The Last Years of the Monroe Doctrine, 1945-1993

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Overview

When President Monroe issued his 1823 doctrine on U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere, it quickly became as sacred to Americans as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But in the years after World War II - notably in Guatemala in 1954, in Brazil in 1963, in Chile in 1973, and in El Salvador in the 1980s - our government's policy of supporting repressive regimes in Central and South America hastened the death of the very doctrine that had been invoked to protect us in the Cold War, by associating its application with torture squads, murder, and the denial of the very democratic ideals the Monroe Doctrine was intended to protect. Gaddis Smith's measured but devastating account is essential reading for all those who care how the United States behaves in the world arena.

"This epilogue to well-known history of Monroe Doctrine is a provocative interpretation of how US presidents resolved policy contradiction of accepting Soviet presence in the Caribbean while reaffirming tenets of Monroe Doctrine"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A badly needed, updated discussion of the Monroe Doctrine; [Smith offers] a different perspective on George Kennan and the origins of the Cold War, and brief, useful overviews of U.S. policies during the 1980s and the 1990s-especially in Haiti, Central America, Chile, and Brazil."—Walter La- Feber, Cornell University
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
President Monroe's 1823 message to Congress, declaring that the U.S. would brook no foreign intervention in our hemisphere, became a Cold War tool to justify Latin American dictatorships, CIA-funded death squads and repressions to ward off an alleged communist threat, contends Smith, a history professor at Yale. In a cogent study, he explains how the U.S. molded the U.N. Charter to bar the U.N. from political involvement in the West. Eisenhower used the Monroe Doctrine as a cover to overthrow Guatemala's liberal reformist president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954, replacing him with a dictator. Critics blasted Kennedy for failing the Doctrine by allowing Cuba to become a ``Soviet protectorate.'' Ostensibly to prevent another Cuba, the efforts of LBJ and Nixon to bolster repressive regimes in Brazil and Chile were ``infused with Monroeism,'' and Reagan invoked it in his proxy war against Nicaragua's Sandinistas. Smith argues that the Doctrine has become irrelevant with the end of the Cold War. (Aug.)
Library Journal
The Monroe Doctrine, first proclaimed by President James Monroe in 1823, has served as a guidepost for American policy toward Latin America for 170 years. Smith, one of our most prominent diplomatic historians and director of Yale's Center for International and Area Studies, provides an historical overview of our use of this doctrine in our sometimes tortuous relations with our neighbors to the south. Smith's basic point is that with the demise of the Soviet Union, the Monroe Doctrine and its use as a justification for American intervention in the affairs of nations below the Rio Grande has passed into history. Indeed, Smith argues, even by the 1980s, U.S. activities in Panama, Nicaragua, and Grenada were defended as necessary not because of fears of Soviet aggression but by concerns over such local issues as drug smuggling and failing economies. This is solid and informative history written by a well-established master of the craft. Recommended for all libraries.-Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809015689
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 11/30/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Gaddis Smith is Larned Professor of History at Yale University, where he has taught the history of American diplomacy and foreign policy since 1961. He is the author of numerous books, including Morality, Reason, and Power: American Diplomacy in the Carter Years.

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Table of Contents

1 Whatever Happened to the Monroe Doctrine? 3
2 The Historical Legacy 21
3 The Ghost at San Francisco 41
4 The Kennan Corollary and Guatemala 65
5 Aground and Shattered on Cuba 91
6 No More Cubas: The Monroe Doctrine under Johnson and Nixon 113
7 Premature Obituary: The Doctrine and Jimmy Carter 139
8 A Tale of Three Doctrines: Reagan, Brezhnev, and Monroe 161
9 Nicaragua: The Self-Inflicted Wound 185
10 Fade Away 211
Notes 231
Bibliography 259
Index 271
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