The Spectacle Blog

The ‘Neocon’ Monroe Doctrine

By on 12.12.11 | 6:39PM

OK Jeff, I'll bite. If the Monroe Doctrine is neoconservative, when did the United States intervene militarily to spread a particular form of government throughout Latin America? Or pursue regime change in the hemisphere? Or wage preventive war, with or without regime change, against the European powers who might conceivably ignore the doctrine's warning?

It took until the Polk administration for the Monroe Doctrine to be applied in an especially expansionist fashion. After that there was talk of forcibly removing the Spanish from Cuba and the movement of U.S. troops to encourage an end to the French occupation of Mexico. It wasn't really interpreted as justifying U.S. intervention in the internal affairs  of Latin American countries until Theodore Roosvelt -- a good bit after the founding generation.

I'll grant that the Roosevelt Corollary is a precursor to neoconservatism. But the Monroe Doctrine was mainly a statement against European intervention in the region, later invoked against Soviet intervention during the Cold War. Noam Chomsky saw it as a statement of U.S. hegemony, however.

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