, the effect would have been what it has been on the Americans: the Germans would have become advocates of brotherly love and international reconciliation."
He might have added that they would have disapproved of colonialism.

The US gets angry when Putin wants a sphere of influence in Ukraine and 'the near abroad', but the Monroe Doctrine delimits the US's sphere of influence (to include the whole Western hemisphere). This justified the Bay of Pigs invasion, for example, and the US embargo on Cuba.

Note how Eisenhower reacted over Suez (because of anti-colonialism) with Great Britain's support for him over Cuba.

I am not opposed to the Bay of Pigs invasion or the British attempt to land a force of émigrés in Albania to overthrow the Communists there. (Kim Philby ensured that didn’t work.) I just note American inconsistency.


  1. I'm an American and I neither diapprove nor condemn my countries colonialism. Wny should I? As my grandfather once said about the amerinds, they weren't using this place anyway. Or, something like it.

    Poo too weet. so it goes.

  2. America embraced wars of expansion in the 19th C, then got on the imperialism kick via Spanish-American war, then progressed to econ-pol influence maintained by military might. Fortunately, in the midst of the adopting an "anti-colonial" position, the u.s. was able to stem the tide of Marxist-Leninist ideology, save in our university faculty lounges.

  3. The Germans did not have to succeed as exterminators to become "advocates of brotherly love and international reconciliation." A guilty conscience (assisted by the Nuremberg trials) drove them to the same result.
    And I am not sure I would include Europe in the same basket as the other colonial possessions you mention: the Marshall Plan was designed to preserve and foster Europe's independence. Sphere of influence, yes, colonial domination, not really (unless you count US tourists and Hollywood movies)