United States and Central America essay

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The Monroe Doctrine is a policy introduced into the United States International relations policy in 1823. The policy introduced by President James Monroe asserted that, any acts by the European powers to influence or colonize any of the nations in the Western hemisphere would be perceived as acts of aggression and the United States reserved the result to intervene in case this was violated. The Monroe was applied in 1895 when Venezuela had a territorial dispute with Britain over the Gauyana islands. The United States invoked the Monroe Doctrine by asserting its right to act as arbitrator. Britain refused to accede to these demands but did not pursue the territorial dispute hence legitimizing the Monroe Doctrine (Alagna, 2004).

The Roosevelt Corollary was an addition of terms to the Monroe Doctrine. Roosevelt asserted that European powers had no right in interfering with the internal affairs or otherwise of American nations south of the United States. The Corollary Doctrine asserted that in instances of conflict between the European and the American states, the US would intervene and act as a mediator and ensure that the rights and legitimate claims of the European powers were enforced (Scranton, 2004). The United States therefore placed upon itself the powers of intervening to restore order in such instances. The Corollary Doctrine was first used in Cuba when the nation was forbidden from entering into any treaties that might put her independence in jeopardy. The United States established a military base in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to protect the newly independent nation effectively making it a protectorate.

In 1906 the United States in order to ward off intervention in Nicaragua by Western powers over Nicaragua’s huge debts invoked the Corollary. The United States entered an agreement with the Nicaraguan government in which the United States would be involved in collection of customs in order to assist settle the debts of the nation until the situation stabilized (Scranton, 2004). Due to political instability the United States intervened militarily in 1916 to enforce the agreement. I believe this intervention was justified since it was also informed by the interests of the United States as it needed to protect the Panama Canal from Western powers. It was only through intervention in Nicaragua that the United States could protect the canal from Western powers as the Latin American nations were very weak militarily (Scranton, 2004). Lack of intervention might have resulted in Western powers seizing the canal to the economic detriment of the United States.

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