The Monroe Doctrine, which purports to warn other states from interfering in the affairs of the Western Hemisphere, has supposedly remained a basic principle of American foreign policy since the first half of the nineteenth century. From the point when it was issued, its actual relevance has depended on the willingness to enforce it, or whether there was any real threat. President Monroe issued it during a period when all of the major Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere were in the process of gaining their independence from Spain.
With the publication of the December 2017 version of the National Security Strategy, the Trump administration changed the course of American grand strategy. With it, the U.S. made a conscious choice to leave behind President George W. Bush’s controversial neo-conservative inspired policy of “preemption” and Barack Obama’s convoluted “consequentialism,” embracing instead the more traditional approach of “principled realism,” first articulated by President George Washington. In this new era all previous policies and approaches are under review, including one of our oldest foreign policy statements—the Monroe Doctrine of 1823.
A doctrine is a set of guiding principles shared widely by an organization or a nation. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 stated that any effort by a European nation to take control of any North or South American country would be viewed as “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” In 1962, the Doctrine was invoked during the Cuban Missile Crisis. With the support of the Organization of American States (OAS), President Kennedy established a naval quarantine around the island.