This country grew, developed and expanded westward in the 19th century. California and the southwestern states were acquired from Mexico by treaty not by conquest. That is, American settlers moved into these territories, taking control by their industrious economic activity and local governing bodies.
The first colonial acquisitions happened on account of the Spanish-American War around 1899, namely, The Philippines and Puerto Rico. The Philippine Islands were granted independence after the Second World War. Puerto Rico, which surprisingly never revolted from Spain, has been granted commonwealth status at its own request. These people desired modest ties to the United States for economic reasons, but wished to retain their Spanish identity.
Frank Marshall Davis, an ardent collectivist, a one-time communist and early mentor of President Obama, considered the British and Winston Churchill to be arch-imperialists. He thought that after World War II an alliance was formed between England and the United States. Thus the colonialism of Great Britain was aided by the wealth and power of the United States. The anti-colonialism of Davis and others became a very deep conviction of this president.
Dinesh D’Souza develops the theme of Obama’s radical mentors and his deeply held anti-colonialist convictions in his book “Obama’s America.”
It is to be noted that in the first months of his presidency Obama refused to allow Gordon Brown, the prime minister of Great Britain, to visit him and others in the high echelons of the American government. Although leader of the Labour Party, Brown always favored close ties with the United States, like his predecessor Tony Blair. This slap in the face of America’s closest has been downplayed for the sake of maintaining friendly relations between the two nations.
Barack Obama allowed David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, to visit him and leaders of the American government, probably not wanting to antagonize two prime ministers one after another before his re-election bid in 2012.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s pastor for twenty years, frequently expressed his anti-American and anti-colonialist views in his sermons. He believed fervently that America is a colonialist nation, but he is wrong in his thinking, because the United States has not gained control or occupied other nations at least since the Spanish-American War. It has loaned or given billions of dollars to former colonies of Western Europe. The Marshall Plan does not fit this view, but it was a great help to the nations of Western Europe, devastated by World War II. One thinks Obama could not have listened to Wright’s sermons for 20 years without sharing his anti-colonialist convictions.
America’s role as a great power, anyway, should not be considered colonialist but neocolonialist.
The writer lives in Pawleys Island.