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Friday, September 6, 2019

Issue 60

The Monroe Doctrine and Current U.S. Foreign Policy
Background Essay
Background Essay

The Monroe Doctrine: Guide To The Future

by Williamson Murrayvia Strategika
Friday, September 6, 2019

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. 

Featured Commentary
Featured Commentary

Principled Realism And The Monroe Doctrine

by Chris Gibson via Strategika
Friday, September 6, 2019

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.

Featured Commentary

E Pluribus Plures

by Bing Westvia Strategika
Friday, September 6, 2019

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.

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Related Commentary

Nuclear Anti-Strategy

by Angelo M. Codevillavia Strategika

Nuclear energy—a fortiori nuclear weapons—has occasioned the U.S. ruling class, with exceptions few and brief, to jettison reason about ends and means in favor of emotional reactions that abstract from interests, friends, and enemies.

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There were various reasons why our grandparents sought to limit the availability of nuclear weapons in general and in particular among even our allies. I can think of three.

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The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is certainly a growing menace–in fact the most immediate threat that we face in the Middle East.

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Traditionally, military planners have operated under a worst-case scenario: i.e., what do we need to have in place to respond if nothing goes as planned? 

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Who Possesses Nuclear Weapons, Not the Weapons, Is the Question

by Bruce Thorntonvia Strategika

Since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons have attracted an apocalyptic glamour that has confused and distorted the strategic calculations that should determine their production and deployment. The same sort of irrational response greeted the development of bombers in the 20s and 30s, when lurid scenarios of the civilization-ending power of strategic bombing––popularized in novels like H.G. Wells’ Things to Come and exploited by pacifists––convinced British military planners and politicians that they should avoid war at all costs, for as Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin famously, and erroneously, proclaimed to the “man in the street,” “There is no power on earth that can protect him from being bombed,” for “the bomber will always get through.”

Related Commentary

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Strategika is an online journal that analyzes ongoing issues of national security in light of conflicts of the past—the efforts of the Military History Working Group of historians, analysts, and military personnel focusing on military history and contemporary conflict.

Our board of scholars shares no ideological consensus other than a general acknowledgment that human nature is largely unchanging. Consequently, the study of past wars can offer us tragic guidance about present conflicts—a preferable approach to the more popular therapeutic assumption that contemporary efforts to ensure the perfectibility of mankind eventually will lead to eternal peace. New technologies, methodologies, and protocols come and go; the larger tactical and strategic assumptions that guide them remain mostly the same—a fact discernable only through the study of history.

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