ENFORCING THE MONROE DOCTRINE

Ted G. Carpenter in The National Interest on January 7, 2019, called for the Trump administration to adopt a firmer policy toward Moscow’s intrusions into Latin America.
Excerpts below:

The latest incident is Moscow’s decision to send two nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela to show support for Nicolas Maduro’s leftist regime. Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu said during a meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Vladimir Padrino Lopez that Russia would continue to send military aircraft and warships meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Vladimir Padrino Lopez that Russia would continue to send military aircraft and warships to visit Venezuela as part of continuing bilateral military cooperation.

Russia’s cooperation with Venezuela has grown markedly since tensions between Moscow and Washington flared in 2008 over Russia’s war with Georgia. A Russian general even spoke of the possibility of his country acquiring a military base in Venezuela. While civilian leaders in both Caracas and Moscow disavowed such intentions, Russian naval forces soon conducted joint maneuvers with Venezuelan units, and there was a proliferation of arms sales. In 2012, the Venezuelan government announced a $4 billion “loan” from Russia to purchase tanks, air-defense missiles, and other hardware. The bilateral political and security relationship has grown steadily closer since then.

Washington’s failure to enforce the Monroe Doctrine during the Cold War when the Soviet Union made Cuba into a client state and military outpost has not encouraged respect for that doctrine in the post-Cold War era. The Trump administration needs to adopt a firmer policy toward Moscow’s intrusions into Latin America.

A new policy is imperative. Washington DC must recognize that the United States and other major powers historically have insisted on a sphere of influence, indeed a sphere of preeminence, in regions adjacent to their homelands.

The geographic limits of such zones are frequently a matter of contention…

That is dangerously unrealistic thinking. Washington…needs to establish clear rules of the road regarding conduct in Latin America and Eastern Europe. U.S. leaders should stress to Moscow that establishing or maintaining military ties with unfriendly regimes like those in Venezuela and Cuba creates unacceptable…for the United States.

…United States [hopefully]intends to remain preeminent in the Western Hemisphere…

Ted Galen Carpenter is a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute. He is the author of 12 books and more than 750 articles on international affairs.

Comment: In 2023 the United States will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine. There might be reason to extend the use of the doctrine to cover also such empires in Eurasia as China and Iran.

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