As long as foreign policy is the topic of the day here on IST…..a little history to close out my posts.
My readers know that I truly enjoy our history, well all history….and today is the day that our most begotten war was started….the year was 1812, 18 June to be exact.
I have taught American foreign policy from pre-revolution until today and this war was one that was a bad idea.
But check it out for yourself….
The 210th anniversary of America’s declaration of the War of 1812 against Great Britain, which falls on June 18, will not inspire much in the way of celebration or commemoration. It had, at most, a minor impact on American and world history. Yet that distant conflict is worth remembering, if only as a cautionary example: it stands as the most misbegotten war the United States has ever fought.
It was an offshoot of the great conflict between Great Britain and France that grew out of the French Revolution of 1789 and ended with the defeat of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In what came to be known as the Napoleonic Wars, Britain sought to use its maritime supremacy to stop other countries’ trade with France. The United States declared itself neutral and claimed the commercial rights that international law accorded to countries with that status during wartime. This led to a conflict with Great Britain over just what those neutral trading rights were. The Americans embraced an expansive definition, which afforded wide latitude for profitable trade. The British insisted on more restrictive terms and began seizing and searching American ships in the Caribbean and confiscating cargo that they regarded as contraband. President George Washington sent the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay to London to negotiate with the British government on the issue, where he reached a compromise agreement. In 1795 the Congress reluctantly ratified what became known as Jay’s Treaty.
The US has had many misbegotten wars but 1812 was our very first one.
I do hope my reader has learned a wee bit about our history to better understand today’s world.
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”
2 thoughts on “A Lesson In Bad Foreign Policy”
I don’t think any western power had a reliable foreign policy, ever. It was either colonialism enforced by military might, land-grabbing from indigenous peoples, or late reaction to a situation they didn’t see coming.
Best wishes, Pete.
Pretty much true. chuq