In November 2013, then-Secretary of State John Kerry declared: “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.”1 The reality of Obama administration policy did not entirely support this assertion; there was the executive order against Venezuela in 2015, support for the coup in Honduras in 2009, and ominously close ties with right-wing governments across the region. But with other more encouraging steps such as the normalization of relations with Cuba and the (belated) show of support for the Colombian Peace Process, there were at least some modest steps towards greater mutual respect for national sovereignty in the Hemisphere. Then came the unexpected election of Donald Trump. Though throughout his election campaign he expressed a preference for US isolationism and opposition to senseless war, once in office he appointed the very neoconservative war hawks he had earlier criticized for engineering such foreign debacles as the disastrous invasion of Iraq. His appointments to hemispheric policy posts have been the least encouraging, with figures such as the convicted criminal Elliot Abrams reemerging from obscurity to saber-rattle against traditional Latin American foes. Ever since Trump entered the White House, there has been a growing sense that the Monroe Doctrine is back. Now, that suspicion has been confirmed. On April 17, National Security Advisor John Bolton said: “Today, we proudly proclaim for all to hear: the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well.”2
Monthly Archives: April 2019
It’s Official: the Monroe Doctrine Is Back. And as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose Is to Serve the Neoliberal Order.
Donald Trump has just levelled a new punitive measure against Iran, which US allies have celebrated as a bold step. But this latest act of sabre-rattling is pure hypocrisy, as a look at US relations with other countries in the region shows.
Telling timing, shocking hypocrisy
On 8 April, Trump announced that the US will designate Iran’s army – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – a “foreign terrorist organization”. He claimed that “the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft”. The move comes as the one-year anniversary of his decision to pull out of the internationally-agreed nuclear deal with Iran approaches. Trump announced Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Obama-era agreement – in violation of international law – in May 2018 in spite of overwhelming opposition from Western European allies.
The Venezuelan government has just barred the leader of the US-backed coup from holding public office. As would be expected, Western governments have been crowing about how this ‘proves’ the inherent authoritarianism of President Nicolás Maduro.
But this is nonsense. After all, these Western governments would hardly tolerate such behavior in their own countries. Clearly, anyone who attempted to overthrow a Western government would be punished immediately – and much more severely. A simple hypothetical comparison reveals the West’s extreme self-interested hypocrisy when it comes to foreign intervention.