Putin and Russia are articulating their own version of the Monroe Doctrine

What president or prime minister won`t protect its own country and its own citizens? Most of the countries around the world have their own foreign policy, which is their activities in relation to their interactions with other states, unions, and other political entities.

Diplomacy has been practiced for a very long time. The idea of long-term management of relationships followed the development of professional diplomatic corps that managed diplomacy. Since 1711, the term diplomacy has been taken to mean the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or nations.

In the 18th century, due to extreme turbulence in European diplomacy and ongoing conflicts, the practice of diplomacy was often fragmented by the necessity to deal with isolated issues, termed «affairs».

Picture: Gillans’s 1896 political cartoon, Uncle Sam stands with a rifle between the Europeans and Latin Americans, By Victor Gillam – https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002697703/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=115553767

Organizations such as the Council of Foreign Relations in the United States are sometimes employed by government foreign relations organizations to develop foreign policy proposals as alternatives to an existing policy, or to provide analytical assessments of evolving relationships.

There are several objectives that may motivate a government`s foreign policy. Among other reasons, foreign policy may be directed for defense and security, for economic benefit, or to provide assistance to states that need it.

All foreign policy objectives are interconnected and contribute to a single, comprehensive foreign policy for each state. Unlike domestic policy, foreign policy issues tend to arise suddenly in response to developments and major events in foreign countries.

Foreign policy is often directed for the purpose of ensuring national security.

Governments have historically formed military alliances with foreign states in order to deter and show stronger resistance to attack. Foreign policy also focuses on combating adversarial states through soft power, international isolation, or war.

In the 21st century, defensive foreign policy has expanded to address the threat of global terrorism. Foreign measures such as foreign aid and financial sanctions are believed to decrease terrorist activity, while military intervention and military aid risk increase terrorist activity.

Foreign policy is central to a country`s role within the world economy and international trade. Economic foreign policy issues may include the establishment of trade agreements, the distribution of foreign aid, and the management of imports and exports. The World Trade Organization facilitates the economic foreign policies of most countries.

Superpowers are able to project power and exercise their influence across the world, while great powers and middle powers have moderate influence in global affairs.

Small powers have less ability to exercise influence unilaterally, as they have fewer economic and military resources to leverage. As a result, they are more likely to support international and multilateral organizations.

The diplomatic bureaucracies of smaller states are also smaller, which limits their capacity to engage in complex diplomacy. Smaller states may seek to ally themselves with larger countries for economic and defensive benefits, or they may avoid involvement in international disputes so as to remain on friendly terms with all countries.

The political institutions and forms of government play a role in a country`s foreign policy. In a democracy, public opinion and the methods of political representation both affect a country`s foreign policy.

Democratic countries are also believed to be less likely to resort to military conflict with one another.

Autocratic states are less likely to use legalism in their foreign policies. Under a dictatorship, a state`s foreign policy may depend heavily on the preferences of the dictator. Dictators that interfere significantly with their foreign policy apparatus may be less predictable and more likely to make foreign policy blunders.

Picture: US President James Monroe, By Samuel Finley Breese Morse – https://www.whitehousehistory.org/photos/james-monroe, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71911950

The Monroe Doctrine was a United States foreign policy position that opposed European colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. It held that any intervention in the political affairs of the Americas by foreign powers was a potentially hostile act against the U.S.

The doctrine was central to U.S foreign policy for much of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

President James Monroe first articulated the doctrine on December 2, 1823, during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress. At the time, nearly all Spanish colonies in the Americas had either achieved or were close to independence.

Monroe asserted that the New World and the Old World were to remain distinctly separate spheres of influence, and thus further efforts by European powers to control or influence sovereign states in the region would be viewed as a threat to U.S security.

In turn, the U.S would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal affairs of European countries.

By the end of the 19th century, Monroe`s declaration was seen as a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets. The intent and effect of the doctrine persisted for over a century, with only small variations, and would be invoked by many U.S statesmen and several U.S presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kenndy, and Ronald Reagan.

After 1898, the Monroe Doctrine was reinterpreted by Latin American lawyers and intellectuals as promoting multilateralism (an alliance of multiple countries pursuing a common goal) and non-intervention.

