This book seeks to examine the reasons and ask the hard questions to determine why the British state was unable to pour oil on troubled Irish waters and put Home Rule to bed and how that inability was left to fester. It examines in detail the relationships which existed between the arms of the British administration in Ireland and how the complexity of those bonds led sometimes to an animosity of sorts being fostered until it began to affect operational aspects of the British security apparatus in Ireland.'
The operations and actions of British Army, the Royal Irish Constabulary, their mercenary Auxiliary security forces and the Bristish Government of the day are all probed and examined in this book. Why were the British, with massive imperial holdings and a modern and well equipped armed forces, unable to suppress an infant insurgency, numerically inferior and ill equipped less than four hundred miles from Whitehall? Why was the shining light of British colonial policing, the Royal Irish Constabulary subjected to stagnation and rot from within for over fifty years? Why instead of reforming the existing police in place in Ireland mercenary forces, with little official oversight, were introduced into Ireland in an effort to quell the rising trouble?
How should the United States act in the world? Americans cannot decide. Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat—until the cycle begins again.
No matter how often we debate this question, none of what we say is original. Every argument is a pale shadow of the first and greatest debate, which erupted more than a century ago. Its themes resurface every time Americans argue whether to intervene in a foreign country.
Revealing a piece of forgotten history, Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the twentieth century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. That prospect thrilled some Americans. It horrified others. Their debate gripped the nation.
The country’s best-known political and intellectual leaders took sides. Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Randolph Hearst pushed for imperial expansion; Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, and Andrew Carnegie preached restraint. Only once before—in the period when the United States was founded—have so many brilliant Americans so eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity.
All Americans, regardless of political perspective, can take inspiration from the titans who faced off in this epic confrontation. Their words are amazingly current. Every argument over America’s role in the world grows from this one. It all starts here.