? asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 1 decade ago

Is American foreign policy today more like China and Spain in the fifteenth century?

I have to write an essay on that subject, and I need to find some articles and/or books to compare the two.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In the fifteenth century, both Spain and China had naval exploration and empire-building programs.

    China's program of naval exploration, trade and possible attempts to expand their tributary system (their way of establishing an empire) happened under the admiral Zheng He, whose treasure fleet sailed as far west as East Africa and settled many Muslim Chinese in what is now Malacca in the country of Malaysia. Between 1405 and 1433, the Ming Empire sponsored a series of seven naval expeditions. While Zheng He did not seek to extend the Ming Empire by means of force, he used force effectively to clean up piracy where he sailed, and did not hesitate to use force to deter attacks on his vast treasure fleet (between 200 and 317 treasure ships, containing almost 28,000 crewmen). He also seems to have pursued a land war against the Kotte Kingdom in what is now Sri Lanka.

    Like the American space program, Zheng He's expeditions were subject to being discontinued when emperors changed. The Yongle Emperor paid for the first six expeditions of Zheng He, the next (Hongxi) emperor apparently decided the expeditions were not cost-effective (like the US lunar exploration program), then in 1430, after another change of emperors (the Xuande), one final expedition which lasted three years was launched, during which Zheng He died and was buried at sea.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zheng_He has a list of references at the end of the article.

    Virtually the entire Spanish Empire was built up beginning in 1492, after Columbus' voyage across the Atlantic to find China and India, which instead located the Western Hemisphere. Amerigo Vespucci explored the coast of South America for Spain after Columbus, while Portugal made voyages ranging from parts of China (Macao) to Brazil.


    Current American foreign policy is much closer to China's than Spain's in the fifteenth century.

    Spanish foreign policy (Spain was only united during the 15th century under Ferdinand II and Isabella of Aragon) was initially to find an alternate trade route to the Indies after Constantinople fell to the Turks and European travel through the Near East was closed off. Portugal was more effective in finding these trade routes than Spain was to be. Spain, instead of finding the desired trade routes to China and India, found an entirely new world.

    Spanish policy toward the peoples of the Americas was to turn rapacious and deadly in the Western Hemisphere not long after Columbus (although, admittedly, that mostly happened in the 16th century, not the 15th). It does not resemble American foreign policy today at all.

    Chinese foreign policy in the 15th century, while forceful on occasion, was much less exploitative and more oriented toward putting down piracy and defending the Chinese right to explore and trade in the areas they visited. It much more closely resembles American foreign policy both in its limited imperial scope and its general benevolence when not attacked.

    Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15th_century (see references)
  • 5 years ago

    In Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa the US has been perceived as an imperialist country for over a century. The US has invaded and occupied hundreds of countries, deposed (or worse) presidents and leaders. You may google 'US invasions to other countries" or something similar for a detailed list.

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