Militarism is a founding value of the United States: in defense of the right to own (and wrest away) property, later patriotically recast as “American interests,” the turn to a state-funded military and the threat or implementation of armed aggression have been crucial. Arguably, militarism had its early iterations in the colonial era, before the United States of America was even a political entity. The ways European settlers executed a practice of land theft and the indigenous genocide that intensified during the period known as the Indian Wars influenced how U.S. militarism would be turned to Asia, Asians, and Asian Americans from the mid-1800s to the present. Militarism, or the valorization of military life and values, the prioritization of armed preparedness, and the legitimacy of armed force as an acceptable resolution for conflict, began its modern turn in the U.S. with Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt’s ambitions to modernize the fleet and engage in imperial wars outside of North America, reached a high point with the emergence of the military-industrial complex in the post–World War II era, and has defined global relations today through a state of constant war, the most bloated military budget in history, and the...

This essay may be found on page 157 of the printed volume.

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