U.S. Foreign Relations -- Overview

U.S. Foreign Relations -Overview
American Diplomatic Traditions
• Washington’s farewell address, 1797
• Only short-term alliances; no permanent allies
• No such thing as permanent friends (or enemies)
• Don’t act from habitual fondness or habitual hatred
• (Also, don’t allow political parties to form….)
• Treaty of Tripoli, c. 1800
• U.S. gov’t is secular, with no official religious stance
• U.S. not inherently anti-Muslim or pro-Christian
• “Peaceable coercion,” early 1800’s
• Try economic leverage (embargo) first
American Diplomatic Traditions
• Neutrality in European conflicts, early 1800’s
• Stay officially neutral in European wars
• Neutral = trade with all sides
• John Quincy Adams’ “monsters” speech, 1821
• U.S. should not go on idealistic crusades
• Lead by example, wish others well
• Monroe Doctrine, 1823
• Americas off-limits to future European colonization
• New World and Old World w/ totally different interests
• “Manifest Destiny,” 1840’s
• American exceptionalism, expansion as progress
• Continental expansion is the exception to the “nonintervention in other countries” rule
“Doctrine” in foreign policy:
an important, traditional rule, usually in
the form of a simple public statement,
often about an approach to a region of
the world or general foreign policy issue.
Monroe – Latin America
Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe – Caribbean
Truman – international communism
Eisenhower – Middle East
Carter – Persian Gulf
Weinberger/Powell – limited military interventions
Bush – pre-emptive war
Monroe Doctrine
• U.S. President James Monroe speech, 1823
• U.S. opposes new European colonies in the
Western Hemisphere
• Passive statement of overall position
• Always recognize de facto government
(Whether or not you approve of the gov’t)
• “Old World” different from “New World”
• Response to Latin American wars of
independence, 1810’s-20’s
• Will Europe try to reclaim Spain’s colonies?
• “Sister Republics”
Monroe Doctrine
Venezuela boundary dispute, 1895-6
• Since 1820’s, unclear border between
British Guiana (British colony)
Venezuela (independent country)
• Very minor border issue until 1880’s, when…
…the largest gold nugget ever (509 oz) was found in the area
• Venezuela asked for U.S. help in opposing “British
• Resolved by U.S. and Britain
• Venezuelans never consulted
• Venez. diplomats had to get details from newspapers
Sec. of State Richard Olney’s note to Britain
on the Venez. boundary dispute, 1895:
“Today the United States is practically sovereign on
this continent, and its fiat is law upon the subjects
to which it confines its interposition….Not simply
by reason of its high character as a civilized state,
nor because wisdom and justice and equity are the
invariable characteristics of the dealings of the
United States….[In addition,] its infinite resources
combined with its isolated position render it
master of the situation and practically invulnerable
as against any and all other powers.”
Monroe Doctrine
• Roosevelt Corollary, 1904
• Active, aggressive interpretation
• Caribbean and Central America are U.S.’ natural
sphere of influence
• U.S. w/ right and duty of regional “police power”
• Intervene in other countries to protect their
• Applications:
U.S. takes over gov’ts of Dominican Republic, Cuba,