The Monroe Doctrine committed the United States to oppose outside powers reestablishing or establishing colonies or zones of influence in the Western Hemisphere. For its first forty or fifty years, the Doctrine was bombast by a relatively weak military power; the US, in effect, relied on Britain's Royal Navy to enforce the Doctrine and prevent Spain and France from returning to the New World. The Doctrine was, at times, violated, e.g., the establishment of a short-lived French-controlled monarchy in Mexico during the US Civil War, and, of course, by JFK's needless acquiescence to a Soviet Cuba. It was, however, invoked at some critical times and served as a reminder that the US, when it wished, could act to keep out extra-hemispheric and anti-US influences from Latin America. Communists and populists in Latin America and elsewhere, of course, derided the Doctrine as a proclaimed right by the United States to intervene in Latin America at will. Kerry, who has never recoiled from depicting the USA in the worst possible light, accepted that redefinition and "officially" ended the Monroe Doctrine. Some might argue that the Doctrine was already dead before Kerry declared its end, but why make an announcement of that sort given current international conditions? Why unilaterally renounce a well-established principle without getting anything in return aside from some tepid applause at the OAS?
Statements of the sort made by Kerry typically get little press in the US. Most Americans today probably cannot even tell you what the Monroe Doctrine stated, much less the contents of the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary to it which gave it teeth. Statements of weakness and self-declared limitations, however, do get noticed abroad, and put into the context of everything else the US is doing or not doing. (Note: We saw this in 1950, when we foolishly implied that South Korea was outside of our circle of concern.) In sum, giving up the Monroe Doctrine is of a piece with this misadministration's misconduct of foreign policy; with its issuing of bland banalities as substitutes for real policy; its mistaken belief that words equal action; that words, e.g., "red line," don't really have any meaning; that the United States should surrender its nearly century-old role as a if not the key player in international politics; that it is "just fine" to gut our military. It is the triumph of the Little Americanists.
And Russia? Well, Putin and Lavrov have a very different vision for their country than do Obama and Kerry for the US. I have written before about Lavrov and how Kerry is no match for him. I also wrote previously on how Putin outplayed the hapless Obama on Syria, and that Obama's feckless handling of the "red line" would come back to bite us.
While we dither and destroy our economy, military, and seventy-years worth of international alliances and arrangements, Moscow has made clear that Russia is back on the scene. Russia is seeking basing rights for its growing navy not just in the traditional Near Abroad, but far afield in places such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Seychelles, and even Singapore. Its warships dock in Havana. Russia has established a de facto alliance with Iran and become the big outside player in the Middle East. The manner in which Russia saved its ally in Damascus is not lost on a world which saw how the Obamistas treated Qadafy and Mubarak, and how weakly the Obamistas respond to events in Venezuela.
The crisis in Ukraine provides a graphic demonstration of Putin's disregard for Obama. While Obama puts out tepid statements of "consequences" and standing with the international community should Russia do something untoward in Ukraine, Putin--quaking, but with laughter--sends commandos into Crimea and gets approval from his pet legislature for the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine to "stabilize" the situation and protect the lives and property of Russian citizens. The late unlamented Leonid Brezhnev had a "doctrine" which announced that the USSR would not allow socialist countries to get rid of socialism, and would not allow the establishment of hostile regimes on the USSR's borders. We can see that Putin has developed his own corollary to the Brezhnev Doctrine, with some heavy borrowing from the Hitler Doctrine we saw at work in Austria and Czechoslovakia. Putin has made it clear that the former territories of the USSR are of special concern for Russia and that Russia will not hesitate to intervene to protect its citizens or to prevent instability, i.e., development of anti-Putin governments. The goal clearly is to reestablish at least the old Czarist empire if not the old Soviet one.
Understatement of the year: Putin is not impressed with Obama.
We continue our national obsession with gays, allowing
Will Russia overreach? Will Russia's considerable internal problems bring its imperial quest to a halt? Maybe. But is that to what we are now relegated? To hoping that in the long run the enemy (yes, enemy) is weaker than we?
Meanwhile, of course, we have our President and VP jogging to meetings and Michelle providing us 1000% of our minimum daily requirement of condescension. I guess that's some consolation.
|"Hey, Vlad. Can you do this?"|