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Before 1914, it was hard to find much difference of opinion among American citizens about the proper policy of the United States in relation to foreign wars or even foreign affairs. That policy, with respect to Europe, was dictated by geographical factors and by a colonial and continental history that left little room for debate. Detachment from Europe's political entanglements, non-intervention in its internal affairs, and neutrality in its wars were the keynotes. After 1898 the acquisition of Asiatic possessions turned America to a Pacific orientation marked by uncertainty and the assumption of unnecessary risks. The desire to play a leading part, without adequate equipment thereto, led to poorly comprehended commitments on the Open Door, and exposed the United States to temptations to intervene which even the proposed withdrawal from the Philippines has not suppressed. On the American continent, a more natural political interest, accentuated by propinquity in Central America, prompted occasional intervention and a standing warning to Europe against political encroachment.

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foreign affairs, Philippines, democracy, Treaty of Versailles