This can be skipped for good players. It is actually a negative example of dealing with European nations. When you are behind in technology, enemy has more allies and good number of cogs, it is better just to colonize land near by. Colonizing Panama, Philippines and the rest of South America and expanding into Mexico are good choices. Just. Don’t. Attack. when behind like 10 technology in total.
If you eventually made some mistake like me, it is better to lose money or one/two province than going into massive debt and losing half of your country. …Unless, you found some great opportunity like in Part 5 or a more evenly matched power with the colonial powers.