Saturday, December 15, 2007

One Hundred Years of Imperial Bluster

I came across this column: One Hundred Years of Imperial Bluster on The Huffington Post yesterday. If you didn't know (which I didn't), Sunday was the 100th anniversary of the departure of the Great White Fleet from Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The brainchild of President Teddy Roosevelt, the 16 warships of the fleet would spend 14 months circling the globe. It was one of America's first forays onto the world stage, and was a signal that the United States was to be considered a world power.

The column is an interesting view of a forgotten piece of American history, and shows how much the world has changed in just 100 years. For instance the Sacramento Union newspaper feared that the fleet would be wrecked sailing through the Magellan Straits at the tip of South America and its sailors would be "eaten by cannibals."

The column also shows the contradiction often found in the projection of American power - warships sailing on what was dubbed a "peace mission." It is a contradiction still found in foreign policy today.
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