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Imperial Cruise

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  • jmgallen@juno.com
    I have just started listening to a recording of Imperial Cruise by James Bradley. It talks a lot about TR s Far Eastern policy. Any thoughts about it? Jim
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 28, 2011

      I have just started listening to a recording of Imperial Cruise by James Bradley.  It talks a lot about TR's Far Eastern policy.  Any thoughts about it?

      Jim Gallen



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    • SimonATL
      Jim I have read the book, myself. While the book offers some interesting insights, it s stated theory that TR somehow approved the Japanese conquest and
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 29, 2011
        Jim
        I have read the book, myself. While the book offers some interesting insights, it's stated theory that TR somehow "approved" the Japanese conquest and colonization of Korea by what the author terms a "secret treaty" has been ridiculed up one side and down by professional historians. Brinkley is using the old Rhetorical "logical fallacy" the Romans called the "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" (After this therefore (mistakenly) because of this) i.e. Just because Event 2 happened after Event 1 does NOT necessarly mean that Event 1 caused Event 2. Such childish "YOU made me trip" arguments do not belong in historical analyses. It is SO popular for 21st Century writers to criticize 19th Century leaders by so-called "politically correct" moderns. Thus actions taken more than 100 years ago are seen as callous with a liberal anti-Imperialist and anti-colonial midset. It is true, also that liberals, in the 19th Century also actively opposed imperialistic actions by the US government. A mature historian whether professional or amatuer, (such as Bradely) considers the actions of key players within the context of THEIR times as opposed to subsequent eras. But, come on. - It WAS the age of colonial empires and leaders like Roosevelt felt that the US would also have to compete with European colonialists for influence. But much more importantly, as early as the 1880s, TR was looking at rising threats in the Pacific and elsewhere and thus for candidate outposts for our Navy in the Pacific, southern Cuba, (Gitmo), "Porto Rico" as well as Hawaii and the Phillipines. Events of WW-II would demonstrate the geo-political soundness of those outposts. Hawaiian Navy and Army bases projected US Power directly into the Central Pacific and literally kept the Japanese Imperial Naval and Army forces THOUSANDS of miles from our weakly defended West Coast. The REAL Imperial threats to World Peace both in the 19th Century AND 20th Century were those of Russia, Japan and Germany rather than either the US nor even Great Britain (which had been in decline since the exhaustive effects of WW-I.)

        All this anti-colonial and anti-imperial modern blather ignores the facts that the best defense is an offense and the best offense projects power (or defense) right at the point of the percieved threat. TR is to be praised for seeing the threat from Japan 75 years before most Americans. He did NOT "give away" Korea as it was not his to give. He did attempt to demonstrate to the Japanese by the Pacific Trip that the US was just as much a rising Pacific Power as were the Japanese, Russians and even the (eventually) emerging Chinese.

        After the trip (Event 1) happened, subsequent events (Events 2,3,xyz) happened but it superficial to claim that TR's trip and the visits of the American delegation to Japan resulted in a quid-pro-quo of the abandoment of Korea to Japan. Long before TR was US President, Japan had been establishing a trading presence on the Korean peninsula.

        Another point is that for the US president of 1900, international relations had more the elements of a hobby than an actual later 20th Century "power play" dynamics. The US was still a baby, geo-politically in the 1st decade of the 20th Century. Unlike Britain, the US did not have the means of projecting (SUSTAINING) geo-power arcross the World's Oceans. Additionally, both Congress and American people were decidely neutral in foreign affairs and the role of the US in the Phillipines, while undeniably harsh, was largely ignored by the American on the street. Condemnation of American colonial policies was in the hands of the Republican and big business' historic foes, liberal members of the Democratic party which also saw an historic opportunity to gain political advantage by carping on the outside (of Presidential/executive) power. Woodrow Wilson would also see fit to pay Columbia for the liberal perception of its "theft" from Columbia. All this was for political gain. Even while decrying American colonialism where it served Wilson's internationalist "liberal" views, he did nothing at all over both Southern race riots and linching as his undeniably (non-liberal) racist views about racial superiority did not have the same ring of authority as his parallel proclamations about the US taking advantage of the yellow (Asian) man and the (hispanic) brown man. My whole point is that we have to consider the context of the early 20th Century as opposed to the early 21st Century. Yes there were (in these more enlightened times) American and European policies that were clearly driven by imperial, colonial ambitions and racial bias - but that was THAT time - not OUR time. I don't make excuses for those early 20th Century leaders but I DO look at their actions in the context of those of both our allies as well as opponents. Japan was clearly a threat to US interests in the Pacific and even Germany had ambitions in the Carribean and South America. TR was NOT interested in American hegemony in any sphere outside of the Western Hemisphere. Elsewhere he was consistently interested in a "balance of power" between conflicting Asian and European interests. TR even used the US professed NON-interest in European affairs to act as an honest broker in German, French, British and Russian international affairs, but it was as a broker, not a enforcer. The US had NO way of enforcing anything in Europe and outside of the Phillipines which fell into the US' lap along with Cuba and "Porto Rico" the US had little to directly influence events in Asia either. The US would take 40 more years of Naval growth as well as the projection capabilities of carrier-based aviation to play a significant "real" role in Asia. That modern day China is developing offensive anti-carrier military might testifies to the success of that 20th Century American innovation - the aircraft carrier. The Japanese were successful in Asia militarily precisely because they too embraced a carrier-based naval capability.

