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The Tragedy Of American Diplomacy

Decent Essays
Well-known professor of American history, William Appleman Williams, crafts The Tragedy of American Diplomacy to illustrate that there is more to history than what meets the eye – more than what most Americans have been taught. He argues that there is a tragic past when the history of American diplomacy is analyzed. Throughout crucial periods of time in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Williams explores and analyzes instances in which American diplomacy was challenged, policy was deficient, actions were hypocritical and the structure of the system proven inconsistent. Preface to Specific Content Williams demonstrates his cognizance, and skills as a writer, as this book is a well-written piece of literature, touching upon historical…show more content…
Over and over again, Williams illustrates this theme of “American Exceptionalism.” Throughout the book, there are several occurrences in which the “We are the best, and all that we are doing is of benefit to the world” mentality is shown. On one hand, there is nothing wrong with being proud of roots as an American and believing that America is the greatest country, but on the other hand, using this thought process in in order to legitimize the domination and control of other nations unlike America while preaching one set of values and acting on others, is wrong. We see these actions play out time and time again as America invades and controls other countries “to help” them, however, prohibits the country from experiencing the full advantages of self-determination – a value that America claims to hold i.e. a tragedy of American Diplomacy. The Spanish-American War in 1898 was a point where American’s demonstrated their power and true colors. America wanted to free the Cubans from Spain, but it was not purely out of the interest of the Cubans. America was in it for the Philippines. Spain had control of the Philippines, and the Philippines were located in close proximity to China. The issue here was that the Philippines was not interested in having the U.S. around and rebelled against the American forces (47) .The U.S. wanted to capitalize on the economic struggles in China and the Philippines was
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