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By Gert Oostindie, Inge Klinkers

Oostindie and Klinkers upload intensity to the examine of post-World battle II Caribbean decolonization with their comparative research of the previous Dutch colonies of Surinam, the Netherlands Antilles, and Aruba. Their designated research of Dutch decolonization rules of the Forties hide such matters because the political methods of decolonization, improvement relief, the Dutch Caribbean exodus to the city, and cultural antagonisms. placing those matters inside of a bigger context, the authors skillfully distinction the decolonization means of Dutch Caribbean states with the present rules pursued within the non-sovereign Caribbean by way of France, the Netherlands, the uk, and the USA.

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9 The American dilemma of opting between a pro-independence stance and national interest had been clear in this case, and would become ever more conspicuous during the Cold War, when the United States deployed massive military power and actually fought fully-fledged wars in Asian countries after the European colonisers withdrew. The American dilemma was also becoming apparent within its own empire: while sovereignty was transferred to the Philippines in 1946, there was no inclination to give up the strategically more important territory of Puerto Rico.

Both new acquisitions were deemed of strategic value – it is telling that during the first decades of American rule the territories remained under Navy control. When in 1898 the federal government took Puerto Rico over from Spain, little local protest was voiced. A strong independence movement remained absent – in stark contrast to its culturally similar ‘sister island’ Cuba. Upon the acquisition of Puerto Rico, Congress faced a political choice: shortly before the Spanish-American war it had passed a law stating that should any new territories be acquired, they would eventually become federal states of the Union.

Central America was brought under an informal tutelage. Having established itself both in Latin America and in Asia, Washington considered the region of Panama to be of prime strategic importance. In 1903 heavy-handed diplomacy secured sovereignty over the intended canal zone. The jurisdiction of the United States over this zone would only be returned to Panama in 2000. 4 In order to support the independence wars in Latin America, but equally to underline its own hegemonic claim to the ‘New World’, in 1823 Washington launched the Monroe Doctrine under the slogan ‘America for the Americans’.

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