Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain & American Empire
Why has the United States intervened so often in foreign lands? What are its origins? Having expanded its borders largely through its destruction of Indigenous peoples the U.S. went on to project its power globally. Today, its empire of bases rings the Earth. According to Monthly Review the U.S. “has at least eight hundred military bases located in eighty-five countries.” Historically, military interventions and invasions have been a bi-partisan affair. Republicans and Democrats will only question tactics. It wasn’t always that way. There was a period in U.S. history when there was a fierce debate about Washington’s use of force around the world. It centered on two factions, one led by Theodore Roosevelt and the other by none other than Mark Twain. The themes and debates of the past resonate today. The names change but policy is fairly constant.
Stephen Kinzer was a New York Times correspondent and bureau chief in Nicaragua, Germany and Turkey. He teaches at Brown University. He is the author of many books including Overthrow, All the Shah’s Men, The Brothers and Poisoner in Chief: Sydney Gottlieb & the CIA Search for Mind Control.