Beltway Confidential

John Kerry junks 190-year-old U.S. ban on European powers intervening in Americas

|
Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,John Kerry,State Department,Foreign Policy,Europe

Secretary of State John Kerry declared that "the era of the Monroe Doctrine is over" as he expressed chagrin over U.S. willingness to claim the power to repel European intervention in the Western Hemisphere for 190 years.

Kerry's declaration to the Organization of American States during a speech Monday was met with applause from the delegates of Latin American countries.

Monroe outlined his position during an address to Congress in 1823. "[T]he occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power," he said.

"It is impossible that the allied [European] powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness," Monroe also said.

The former Massachusetts senator seemed sheepish about how "the United States dictated a policy that defined the hemisphere for many years after."

"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," Kerry said. "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."

But the Obama administration's biggest problem in Latin America isn't intervention — it's neglect. Critics both at home and in the region have complained for years that Obama seems uninterested in Latin American affairs. Meanwhile, recent revelations about NSA spying on regional leaders have strained ties with the region's largest nation, Brazil.

View article comments Leave a comment