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his reason therefor was that the declaration of President Monroe a proper promulgation for a time when apprehension of interference of European powers in the affairs of the Spanish-American countries was justified-had never been indorsed by congressional action, and had never been accorded a place in the code of international law by the nations on the other side of the Atlantic. The questions asked to-day by the speaker are prompted by the fact that circumstances in the last ninety years have greatly modified the relations of nations, and absolutism-if indeed it exists-no longer alarms the friends of democracy. That the Monroe Doctrine may be again set up as a warning or inhibition, is not improbable, but it is to be hoped that there may be brought, and it is believed that there will be brought to the consideration and adjustment of differences and misunderstandings not the inflamed temper of the jingoist, but the catholic spirit of the patriot.
SHOULD WE ABANDON THE MONROE DOCTRINE?
By Hiram Bingham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of LatinAmerican History, Yale University
"The Monroe Doctrine, or the doctrine of the dual political organization of the nations of the earth, is a barbaric stumbling-block in the way of enlightened international policy." So wrote the late William Graham Summer, in an essay on "Earth Hunger," in 1897.
At that time, very little attention was paid to his remarks. Professor Sumner had a way of being many years ahead of public opinion in his attitude toward political and economic policies.
During the past few months the number of people who have come to take an unfriendly attitude toward the Monroe Doctrine has very greatly increased. True, this national shibboleth is still a plank in the platforms of our great national parties. In many quarters it is still a rallying cry. A great chain of newspapers, extending from San Francisco to Boston, edited by the most highly paid editorial writer of the day, constantly refers to the Monroe Doctrine as something sacred and precious, like the Declaration of Independence. Other powerful newspapers, less popular in their appeal, but no less powerful in their influence, still resent any attack on what is considered by them the most essential feature of our foreign policy. And they continue to uphold the Monroe Doctrine, while at the same time they try to explain away its disagreeable features.
A recent editorial in a journal devoted to the interests of the army and navy, in vigorously denouncing the present attacks being made on the Monroe Doctrine, and calling loudly on patriotic Americans to see to it that no academic sentimentalists were allowed to weaken our national defenses, declared that without the Monroe Doctrine, we could not hold the Panama Canal!
It would have been just as logical to say that without the Monroe Doctrine we could not hold Hawaii, or Key West, or Boston harbor. The Panama Canal is one of the possessions of the United States. Its defense is a national right and a national duty. In defending the Panama Canal as in defending Key West or Boston harbor, we have back of us the most universally accepted principles of international law. In upholding the Monroe Doctrine, on the other hand, we are merely upholding what has been believed for many years to be a useful foreign policy, but one that has no standing in international law, and is, in fact, neither law nor doctrine but merely a declaration of policy having to do with our relations with foreign nations.
Consequently, in considering the question as the whether we should abandon the Monroe Doctrine or not, we must first clear our minds of any idea that the maintenance or abandonment of this policy is in any way synonymous with the maintenance or abandonment of our national defenses, be they in Hawaii, Boston harbor, or the Panama Canal. Of course, it is perfectly true that to maintain a vigorous foreign policy and one that is at all unpopular, means the maintenance of an efficient army and navy. But without any vigorous foreign policy, we should, at the same time, need an army and a navy, and both ought to be efficient for the same reason that every city needs an efficient police force.
In considering the advisability of abandoning the Monroe Doctrine, let us attempt to get clearly in mind exactly what is meant by the Monroe Doctrine. We shall find that at different periods of our history, it has meant very different things. When it was promulgated by President Monroe in 1823, it meant that we were afraid that the rising wave of monarchy and despotism in Europe might overwhelm the struggling republics in the New World. We were, in a sense, in the position of the big brother on the edge of the swimming pool, who sees his little brothers swimming under water and about to come to the surface; and who also sees a couple of bullies getting ready to duck them before they can get their breath. As a matter of fact, this was
the only republic, at that time, that had come to the surface, scrambled on to the bank, and shown itself able to stand on its own legs. The little fellows in Spanish-America were swimming hard, but they had not got their heads above water. We believed it to be for our interests to see that they had a square deal and were not interfered with as they came to the surface. We promulgated a highminded, unselfish policy, without a thought of gaining prestige or power in Latin-America. We bravely warned the nations of the continent of Europe not to attempt to inflict their system of government on any land in the western hemisphere, where a democratic or republican form of government had established itself.
From such a high-minded and altruistic position at this, it is a far cry to the connotation which goes with the Monroe Doctrine in the minds of many American citizens of today. Our people have been taught by jingoistic politicians, like the heelers of Tammany Hall, to believe that the Monroe Doctrine means that it is our duty to keep America in order; that it is our policy to allow Europe to have nothing to say about the American republics, and that it would be a national disgrace, almost unthinkable, for us to abandon this sacred shibboleth. It was a Tammany Hall orator, according to Professor Hart, who said, "Tammany Hall is a benevolent institution; Tammany Hall is a patriotic institution; Tammany Hall has the honor of being the first to propose that immortal Monroe Doctrine which blesses and revivifies the world."
And it was a former Tammany politician, who, on being questioned in regard to our present policy with Mexico, stated, a few days ago, that under the Monroe Doctrine it was our duty to go in and annex Mexico, and the sooner we did it, the better.
It is a far cry from the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 to the Monroeism of our politicians and newspapers at the present day. In 1823, this declaration of foreign policy made a profound impression on Europe, and won us the gratitude and the eulogies of the Latin-American republics. At the present time, there is no question that the Monroe Doc
trine is a cause of world-wide irritation and is almost universally hated throughout Latin-America. In the words of a careful student of Pan-American affairs, who has lived many years in various parts of Spanish America, "the two principal results of the Monroe Doctrine are: intense hatred of the United States on the part of powerful and selfrespecting South American nations, able and willing to meet their responsibilities to the countries to whom they are under obligations; and an attempt at evasion of these responsibilities by other Latin-American countries, who, while using the Doctrine where they think they can for such a purpose, equally hate the originators of it."
Contrast this with that memorable sentence in Mr. Cleveland's message to Congress regarding the Venezuela boundary dispute, in which he said that the Monroe Doctrine "was intended to apply to every stage of our national life, and cannot become obsolete while our republic endures."
This was quoted by the editor of the New York Times in a recent article in the Century, in which the part played by the Monroe Doctrine in the Venezuela dispute was carefully brought out. In a recent number of the Times, in an editorial discussion of the present writer's proposal to regard the Monroe Doctrine as obsolete, it was admitted that the Monroe Doctrine was, as a matter of fact, a purely selfish policy. These were the words used:
The Monroe Doctrine was declared by us with reference to our own interests, and is maintained for no other reason. It was not declared with direct regard or thought of the interests of the weaker republics of the continent, and it will be maintained-or abandoned-with more thought of our interests than of theirs.
If that is the ablest defence which can be made for the doctrine in its present form, it is not surprising that we find so much opposition to it on the part of our southern neighbors. General Reyes, former president of the Republic of Colombia, said recently:
Having for many years closely followed, step by step, the development of the American republics and the convulsions of their ardent and vexed democracies, I am more than ever convinced that unity of action with the United States is necessary to ini