November 20 2013

Hubris: John Kerry Repudiates James Monroe

Charlotte Hays

We don’t do a lot on foreign affairs on the Inkwell, but it’s not every day that the Monroe Doctrine is publicly repudiated. In case you missed it, John Kerry just did that speaking before the Inter-American Dialogue. Even if you recall the Monroe Doctrine as something from high school history class, this is something deserving of notice.   

Kerry’s remarks are reproduced in the Weekly Standard. The Secretary of State said:

The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.  (Applause.)  The relationship – that’s worth applauding.  That’s not a bad thing.  (Applause.)  The relationship that we seek and that we have worked hard to foster is not about a United States declaration about how and when it will intervene in the affairs of other American states.  It’s about all of our countries viewing one another as equals, sharing responsibilities, cooperating on security issues, and adhering not to doctrine, but to the decisions that we make as partners to advance the values and the interests that we share.

No doubt the Obama administration and Mr. Kerry regard the Monroe Doctrine (1823), which made it clear that the United States would regard new attempts by European powers to colonize parts of the Western hemisphere as acts of aggression, as archaic. But I can’t help thinking this is the worst time possible to publicly shed it. Still, this must be welcome news for Russia, Iran, and China as they move to gain power bases in the Western hemisphere.

In other Obama foreign policy news, the United States may apologize to Afghanistan within the next 24 hours as documents regarding the withdrawal of our forces there are signed. National Security adviser took “sharp exception” to the notion that the U.S. is issuing an apology. We’ll see when the document is made public.

On the Syria front, the president ensured that the Assad regime stay in power by partnering with the regime to rid Syria of chemical weapons. Guess the folks in Syria will be sticking with good, old-fashioned beheadings. There is some good news: the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt seems to have “waved the white flag,” ensuring that this nefarious organization for the time being won’t play an important role in Egyptian politics in the near future. Of course, this was with no help from the U.S. Jonathan Tobin observes:

The Obama administration has foolishly downgraded ties with Egypt and even acted as if it wished for a return of the [Muslim Brotherhood] Morsi government that it had for a time embraced.

Meanwhile, the administration seeks a deal with Iran that could endanger Israel and transform the alignments in the region if Iran gets nukes, as seems the logical outcome of the deal being brokered. You can’t beat the AP for understatement on this one:

Obama's willingness to embrace a pact that falls short of Security Council demands for Iran to halt uranium enrichment has pushed his administration's already contentious relationship with Israel to the brink, strained ties with Gulf Arab states and exacerbated tensions with Democratic and Republican lawmakers.  

All of this may sound like our current leaders are aiming at a humbler foreign policy. Not so—we’re just siding with the wrong folks nowadays. This has nothing to do with humility. Current U.S. foreign policy is the product of the hubris on the part of callow leaders who without hesitation dismantle American foreign policy that has developed in the decades since World War II.

 

 

 

 

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