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American Geopolitical Interest Essay

1673 words - 7 pages

A Game of Strategy

Mark Twain once defined the term, sphere of influence to be, “A courteous modern
phrase which means robbing your neighbor—for your neighbor's benefit.” Like Twain,
many claim that economic interests have caused America to rob its Southern neighbors and
act in a self-seeking manner. Others claim that the ideological conviction that America
altruistically acts according to its neighbor’s benefit has strongly influenced America’s
international behavior. However, America, possessing a huge GDP at its disposal, a strong
government, and a patriotic society realized that these assets alone could not guarantee the
nation’s survival. It must be able to ensure national security as well as protect its interests
abroad. Although it is true that ideology, economic welfare, as well as domestic politics all
have played a significant role in U.S. foreign policy, the fundamental factor that has
governed American foreign policy has been geopolitical objectives.
The Monroe Doctrine, contrived by President Monroe in 1823, is a lucid example of
America’s pursuit of geopolitical interests in the Pan-American region. The Doctrine was an
audacious declaration to the powerful European nations to abstain from the region. It
followed the spirit of “Manifest Destiny”, the rousing conviction that Americans had the right
to seize the territory surrounding them. According to Coerver and Hall, the essential
principle that this Doctrine was based upon was the “conviction that the United States was
destined to expand”(13). The authors proceed to remark of the State Department’s concern
that Spain’s loss of its empire may yield to other European powers taking over various areas
of Latin America, especially the prospect of British occupation in Cuba (13). Even Dexter
Perkins, a professor of history in 1927, acknowledges that the Monroe Doctrine, “was the
result of the advance of Russia on the northwest coast of America, and was designed to
serve as a protest against Russian expansion”(Coerver and Hall 73). The United States,
2
feeling threatened by the ongoing European influence in the vicinity, used this doctrine to
intervene in Latin America in order to establish itself as the rightful authority in its
hemisphere. Gaston Nerval, a Latin American diplomat, could not declare it any clearer:
“The Monroe Doctrine has been distorted to serve as an instrument of the hegemony of the
United States in Latin America”(La Rosa & Mora 88). The Platt Amendment of 1901, an
extension of the Monroe Doctrine, also fortifies the importance of America’s national
security, as the island’s proximity fostered a motivation to expel Spanish influence in the
area and further the domination of America’s military, economy, and political strategy.
Economic interests indisputably were a driving force in this protective spirit over
Latin America, as America’s desire to infiltrate Latin American markets led to the desire to
reduce European trade in the...

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