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Walter LaFeber : The Open-Door Policy
Walter LaFeber The United States doesn't see itself in this way. Our position is -- and it's quite different than the other imperial powers' position -- the American position is that we do not want to colonize China. We do not want China carved up. We want to keep China whole. This is known traditionally in American history as the "Open Door policy". We want China to remain whole to have its administrative integrity uncompromised, and we want to sell to all of China, not parts of it. The European powers, on the other hand, particularly the Russians, the Germans, and the Japanese want to carve up China. They want parts of China for themselves. A major reason for this is that the United States believes -- I think it's right -- , that it can, in an open door situation, that it can compete with anybody, that we have the cheapest steel, the cheapest locomotives, the cheapest textiles, we can processed more cheaply than anyone. If we only have what the American Secretary of State, John Haye, calls a "fair field and no favor" in 1900, then we can make a lot of money out of China. The other European powers and the Japanese realize this. So what they want to do is essentially colonize China, carve up parts of China, and keep the United States, as well as other powers, out. This, we think, puts us on a collision course with the other powers. The Chinese do not make this kind of distinction. They notice that when, for example, the foreign powers intervene in China in 1900, the Americans are fighting alongside the other foreign powers.

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