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Trapped By Empire

In 1898, the Treaty of Paris ended the Spanish-American War and transferred Guam and the Philippines to the U.S. empire. In the Second World War, the United States focused on the Pacific not just as a theater of war but also as an avenue to reclaim colonial territories. In the early Cold War, the Pacific had fleeting importance to policymakers as a site for nuclear testing. And during the Vietnam War, the United States used its Pacific territories—in particular Guam—to stage large-scale bombing and counterinsurgency campaigns across Southeast Asia. As America’s rivalry with China has accelerated in recent years, U.S. moves in East Asia tend to draw the most attention—including expanded military base access in the Philippines just announced this February.
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