There is a reason that Thomas Paine is honored as a “Citizen of the World”. Paine sailed to America in 1774 as a young man with his belief of establishing a new order free from Monarchy and treacherous world politics. Common Sense offered Americans a clear argument for independence from Britain. Paine argued that America's attachment to Britain alone endangered its security. This thought logically followed from Britain's role in European politics causing heavy burden of taxation, alliances, and perennial wars demanded of Britain because of her continental involvement. This British connection tended "to involve this Continent (America) in European wars and quarrels, and set us at variance with nations who would otherwise seek our friendship, and against whom we have neither anger nor complaint….. Our plan is commerce, and that, well attended to, will secure us the peace and friendship of Europe; because it is the interest of all Europe to have America a free port." Paine predicted that France and Spain, both New World powers, would never be "our enemies as Americans, but as our being subjects of Great Britain. … " American independence would mean rejecting the British Empire and the European power politics and the U.S. would have no cause to defy other countries with demanding foreign policies. Americans achieved independence and then were convinced that the oceans assured the country's security without the Constitution's power to initiate war.
The 240 years of nation building and development has changed the world scene and the U.S. The Monroe Doctrine may have some influence on the early American foreign policy; it had little impact on imperialism and militarism prevailing in the continental Europe and elsewhere. World War I (1914-1920) is the evidence of that. Fortunately, the U.S. entered the WW I only half way (1917) after Germany violated its ‘Sussex Pledge’ – not attacking passenger ships. President Woodrow Wilson was reluctant to enter WW I even after ‘Sussex pledge violation’ and ‘Zimmerman Telegram Evidence’ – Germany urging Mexico to attack the U.S. to recover territory ceded to the U.S. Wilson declared the war with the objective, “to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world.” And he had a peace plan to establish a new order that led to the idea of League of Nations. WW I ended but the Imperialism and militarism did not. The U.S. did not ratify the ’Treaty of Versailles’ because the US Senate opposed to joining the League of Nations and ceding war powers of the U.S. to the League’s Council. WW I had a significant impact on Russia promoting her ‘Bolshevik Revolution’ into a new imperialistic nation. Japan’s engagement into WWI and her extended occupation of Northern China and into Russia sowed the seed of her imperialistic ambition leading to WWII.
Indeed, despite of the above noble objective declared by President Wilson, the U.S. and the world to some extent had not abandoned the notion of imperialism and militarism after WW I. The evidence was clearly presented by WW II. No doubt, the cause leading to WW II was imperialism and militarism advocated by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan both believed that their military power would fulfill their imperialistic goal. In the end justice prevailed in WW II, Germany and Japan were defeated, but Communist Soviet Union emerged as a new Imperialistic block of nations. The U.S. emerged from WW II as the strongest nation in the world especially militarily. Unfortunately, militarism was breeding in the U.S. throughout the Cold War while confronting the Soviet Union. When the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union (1989-90), a new imperialism, the U.S. had become the superpower with the most advanced army, navy and air force. She continues the responsibility of maintaining world peace, supposedly, replacing the old WW II imperialism then the Cold War imperialism with a new world orders. The U.S. did not practice colonialism nor hungered for occupation of foreign land (as evidenced by Okinawa and Porto Rico), however, she held onto militarism. The U.S. had constantly used military power in settling international issues. The U.S. had engaged many wars since WW II more so post Cold War, decades in the Middle East now posturing in Asia Pacific.
The U.S. did not join the League of Nations and did not lead the United Nation well to hold justice for the world. Instead, she seems to believe in militarism despite of a clear fact that arms race in a nuclear world spells human destruction. The U.S. continues to expand the NATO after the collapse of the Soviet. Her Pivot to Asia policy essentially is using military force, through alliances, to curtail the rise of China. China’s rise in economic power is not imperialism nor militaristic (unlike the U.S., China has no military bases outside of China; like the U.S. China had no appetite in occupying foreign land). The perceived threat of a rising China is purely a classic example of a developing country raising her people’s standard of living through economic competition. Militarism has no place in solving economic problems or competition. Responding to China’s initiative in establishing the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, the United Kingdom has rejected the US opposition and embraced the AIIB, The current UK foreign policy towards China reminds us the ‘Common Sense’ philosophy applied to the US independence movement. (America's attachment to Britain alone endangered its security!)
Perhaps the UK would feel that her attachment to the U.S. alone might endanger her security and future prosperity; simply because the U.S. is conducting another militaristic foreign policy towards the Asian Pacific Region similar to the British Empire’s behavior 240 years ago.
The U.S. does not seem to have a formula for new world orders but holding onto militarism, which not only encourage others to follow suit but also lead others to believe the world orders can only be maintained by military power. History showed that military power led to wars. The fact that the UN is ineffective in maintaining a new world orders is due to inaction against militarism. UN is powerless against militarism when its key Security Council members do not agree to an anti-militarism policy and a rigorous de-nuclear weapon program. The military power in the hands of a dictator is no different from in the hands of democracy. The end game is war. The only hope for mankind is that the civilized world must abandon militarism. All civilized people must promote that concept!