Name Instructor Course Date Critical Book Review for “The Tragedy of American Diplomacy” In this 1959 classic work, famous historian William Appleman Williams argued that, despite having good intentions, the American foreign policy was biased in that it assumed that the country’s citizens and their democracy would provide all the answers…
For Williams, almost every American believes their domestic prosperity largely depends on not only sustained but also an Ever-increasing economic expansion overseas. Therefore, he suggested that the only way out for the US was to consider some kind of “open door” especially for revolutions (Williams 1-5). He argued that American diplomacy had its basis on three distinct premises that had not changed and as such, had maintained some kind of validity as well as relevance. The first premise was that America had the humanitarian spirit to assist the troubled nations solve their predicaments. Secondly, America strongly encouraged self-determination. As such, America saw every society as one with a right to have its independent goals as well as well as objectives: the goals and objectives of which every nation would achieve through those mechanisms they think were best fit and most appropriate for them. However, the third premise is somehow a suspect; it believes that other nations cannot solve their own problems unless they adopt that formula employed by Americans. Williams argues that despite the good intentions of the first two premises, the third premise not only dirties the American intentions in international relations but also openly expresses the hidden American arrogance (Williams 15-27). Williams strongly disagrees with the argument that America’s global power was a result of accidental movement of events. He attributes it to market forces that emerged as a result of “private free enterprise economy.” It is this trend, he argues, that has also dictated America’s foreign policy. And on the Cold War, William sees the Truman administration as fully accountable for the emergence of the “iron curtain” in Eastern Europe. He argues that the US used its economic powers, immediately after the war, to spread its “open-door policy” to Eastern Europe. In addition, the president, in an attempt to control the atomic monopoly, attempted to change the order of politics in areas controlled by the Soviet Union. Williams emphasizes the big role played by market forces in shaping the American destiny (Williams 57-63). To illustrate his arguments on the strengths and weaknesses of the diplomacy, Williams gives a good example of their relationship with Cuba. Americans were the first to point the kind of progress Cuba realized in their relationship with America, as an American protectorate and not a colony of Spain. For instance, there was modernization as well as improved sugar production. It also provided one of the best opportunities for representative governance. However, despite the evident advantages, America seemed to benefit more. America ruled over the island’s economic life since it fully controlled the sugar industry, and to maintain the status quo, America frustrated any attempts by Cuba to appropriately modify its “one-crop economy.” According to Williams, this is the main factor that made the Cubans to resort to revolution (Williams 106-108). Therefore, for Williams, the US exercised some form of dominance over Cuba, and this it did not only very vigorously almost incessantly. The US’s power over Cuba stood was a clear indication America’s ideals of power were not upheld. America hardly encouraged self-determination on the part of Cuba, and the same time intentionally failed in ...
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