        In summary, TR was a man of his times. He saw the rise of Japan and the (temporary) displacement of Russia (he saw violent socialistic revolution coming) and Great Britain and saw an American place in preserving the balance of power. Well ahead of his times, he welcomed naval aviation and saw it as it as an integral component in the projection of American power into the Pacific. He saw the place of Hawaii in offsetting Japanese imperial ambitions in Asia, saw the US presence in the Phillipines as both an plus to the development of the Phillipines domestically as well as the US presence as another offset to Imperial Japanese ambitions. TR saw ALL of this 2 generations before the American public even began to grasp what was happening. No - he did NOT give away Korea - it was NOT his to give. Japan did take the US position as non-interventionist both in Korea as well as in China. The US had neither a valid interest in either place nor a means of projecting power in either area while both China, Manchuria and Korea were in Japan's "back yard." Take all of these early 20th Century events with the context of THEIR time - NOT ours!





        --- In tr-m@yahoogroups.com, "jmgallen@..." <JMGallen@...> wrote:
        >
        > I have just started listening to a recording of Imperial Cruise by James Bradley. It talks a lot about TR's Far Eastern policy. Any thoughts about it?
        > Jim Gallen
        > ____________________________________________________________
        > 1 Simple Form: Up to 4 Offers!
        > Refi to low APR before rates rise. $200,000 for $857/mo. No SSN required.
        > http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3131/4d438f1367b2c9493aast05vuc
        >
      • John
        Jim, Three things of note. The current issue of the TRA Journal has an article written by Tweed Roosevelt entitled, Really, Really Bad Books and details
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 30, 2011
          Jim,
          Three things of note.
          The current issue of the TRA Journal has an article written by Tweed Roosevelt entitled, "Really, Really Bad Books" and details problems with the Imperial Cruise which are typically found in other poor historical books.
          Secondly, the very next issue of the TRA Journal (the TRA got a little behind because this upcoming issue is the fall 2010 issue) will be an extensive review of the book by TRA Journal editor, William Tilchin. Clearly, it will be a very critical review.
          Thirdly, you will notice that throughout the book, Bradley is constantly putting down Theodore Roosevelt and never says anything positive about him. Virtually every fan of Roosevelt's knows that he despised being called "Teddy" and no serious author ever refers to him this way. Yet, Bradley constantly refers to Theodore Roosevelt by this nickname.
          Hope this helps.
          I will say that this book gave me a lot to think about especially how the U.S. acted in the Philippines. It was really, really bad and there was a lot of critics of the U.S. military's actions at the time. I found it disturbing to read in the book "Correspondence of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge" (not exact title) that TR writes to Lodge stating something along the lines of, "I am glad the issue of the Philippines is in your capable hands." There was clearly a great deal of covering up of the worst atrocities by pro-imperialist senators. Of course, this is my own opinion.

          All the best,
          John Olsen
          All the best,
          John Ol

          --- In tr-m@yahoogroups.com, "jmgallen@..." <JMGallen@...> wrote:
          >
          > I have just started listening to a recording of Imperial Cruise by James Bradley. It talks a lot about TR's Far Eastern policy. Any thoughts about it?
          > Jim Gallen
          > ____________________________________________________________
          > 1 Simple Form: Up to 4 Offers!
          > Refi to low APR before rates rise. $200,000 for $857/mo. No SSN required.
          > http://thirdpartyoffers.juno.com/TGL3131/4d438f1367b2c9493aast05vuc
          >
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