The United States a carved from pieces of different cultures and geographical diversity to form a wondrous and unique country. Originally, colonialism was a way of the world to shape the sphere of influence that a country controlled. Spain had massive holdings in South America and Mexico, Florida and even the Florida Parishes of Louisiana. France and tiny Portugal held large land masses outside its’ own border while England ruled the seas and laid claim to India and the Trucial States of the Arabian Peninsula. America itself came from freeing itself from England, obtaining the southeast from Spain and taking California and the southwest from Mexico. Texas came to America via the republic formed following a revolution with Mexico and then requesting to join the United States. Of course the original colonialism performed by the United States was the seizing of land and then relocations of many Indian tribes that first laid claim to our great nation.
After our borders were finalized and locked in, America took a different stand. It wanted to remain a single self-sufficient country. We did not want to be involved in any other country’s business nor did we want to expand outside our own borders. From the early 1800s until the end of the 1800’s the word of the day was “lazier faire” meaning hands off. All this changed when America went to war against Spain and freed Cuba and the Philippines from Spanish rule. Cuba immediately obtained independence and the Philippines was returned to local rule in the 1940s.
America went to the rescue of Europe in World War I following an agonizing decision supported by the sinking of the cruise ship Lusitania by a German submarine. America arrived with the declaration, “Lafayette, we have arrived” in honor of French General Lafayette who had landed on American soil to help with the American Revolution. When America left Europe it had laid claim to only a small area of land. Twenty-five years later we again aided freedom loving countries regain or maintain its’ freedom with only a very small claim to any foreign soil. Saudi Arabia felt secure in the fact that American held no colonial expansion expectations and thus gave American countries the concession to drill for oil instead of the British. Over the 20th century this was the feeling of the free world; America will be a friend but will not attempt to dictate to us. There were instances where America did get covertly involved with government changes if an established foreign government was not in the best interest of America. This no longer takes place and America is happy with playing the part of mentor to a world desiring freedom and democracy and moved away from forcing its’ doctrine on other countries.
Recently I heard a comment that America was only in the Middle East to steal the oil and leave. Many feel that we are only there to control their country. These words are what terrorist organizations love to hear when spoken about America. It is this rhetoric that breeds the contempt that groups such as ISIS and Al Quadra love. This dialogue fuels the hatred toward the Western countries that are used as public relations coupe for world-wide terrorism.
General Colin Powell was the head of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Operation Desert Storm. He was the first non-West Point graduate to hold the position and later became the Secretary of State. During a meeting in Europe the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England, asked Powell if soft power had been considered instead of the use of hard power as was witnessed during the war. Basically he was asking if negotiations and dialogue should have been used in place of guns and tanks and would American be looked upon as a country trying to obtain land for its’ own use. The following was the response provided by U.S General Collin Powel.
“There is nothing in American experience or in American political life or in our culture that suggests we want to use hard power. But what we have found over the decades is that unless you do have hard power — and here I think you’re referring to military power — then sometimes you are faced with situations that you can’t deal with.
I mean, it was not soft power that freed Europe. It was hard power. And what followed immediately after hard power? Did the United States ask for dominion over a single nation in Europe? No. Soft power came in the Marshall Plan. Soft power came with American GIs who put their weapons down once the war was over and helped all those nations rebuild. We did the same thing in Japan.
So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world. [Applause.]
We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace. But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works.”
God bless America and our American values.

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