David Silbey, author of A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War 1899-1902, weighs in on the Iraq-Philippines connection:
Taking the Philippines essentially put the United States and Japan on a collision course out of which it was hard to steer. This was not inevitable. At the turn of the century, Japan’s attention was towards the mainland of Asia and southeast Asia, and away from the broad Pacific that separated it from the United States. It was worried about Russia, China, and the European powers that held so much of mainland Asia. The Americans and Japanese got along rather well. During the Boxer Rebellion, when American and Japanese units served together, there was quite a friendly relationship between the two. American ships coaled at Nagasaki, where they played baseball games for Japanese crowds. There was an American naval hospital there for several decades. The relationship that was building was one similar to the United States and Great Britain, two growing naval powers separated by a large ocean that nonetheless had essentially decided NOT to be rivals.