Realism in the Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War took place in 1898 between Spain and the United States and was primarily a fight over the control of Cuba. The Spanish saw all of its empire, as a gift from God and did not want to give up control of Cuba under that ideal.  The U.S. on the other hand did not have such a lofty motive. Initially the U.S. wanted to buy Cuba from Spain to help the sugar trade and because the revolutionary fighting that was taking place was hurting the U.S.’s economy. The U.S. claimed though that they simply wanted to help insure Cuban independence.

The self-interest of each country is what eventually led to a breakdown of diplomacy. Coming from an ideological stand point, Spain giving up Cuba was saying that they did not have God on their side. The United States though was just emerging into the national forum and this was their chance to become an imperial power. After the war started and progressed the initial demands of the U.S. turned into further demands such a port in the Philippines. With no overarching power to prevent them from starting the war, the U.S. simply decided to take what they wanted.

The United States still owns Guantanamo Bay to this day, even though the war was over a century ago. Giving up this land back to Cuba would show for the first time since that maybe the war was not just about the U.S.’s own self-interests. Cuba now wants this land back but would be hard pressed into convincing the U.S. to give it up. The desire for power has instead shifted from one between Spain and the U.S. to now between the U.S. and Cuba.

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5 thoughts on “Realism in the Spanish-American War

  1. Great blog. I like how you used the ideological interest to reason why Spain did not want to give up Cuba. Now the power struggle has defiantly changed , especially with the idea of the US giving up Guatananmo Bay. Hopefully , with the new relation the US is building with Cuba, the dispute over Guantanmo Bay will eventually be resolved.

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  2. This blog shows us the theory of realism as it plays out in the real world. It tells us how Spain didn’t want to give up Cuba to the U.S. The power has shifted away from Spain and now shows the U.S. at odds with Cuba over Guantanamo Bay. This shows us that as time changes that doesn’t mean that countries will change. The U.S. still is trying to gain power in the same place they were over 100 years ago.

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  3. It is very interesting that how changed their point of view on Cuba that first time, they had a kind of ideal that Cuba was a gift from God and then later, “Coming from an ideological stand point, Spain giving up Cuba was saying that they did not have God on their side.” The blog shows the theory of realism can even affect to religious beliefs because of the situation.

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  4. This is a great blog because it gets straight to the point. Though I doubt that the US will give up Guantanamo Bay, it would definitely show a change in character for our country. Everything Is about power these days and obviously control over land outside of our own country is power.

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  5. Guantanamo Bay is an unprecedented strategic location. How often can you actually own a peace of land of a country you’re an open rival with? Recent lifting of sanctions on Cuba could be a move in a direction where the U.S. will be more willing to give Cuba the bay, but any sort of large moves are still far off in the future.

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