In chapter 12 Zinn discusses American involvement in the affairs of other nations. He states that from 1798-1895, the US armed forces partook in 103 separate interventions in different nations. Furthermore, he describes the beginnings of the US involvement in Cuba and the Spanish-Cuban-American War. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that the US was pushing to enter into Cuba and fight the Spanish. We are a bloodthirsty nation, always waiting for the perfect time to act and our past of frequent interventions in other nations, reiterates this point. Zinn also points out that the US had many plans for Cuba, none of which included independence. Go figure! Another disappointment, but not a surprise. This stemmed from the institutionalized discrimination at time; racism against people who were in white. Zinn writes, “Roosevelt was very contemptuous of races and nations he considered inferior” (300). The president at the time was known to be racist, and this drove him to engage with the Spanish in Cuba to ensure that it would not become a “black” territory.
The additional reading touches on the idea that countries will do whatever it takes to benefit themselves, even in the smallest of ways. It also explains the idea of American Exceptionalism, something I feel we have all learned growing up. I find this “exceptionalism” to be similar to the “American Dream,” an idealized version of the United States, something the people needed to believe in. However, this is not the case at all, as American Exceptionalism, is all but a dream. The author of the article counters, the only way to actually achieve this sort of ideal exceptionalism is to view America from a different perspective, understanding that it is not the best at everything. It is only then that we can achieve exceptionalism as a nation. I then ask, in what scenario is nationalism too much as to become somewhat of a myth? Is nationalism another made up ideal to promote the interests of one country through the somewhat fake unity of people?