By Seung-young Kim
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Extra resources for American Diplomacy and Strategy toward Korea and Northeast Asia, 1882 - 1950 and After: Perception of Polarity and US Commitment to a Periphery
The Welt Politik of Kaiser Wilhelm II led Britain to worry about the German threat in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Far East. The German naval build up since 1897 under Admiral Tirpitz drove home the vulnerability of the Royal Navy in the North Sea, and the construction of the Baghdad Railway threatened British security in the Gulf region, which was vital for the trade and protection of India. Meanwhile, Russia continued to challenge British interests in India, with its efforts to advance into Afghanistan.
16 Congress also had repeatedly avoided making an appropriation to fortify its great base at Subic Bay. 17 Although the Navy sent three battleships to the Far East during the Russo-Japanese War, it did not go beyond utilizing the fleet to support wartime diplomacy. 18 Yet, in a system of competing powers, US military power, though limited, was useful in supporting its diplomacy. Because no single state or group of states enjoyed political and military hegemony, securing the support of the United States was important for other powers; thus the United States could play a significant role in the diplomatic arena.
During the war, Korea and Britain reached out to the United States with a view to seeking its assistance in mediation. But the United States stopped short of making an effort for mediation, though it showed sincerity in keeping the good office clause during the early stages of the war. 32 After an initial Japanese victory, Britain also inquired whether the United States would join Britain, Russia, Germany, and France in an intervention on behalf of Korean independence. 33 In fact, the US stance during the war was as good as pro-Japan neutrality, though Washington announced strict neutrality throughout the war.