Despite the United States’ beginnings as an isolationist country, the foundation of the Monroe Doctrine was already laid even during George Washington`s presidency. According to S.E. Morison, «as early as 1783, then, the United States adopted the policy of isolation and announced its intention to keep out of Europe.

Alexander Hamilton wanted to establish the United States as a world power and hoped that it would suddenly become strong enough to keep the European powers outside of the Americas, despite the fact that the European countries controlled much more of the Americas than the U.S herself.

Hamilton expected that the United States would become the dominant power in the New World and would, in the future, act as an intermediary between the European powers and any new countries blossoming near the U.S.

Great Britain shared the general objective of the Monroe Doctrine and even wanted to declare a joint statement to keep other European powers from further colonizing the New World.

The U.S government feared the victorious European powers that emerged from the Congress of Vienna (1814 – 1815) would revive monarchical government. France had already agreed to restore the Spanish monarchy in exchange for Cuba.

As the revolutionary Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815) ended, Prussia, Austria, and Russia formed the Holy Alliance to defend monarchism. In particular, the Holy Alliance authorized military incursions to re-establish Bourbon rule over Spain and its colonies, which were establishing their independence.

(The Holy Alliance was a coalition linking the monarchist great powers of Austria, Prussia, and Russia. It was created after the final defeat of Napoleon at the behest of Emperor (Tsar) Alexander I of Russia and signed in Paris on 26 September 1815. The alliance aimed to restrain liberalism and secularism in Europe in the wake of the devastating French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars, and it nominally succeeded in this until the Crimean War).

About three months after the Final Act of the Congress of Vianna, the monarchs of Catholic (Austria), Protestant (Prussia), and Orthodox (Russia) confession promised to act on the basis of «justice, love, and peace», both in internal and foreign affairs, for «consolidating human institutions and remedying their imperfections».

The British feared their trade with the New World would be harmed if the other European powers further colonized it. In fact, for many years after the doctrine took effect, Britain, through the Royal Navy, was the sole nation enforcing it, the U.S lacking sufficient naval capability.

The U.S resisted a joint statement because of the recent memory of the War of 1812, however, the immediate provocation was the Russian Ukase of 1821 asserting rights to the Pacific Northwest and forbidding non-Russian ships from approaching the coast.

In 1902, Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier acknowledged that the Monroe Doctrine was essential to his country`s protection.

The doctrine provided Canada with a de facto security guarantee by the United States, the US Navy in the Pacific, and the British Navy in the Atlantic, making invading North America almost impossible. Because of the peaceful relations between the two countries, Canada could assist Britain in a European war without having to defend itself at home.

Scholars such as Neil Smith have written that Woodrow Wilson effectively proposed a «Global Monroe Doctrine» expanding US supremacy over the entire world. Some analysts assert that this prerogative for indirect control and sporadic invasions and occupations across the planet has largely come to fruition with the American superpower role since World War II.

Such an expansion of the doctrine is premised on the «normal equality» of independent states. Such superficial equality is often undermined by material inequality, making the US a de facto global empire.

Smith argued that the founding of the United Nations played a role in the establishing of this global protectorate situation.

After World War II began, a majority of Americans supported defending the entire Western Hemisphere against foreign invasion. A 1940 national survey found that 81% supported defending Canada, 75% Mexico and Central America, 69% South America, 66% West Indies, and 59% Greenland.

In 1954, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles invoked the Monroe Doctrine at the 10th Pan-American Conference in Caracas, Venezuela, denouncing the intervention of Soviet Communism in Guatemala. President John F. Kennedy said at an August 29, 1962 news conference:

The Monroe Doctrine means what it has meant since President Monroe and John Quincy Adams enunciated it, and that is that we would oppose a foreign power extending its power to the Western Hemisphere, and that is why we oppose what is happening in Cuba today.

That is why we have cut off our trade. That is why we worked in the OAS (Organization of American States) and in other ways to isolate the Communist menace in Cuba. That is why we will continue to give a good deal of our effort and attention to it.

During the Cold War, the Monroe Doctrine was applied to Latin America by the farmers of US foreign policy. When the Cuban Revolution (1953 – 1959) established a Communist government with ties to the Soviet Union, it was argued that the Monroe Doctrine should be invoked to present the spread of Soviet-backed Communism in Latin America.

