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><snip from http://www.cato.org/pubs/fpbriefs/fpb-050es.html>
>According to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, terrorism is the most
>important threat the United States and the world face as the 21st century
>begins. High-level U.S. officials have  acknowledged that terrorists are now
>more likely to be able to obtain and use nuclear, chemical, and biological
>weapons than ever before. 
>In fact, the interventionist foreign policy currently pursued by the United
>States is an aberration in its history. Adopting a policy of military
>restraint would return the United States to the traditional foreign policy
>it pursued for the first century and a half of its existence before the Cold
>War distorted it. Such a foreign policy is more compatible with the
>individual freedoms and economic prosperity that define the American way of

While I agree with the need to discourage interventionist foreign policy,
and especially to keep the US from using terrorism as an excuse for further
erosions of civil liberties at home and as an excuse for maintaining
and finding new work for the increasingly-unnecessary standing army,
I have to disagree with the notion that US foreign policy was "restrained" 
for its first 150 years - it was just focused on "our" Western Hemisphere.

The first 40-50 years were primarily occupied with the British,
but also included the Louisiana Purchase and consolidation of control
and wars with the Indian Nations in that territory, plus the
"Monroe Doctrine" which said that the Western Hemisphere was the US's,
and no other colonialism could happen, though we weren't quite ready yet.

But after that, it was open season for the "Manifest Destiny" expansionists,
conquering Northern Mexico (with some Texan help), subjugating any Native 
tribes that the Mexicans hadn't done in, taking the rest of North America
between Canada and the now-smaller Mexico, including Washington and Oregon,
though they were restrained enough not to carry out "54 40' or Fight!".

During the middle of this period, there was that nasty little event,
the Reconquest of the Confederacy.  While the southern states had
seceeded primarily to protect slavery, and the US invasion was
largely driven by nationalists who wanted America to control as
much of North America as it could.

Then there was the Teddy Roosevelt conquest of Spanish Caribbean territory,
with the additional bonus of the Philipines,
and a century of intervention in places like Haiti and Nicaragua
(when did the Marines first go there?  1905?).  Much of US intervention
in Latin America was on behalf of fruit and sugar companies,
just as the conquest of the Kingdom of Hawai'i had been,
and it was only after WWII that they could blame it on Commies.

Bill Stewart, [email protected]
PGP Fingerprint D454 E202 CBC8 40BF  3C85 B884 0ABE 4639