Features — 03 March 2018
American behavior

It is not so difficult to understand the thinking of the United States of America, the most powerful country in our hemisphere, the world. In the old days, when a country was a conquering hero, it took for itself countries that it wanted, and everything else it desired. When the Romans were gods, they held vassal states from which they extracted taxes. Remember when Jesus was asked about the taxes He said to His countrymen that they should render onto the Caesar what belonged to him, namely the taxes.

The people in the USA knew what it was like to pay taxes to a government that wasn’t their own; maybe this is why they announced that they would take no such prisoners. Yes, the USA, a former colony, mostly of Great Britain, claimed, when she came into her kingdom, that she would rule differently.

worldhistory.biz says that the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty of 1850 “was an agreement between the United States and England to cooperate in the construction of any canal through Central America to link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.” The treaty “committed both [USA and England] to the neutrality of any canal [in Central America] and to policies of founding no new colonies and building no new fortifications in Central America.”

The story here is that in the 1800’s both of these countries jostled for power in our region. At the time both of them thought that Nicaragua was the best place to put through the canal. worldhistory.biz says: “From their colony in British Honduras (Belize), the British asserted a protectorate over the Mosquito Coast (the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua), the most likely Atlantic starting point for a canal. Later, in 1849, they also temporarily occupied Tigre Island near the most likely Pacific terminus for a canal through Nicaragua.”

Meanwhile, the Americans had gone on ahead and negotiated with Colombia for control of Panama, which was a province of Colombia at the time. Interestingly, the Americans, who professed no interest in owning any colonies, got a favorable arrangement to help separate the province of Panama from Colombia.

The US-England partnership had some difficulties. worldhistory.biz says the US got upset when Britain “refused to surrender its protectorate over the Mosquito Coast” (the Americans felt this was part of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty), and when the British made some islands in the Bay of Honduras into a colony in 1852. And the British got upset when the American president recognized a government set up in Nicaragua in 1856 by an American citizen named William Walker.

Things smoothed over after the British gave up the Mosquito Coast and the Bay Islands (1859 and 1860), and Walker’s government fell in 1857.

I found these comments on the net about American behavior re colonies interesting. Dan Holliday says that “by the time the US was a “global player” the colonizable lands were all gobbled up by someone else. The US, however, being highly self-sufficient at home simply never needed those lands.”

We recall that the US had bought land from the French (Louisiana), from Russia (Alaska), made a deal with Spain (Florida), and acquired land from Mexico (Texas, California, and parts of Colorado, Arizona and some other states in that area).

Thomas Venema observed that unlike the British, the Americans “did a great job at homogenizing the areas they conquered…When the US acquired new territories…large numbers of American settlers quickly poured into the area, quickly outnumbering preexisting populations (whether those were Indian, Creole, Hawaiian or Hispanic).”

Allan Masri says that “Britain’s colonies were commercial ventures. By contrast, none of America’s colonies were commercial ventures.” Masri, who describes himself as a student of history, says that the British had four types of colonies.

One is the “company colony”, where “the English gave colonists the right to settle in places in return for money and trading rights.” He says the USA established no such colony.

Two, he calls the “prison colony,” which were established in Australia and South Carolina. He says the US had no such colony.

Three is the “proxy colony”, which is what he says the British had in India. He says that in this type of colony the British “supported a number of local rulers in return for the right to exploit the country’s natural resources and cheap labor.” Masri says the US had such colonies “in Vietnam, Cuba, the Philippines, and elsewhere.”

The fourth is the “Crown colony”…”where the government of England ruled the people under English laws with no representative government.” He says the US had no such territories.

Yes, we know what the US did. The US had no Crown colonies or prison colonies. US rule was “proxy colony”, under a friendly dictator.

The US has a couple simple rules to keep everyone in its hemisphere in check, and in service to the American government. Those rules are: there shall only be capitalist-type governments and you will not dissuade Americans from doing business in your country. It is a brilliant plot because America is by far the richest country in the hemisphere. When governments in the region try to bring local capital together, the USA screams “communist”, and installs a dictator, or a dictator-type leader.

Dictators and dictator-types are haraz for their people, but the Americans are not without sympathy for the masses that are trampled. There are various aid packages, health and education support, and sports and movie heroes.

The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 is a tool the US uses to serve its de facto colonial master status in our hemisphere. newworldencyclopedia.org says critics allege that “in practice, the Monroe Doctrine has functioned as a declaration of hegemony and a right of unilateral intervention over the Western Hemisphere. They point to 79 United States military interventions in Latin America and Haiti since 1846.”

The new world encyclopedia says the doctrine “proclaimed that European powers would no longer colonize or interfere with the affairs of the newly independent nations of the Americas … The three main concepts of the doctrine—separate spheres of influence for the Americas and Europe, non-colonization, and non-intervention—were designed to signify a clear break between the Americas and the autocratic realm of Europe.”

The encyclopedia says that, “While Americans generally objected to European colonies in the Americas, they also desired to increase United States influence and trading ties throughout the region to their south. European mercantilism posed the greatest obstacle to economic expansion.”

By the power of their sword the USA’s government decided that we belonged to them. But they would allow us some rope to play at nationhood as long as we behaved ourselves. For little countries like Belize, we get the sense. However, it can be difficult at times.

In the 1900’s, behaving ourselves meant that we allowed American businesses to literally run our countries. In those days those of us who weren’t under British rule were called “banana republics.” In those days, Cuba was an American playground.

South of us, in South America, there are some big countries (one in particular) that aren’t that comfortable being dictated to by the USA. In some of those countries, leaders have come to the fore who demand respect, and the right to choose the economic system that they feel best serves the stomachs, the education, and the health of their people.

The American people voted recently for a game plan to “make America (financially) great again.” Apparently, despite their incredible per capita incomes, there are people in the USA who are not experiencing their dream. The Americans could afford to be magnanimous, live and let live. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be in their DNA. They like to stomp around.

Make America great again is at odds with economic systems that serve the stomachs, the education, and the health of other people in the hemisphere. For America to do what it wants to do, her companies and other businesses in the region have to maintain or increase the exploitation.

If the USA is serious about taking care of the people in their country who aren’t getting enough pie, all they have to do is copy a little from those countries in the hemisphere that are about a system that best serves the stomachs, the education, and the health of their people. That, of course, would call for a behavioral change. Bah, they don’t seem to be savvy and mature enough to change their spots.

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Deshawn Swasey

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