U.S. Admiral discusses imperialism and Iraq
By Dan Perry
Former Chairman of the United States' Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., spoke to a large audience yesterday in what was the final chapter of this year's installment of the Joanne Goodman lectures.
Yesterday's installment, The American Roots of Expansion, summed up the series, which began Tuesday with American Foreign Policy and Iraq and featured American Domestic Policy and Iraq on Wednesday.
Crowe examined American foreign involvement over the last 100 years, including the Spanish-American War and the subsequent Treaty of Paris, the Cold War and the recent involvement in Iraq. "There are many Americans who like to pretend they have no imperialist past," he said, but made sure to point out the Revolutionary War was an example of a colonial war.
Crowe also stressed the influence of Benjamin Franklin on American expansion policies, recounting the story of the "first American to have an international reputation." Crowe told of how Franklin was the representative of Pennsylvania in Britain for nearly a decade and returned bitter, convinced the schism between Britain and the colonies could never be bridged.
"I suspect Franklin would be appalled at what our government is doing in Iraq, but some of our other [historically] great men would applaud it," Crowe said, and qualified it by tracing the expansion of America. The Admiral made reference to the difference between Canadian and American responses to the intervention in Iraq, drawing frequent laughter from the crowd.
After going through the 20th century's developments, particularly the founding of the League of Nations and the prolonged Cold War, Crowe explained the situation in Iraq, but perhaps not to the level some students expected.
"I thought it was good; he skirted around the questions at the end, but it was an interesting lecture," said third-year economics student Jordan Fletcher.
"[Crowe] made some good points on U.S. foreign policy [and] it was a honour to have him here," added Dave Vu, a fourth-year political science student.
One of the more entertaining moments for the crowd was Crowe's response to one student's question regarding the effects of "covert" American foreign policy. "The American government is not that smart," he said. "My country could not have a conspiracy."