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The Monroe doctrine states that the United States would resist all European expansion in Latin America.

In 1895, the British and Venezuelans had a border conflict. Citing the Monroe Doctrine, President Cleveland urged Congress to form a committee to study the line, and if need be, intervene militarily.

Although Great Britan controlled a much larger navy, it was also concerned about the concurrent Boer war as well as the rising German Empire. They (correctly) predicted that the state of affairs in Europe would lead to war.

Therefore, it decided to adopt a foreign policy known as "Patting the Eagle's Head" which cultivated American friendship, thus replacing a century of mutual suspicion. This investment largely paid off in WWI.

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Q: What does the expression patting the eagles head mean?
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