A Lesson in History – America’s War on the Caribbean

Go Lean Commentary
War on Caribbean 1

“Never kill yourself for someone who is willing to watch you die” – Inspired Expression.

The United States of America fought an actual war, for 10 weeks, in the Caribbean theater in 1898. This was the war against the Spanish Empire, or more commonly known as the Spanish American War.

This is a lesson from an actual history:

These events transpired during the decline of the Spanish Empire. After centuries of vast colonial expansion, at this point, only a few of its vast territories remained. Revolts against Spanish rule had occurred for some years, in the Caribbean territories (Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), especially in Cuba. There had been war scares before. But in the late 1890s, American public opinion became agitated by an anti-Spanish propaganda; led by influential journalists such as Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, who used yellow journalism to criticize Spanish administration of Cuba.

Then there was the mysterious sinking of the American battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898, which was believed to be and reported as a sabotage attack by Spanish forces. This created political pressure, from Congress and certain industrialists, to push the administration of Republican President William McKinley into a war he had hoped to avoid.[a]

The US Constitution (Article 1 Section 8) forbids that the country can NOT go to war unless provoked. With the sinking of the USS Maine, the government had its constitutional provocation.

Compromise was sought by Spain, but rejected by the United States which sent an ultimatum to Spain demanding it surrender control of Cuba. Consequently war was formally declared, first by Madrid, then by Washington on April 25, 1898.[a]

The ten-week war was fought in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, but the main issue that emerged was that of Cuban independence. American naval power proved decisive, allowing US expeditionary forces to disembark in Cuba against a Spanish garrison already brought to its knees by nationwide Cuban insurgent attacks and further wasted by yellow fever. With two obsolete Spanish squadrons sunk in Santiago de Cuba and Manila Bay and a third, more modern fleet recalled home to protect Spain’s coasts, Madrid sued for peace.[b] As a result, today, Cuba and the Dominican Republic enjoy independence, and Puerto Rico is an American territory, by choice – after many public referendums on the question of independence.

What was the motivation for this war?

Earlier, in 1823, US President James Monroe enunciated the Monroe Doctrine, which stated that the United States would not tolerate further efforts by European governments to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas; however, Spain’s colony in Cuba was exempted. Before the Civil War Southern interests attempted to have the US purchase Cuba and make it new slave territory. The proposal failed, and subsequently the national attention shifted to the build-up towards the Civil War.[c]

But the “dye had been cast”. Cuba attracted America’s attention; little note was made of the Philippines, Guam, or Puerto Rico. The Spanish Government regarded Cuba as a province of Spain rather than a colony, and depended on it for prestige and trade. It would only be extracted with a war.

In 1976, the US Navy’s own historian (Admiral Hyman G. Rickover’s published book How the Battleship Maine Was Destroyed) declared that the sinking of the USS Maine — the justification for America’s entry into the Spanish-American War — was probably caused by an internal explosion of coal, rather than an attack by Spanish forces.[d]
Sources: See Citations in the Appendix below.

What is the lesson here for the Caribbean and today’s effort to integrate and unify the Caribbean economy? First, there are these principles, that should not be ignored, if we truly want progress/success:

  • In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: “The first casualty when war comes is truth”.
  • “War is a racket” – Smedley Butler, one of the most highly-decorated military men of all time, and the man who prevented a coup against Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • The Bible declares that: “For there is nothing hidden that will not become manifest” – Luke 8:17

War on Caribbean 2There will be no chance for success in the Caribbean region if this effort goes against American security/foreign policy interest. This is a consistent theme in the book Go Lean … Caribbean, it serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU); it asserts that the economy of the Caribbean is inextricably linked to the security of the Caribbean. The roadmap therefore proposes an accompanying Security Pact to accompany the CU treaty’s economic empowerment efforts. The plan is to cooperate, collaborate and confer with American counterparts, not oppose them. In fact, two American territories (Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands) are included in this CU roadmap.

To establish a better American-Caribbean partnership, the Go Lean book presents a series of community ethos that must be adapted to forge this change. In addition, there are these specific strategies, tactics, implementation and advocacies to apply:

Community Ethos – new Economic Principles Page 21
Community Ethos – new Security Principles Page 22
Community Ethos – Minority Equalization Page 24
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Manage Reconciliations Page 25
Community Ethos – Impacting the Greater Good Page 34
Strategy – Customers – Public and Governments Page 47
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Homeland Security – Naval Operations Page 75
Tactical – Homeland Security – Militias Page 75
Implementation – Assemble – US Overseas Territory Page 96
Implementation – Foreign Policy Initiatives at Start-up Page 102
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Improve Mail Service Page 108
Implementation – Trade Mission Objectives Page 116
Implementation – Ways to Promote Independence Page 120
Planning – Ways to Model the EU Page 130
Planning – Lessons Learned from the W.I. Federation Page 135
Planning – Lessons from the US Constitution Page 145
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security Page 180
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Intelligence Gathering Page 182
Advocacy – Ways to Enhance Tourism Page 190
Advocacy – Ways to Market Southern California Page 194
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Re-boot Cuba Page 236
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Dominican Republic Page 237
Advocacy – Ways to Impact US Territories Page 244

After this consideration, the conclusions are straight forward:

  • The Caribbean should take the lead for our best self-determination. We must do the heavy-lifting. We can always count on America to pursue what’s in America’s best interest, and this may not always align with Caribbean objectives. So we must take our own lead for our own self-interest.
  • American priorities change with presidential administrations.

Now is the time to lean-in to this roadmap for Caribbean change, as depicted in the book Go Lean…Caribbean. At this time, there is no American agenda or contrarian policy that may dissuade us – but that’s only today. We need to act fast before a new American crisis emerges, (or one is created artificially).

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix References

a. Beede, Benjamin R., ed. (1994), The War of 1898 and U.S. Interventions, 1898–1934, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 978-0-8240-5624-7. An encyclopedia. Pages 120; 148.

b. Dyal, Donald H; Carpenter, Brian B.; Thomas, Mark A. (1996), Historical Dictionary of the Spanish American War, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-28852-6. Pages 108 – 109.

c. Wikipedia treatment on the Spanish American Way. Retrieved May 5, 2014 from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_American_War

d. “The Destruction of USS Maine”. Department of the Navy — Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved May 5, 2014 from: http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq71-1.htm

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