Why Has America Had So Many Wars? We Find Out

Many countries in the world have a history of conflict. However, few seem to have had as many wars as the United States. Since it’s founded in 1776, the US has been involved in more than 100 wars. This makes America among the countries in the world that has fought the most wars – a staggering statistic considering the United States is only around 250 years old. So, what makes the US go to war, and why has America had so many wars throughout its history? Well, let us explain…

America Has Been Attacked

A first reasons why America has had so many wars is because there have been times the US has been attacked.

The United States is enormously advantaged by the fact it dominates almost all of the North American continent. Vast oceans separate the US from most of the rest of the world. This has provided strong defenses for America against attacks and invasion. However, there have been a number of instances when America has been attacked, and these have resulted in going to war several times in its history.

A recent example of an attack on the US leading to actually starting many wars was the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The atrocities committed by Al-Qaeda, in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, led to the US invasion of Afghanistan. It was also a key driver for US war in Iraq and interventions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Syria. The fact that America has been in so many wars in recent years is partly a result of the September 11th attacks.

Another example of America being attacked and resulting in the US going to war was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. This unprovoked attack drew America into World War Two. As a result, America essentially fought two conflicts – against the Japanese in the Pacific and German and Italians in Europe.

Any attack on America throughout history have resulted in the US going to war. It is one reason why the US has fought so many conflicts.

The US Has Defended Its Allies

A second reason why the United States has fought so many wars is because America has often defended its allies.

Since the founding of the United States in 1776, America has had a wide range of diplomatic and military alliances. The US has always formed bonds with other free and open societies, as well as countries that are strategically important. As one of the largest economies in the world, with one of the most powerful armed forces, these alliances have often included defense guarantees provided by America. When American allies are attacked, the US often goes to war.

One example of the US going to war to defend its ally is the Korean War. When, in June 1950, communist North Korean forces invaded American-backed South Korea, the US intervened to support its ally.

Throughout the Cold War there are many instances of the US going to war to defend allied nations. The Vietnam War saw the US fight to defend the American supported government in South Vietnam.

The United States has long supported its allies. This has included many times intervening militarily on their behalf. As a result, America’s network of alliances is a major reason why the country has fought so many conflicts

America Has Led Humanitarian Interventions

A third reason why America has had so many wars is because it has led a number of humanitarian interventions.

A humanitarian intervention is when a country intervenes militarily in another in order to prevent attacks against civilians or atrocities from being committed. The aim of a humanitarian intervention is to end widespread human suffering and ideally bring the preparators to justice. America has always been a compassionate country. Combine this with America’s military might and it has caused America to lead several humanitarian interventions throughout its history.

One example of a humanitarian intervention led by the US is in Somalia from 1992-93. The US invaded Somalia in order to end atrocities committed by warlords in the country and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid. The intervention ultimately failed when 18 Americans were killed during the Battle for Mogadishu.

The US-led intervention in Bosnia in August 1995 is another example of America going to war under the guise of humanitarianism. This intervention succeeded and the Bosnian civil war ended later that year.

The fact that America has, throughout its history, actively participated in many humanitarian interventions is one reason why the country has fought a large number of wars.

The US Has Invaded Weaker Countries

Another reason why the US has had so many wars is because it has often invaded weaker countries.

The US has not always been a benevolent power. In fact, throughout American history the country has used its economic and military strength of dominate smaller and weaker nations. This has resulted in many cases where the US has invaded, or gone to war against, less powerful countries. The aim of these wars has often been to restore American influence or achieve strategic gains for the US.

One example of America attacking a weaker nation is the 1989 invasion of Panama. The US invaded the central American country in order dispose leader General Manuel Noriega and install a pro-US administration.

The fact that the US has often invaded weaker countries, under a range of pretenses, is one reason why the country has had so many wars.

America Has To Dominate The Western Hemisphere

One reason why the US has had so many wars is because it has always dominated the Western hemisphere.

In 1823, the United States adopted the Monroe Doctrine. This was a formal policy stance in which America would prevent the return of European colonial powers to the Western Hemisphere. As the policy developed, the Monroe Doctrine essentially became America’s key position that it would intervene anywhere in the Western world where its interests were threatened.

Essentially, for two hundred years, America has ensured it dominated North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. This has resulted in many wars.

An example of the US going to war to ensure that it’s influence in the Western Hemisphere is not threated is the American-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. Following the communist takeover of the island in 1959, in 1961 America trained, funded and directly supported Cuban exiles to invade. The invasion failed and ultimately Cuba’s support from the Soviet Union prevented a full-scale invasion by US forces. However, it should be noted that America was willing to go to war to protect its interests within its own region.

Another example of America going to war to ensure its continued influence in the Western Hemisphere is the 1983 invasion of Grenada.

There have been many times throughout history that America has gone to war within its own backyard. Ensuring US interests in the Americas are protected is one reason why the country has had a lot of conflicts.

America Has Fought Against Evil Ideologies

A final reason why America has had so many wars is because it has often fought against evil ideologies.

The United States prides itself as being a beacon of freedom. Ever since it fought off British colonial rule, America has fought alongside other people who are trying to achieve their freedom. This willingness to support oppressed peoples and fight against tyranny is a major reason why the US has had so many wars throughout its history.

There are several examples of America going to war to fight against evil ideologies. In World War Two the US fought Nazi Germany and Fascist Japan and Italy in order partly to liberate their peoples. In the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the US fought against the spread of communism.  Although controversial, one reason the US invaded Iraq in 2003 was to remove the horrific dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. The same could be same for the US-led intervention in Libya in 2011 that removed Muammar Gaddafi from power.

America has long been praised for standing up for freedom and democracy around the world. However, one result of this has been the large number of conflicts America has fought.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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