Under this rationale, the U.S provided intelligence and military aid to Latin and South American governments that claimed or appeared to be threatened by Communist subversion (as in the case of Operation Condor).

In the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, President John F. Kennedy cited the Monroe Doctrine as grounds of the United States’ confrontation with the Soviet Union over the installation of Soviet ballistic on Cuban soil.

The debate over this new interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine burgeoned in reaction to the Iran-Contra affair. It was revealed that the U.S CIA had been covertly training «Contra» guerrilla soldiers in Honduras in an attempt to destabilize and overthrow the Sandinista revolutionary government of Nicaragua and its president, Daniel Ortega.

CIA director Robert Gates vigorously defended the Contra operation in 1984, arguing that eschewing U.S intervention in Nicaragua would be «totally to abandon the Monroe Doctrine».

President Barack Obama`s Secretary of State John Kerry told the OAS in November 2013 that the «era of the Monroe Doctrine is over».

Several commentators have noted that Kerry`s call for a mutual partnership with the other countries in the Americas is more in keeping with Monroe`s intentions than the policies enacted after his death.

President Donald Trump implied potential use of the doctrine in August 2017 when he mentioned the possibility of military intervention in Venezuela after his CIA Director Mike Pompeo declared that the nation`s deterioration was the result of interference from Iranian- and Russian-backed groups.

In February 2018, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised the Monroe Doctrine as «clearly…..a success», warning of «imperial» Chinese trade ambitions and touting the United States as the region`s preferred trade partner.

Trump reiterated his commitment to the implementation of the Monroe Doctrine at the 73rd UN General Assembly in 2018. Vasily Nebenzya criticized the US for what the Russian Federation perceives as an implementation of the Monroe Doctrine at the 8452nd emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on January 26, 2019.

Venezuela`s representative listed 27 interventions in Latin America that Venezuela considers to be implementations of the Monroe Doctrine, and stated that, in the context of the statements, they consider it «a direct military threat to the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela».

Cuba`s representative formulated a similar opinion, «The current Administration of the United States of America has declared the Monroe Doctrine to be in effect…..».

On March 3, 2019, National Security Advisor John Bolton invoked the Monroe Doctrine in describing the Trump administration`s policy in the Americas, saying «In this administration, we`re not afraid to use the word Monroe Doctrine….. It`s been the objective of American presidents going back to President Ronald Reagan to have a completely democratic hemisphere.

Noam Chomsky argues that in practice the Monroe Doctrine has been used by the U.S government as a declaration of hegemony and a right of unilateral intervention over the Americas.

When we talk about great power politics, rights in the final analysis just don`t matter. Might makes right, according to John Mearsheimer

In international politics, states usually pay attention to international law. They also pay attention to moral precepts as long as they`re in their strategic interests. But if there is a conflict between international law and a country`s strategic interests, the country will always privilege its strategic interests, and international law and human rights will be pushed off the table.

This is why Mearsheimer thinks it`s not very helpful to talk about rights. When you talk about whether Russia has the right to have a buffer state, or Ukraine has the right to have its own foreign policy. These are concepts that get you into all sorts of trouble.

In the international system; «MIGHT MAKES RIGHT».

For example; the United States would never tolerate a situation where Canada or Mexico invited in a legal way, China to bring military forces into Toronto or Mexico City.

The U.S has the Monroe Doctrine which is in the U.S’ strategic interest, and the Monroe Doctrine says; no distant great power is allowed to put military forces in the Western Hemisphere. Period. End of story.

What the Russians are doing is they`re basically articulating their own version of the Monroe Doctrine. They`re saying you cannot turn Ukraine into a Western bastion on our border. That has nothing to do with rights.

It doesn`t matter whether Ukraine has the right to do this or that. Putin and Russia are saying they can`t do it. Just like the U.S is saying that Cuba can`t invite the Soviets to bring military forces into the Western Hemisphere.

Rights just don`t matter. MIGHT MAKES RIGHT.

Those who can`t put themselves in Putin`s shoes have a huge problem.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Shinybull.com. The author has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided; however, neither Shinybull.com nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities, or other financial instruments. Shinybull.com and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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