Too Late to Revive a Sane U.S. Foreign Policy? The Roots of the Monroe Doctrine Revisited


    by Matthew Ehret, Strategic Culture:

    Rather than continuing to play by the rules of those who wish all evidence to contain Russia, it was decided that a new approach was needed.

    Since Russia’s decision to militarily intervene into Ukraine, a darkness that had long remained in the shadows has been brought to the surface. This darkness took the form of an intention that could no longer hide behind the veneer of “plausible deniability” or self-congratulatory devotees of a ‘liberal rules-based international order’ that has been repeatedly blared like a broken record onto the world since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992.

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    Rather than continuing to play by the rules of those who wish all evidence to militarily contain Russia with a NATO-controlled Ballistic Missile Shield targeting Russian defenses, it was decided that a new approach was needed and the game was called out.

    Was it the evidence of the bioweapons facilities in Ukraine long treated as conspiracy theory, though now admitted to having existed by Victoria Nuland as the straw that broke the camel’s back? Was it the evidence of an immanent assault led by neo-Nazi forces onto Donbass and Crimea that had been the deciding factor? Some speculate that it was Zelensky’s February 19 call for Ukraine to break the 1994 Budapest Treaty and adopt nuclear weapons.

    In truth, we may never know the specific cause of Putin’s decision, but one this is sure.

    A war was NOT begun on February 24 2022. The war against Russia was actually launched on February 22, 2014 when the USA finalized its regime change on the democratically elected government of Victor Yanukovych and began what some have termed a slow-motion Operation Barbarossa over a prolonged 8-year period with one objective in mind: The total destruction and subjugation of the Russian Federation as outlined in Zbigniew Brzezinski’s Grand Chessboard in 1997.

    With the shadow creatures having been forced to the surface, it has become increasingly clear that the virtuous image projected by the western alliance is anything but peaceful, or democratic. Rather than capturing the many obvious opportunities to resolve the crisis diplomatically over the past eight years, the USA, UK, and Kiev have instead chosen only the path of sabotage, slander, and economic war via unilateral sanctions.

    So what is to be done?

    I honestly don’t know if today’s USA is too far gone for its better constitutional foreign policy traditions to be revived, but I do know that if this history continues to remain buried as it has for the past several generations, then any small chance to save the republic and preserve world peace will certainly be destroyed.

    The Strategic Significance of 1776 on International Affairs

    Although many have been fed the myth that the USA was a nation bred for global imperial ambitions at its birth, the truth is far different. Certainly, it was never a utopic bastion of liberty untainted by hypocrisy or corruption that some romantic historians have painted over years, but inversely it was never a unidimensional evil slaveocracy as cynical Critical Race Theoreticians maintain. The USA should rather be understood as an unfinished symphony of sorts, whose practical performance too often fell far short than its sound constitutional ideals.

    For starters, it is important to appreciate the fact that America’s founding documents (the 1776 Declaration of Independence, and 1787 Constitution) were the first examples in history of a form of government premised on the idea that all people were made equal, endowed with inalienable rights with no mention for race, creed, gender or class. Additionally, the notion that the legitimacy of a nation’s laws arose from the consent of the governed, and mandated to support the general welfare both in the present and long into posterity, was a profound break from the previous notions of Hobbesian law of ‘might makes right’ that had governed hereditary institutions for eons.

    The practical expression of these principles to foreign policy were discussed at length by President Washington who warned the young nation of avoiding the dual evils of foreign entanglements externally and party politics domestically when he asked his fellow citizens during his outgoing address of 1796:

    “Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour or caprice?”

    President Washington painted by Gilbert Stuart featuring his right hand resting on the Constitution

    During this speech, Washington explained that IF the USA were to survive, it would be due to an international policy of “extending our commercial relations, to have with them [foreign nations] as little political connection as possible.”

    Some have slandered Washington’s call for reduced political enmeshment with other nations as isolationist, but he always promoted international commerce driven by mutual benefit. It was merely imperial operations, intrigue, deceit and the new age of color revolutions starting with the Jacobin Terror during Washington’s presidency which the great leader saw as an poisonous mess that would destroy the young republic if it became enmired in foreign escapades.

    John Quincy Adams and the Anti-Imperial Origins of the Monroe Doctrine

    John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) extended these ideas further still by drafting the Monroe Doctrine during his stint as Secretary of State from 1817-1825 which he knew could only work if America ventures “not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”.

    President John Quincy Adams with his hand resting on a sketch of Washington

    That is to say, as long as the USA focused her efforts on fixing her own problems with a focus on internal improvements, then the Monroe Doctrine would be a blessing for both herself and the international community.

    John Quincy Adams also understood the danger of the growing British-run fifth column inside of the heart of the USA then centered around the Federalist Party. While serving as U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Adams wrote to his mother in 1811 (just as Napoleon was preparing his Russian invasion and as Britain were on the verge of a new war against the USA):

    “If that Party [the Federalist Junto of New England] are not effectually put down in Massachusetts, as completely as they already are in New York, and Pennsylvania, and all the southern and western states, the Union is gone. Instead of a nation, coextensive with the North American continent, destined by God and nature to be the populous and most powerful people ever combined under one social compact, we shall have an endless multitude of little insignificant clans and tribes at eternal war with one another for a rock, or a fish pond, the sport and fable of European masters and oppressors.” (1)

    John Quincy Adams firmly understood the world historic significance of the American revolution not as a geographical phenomenon among 13 isolated British colonies, but potentially as the spark of a new paradigm for all humanity liberated from hereditary institutions. At the turn of the 19th century, there were still French, British, Spanish and Russian imperial interests which all had ambitions to gain control of the territories of the Americas forcing the Hobbesian paradigm of war and intrigue into the new world. In the mind of Adams, as all great American patriots, this had to be stopped.

    During the July 4 celebrations in 1821, Adams noted that the Declaration of Independence “was the first solemn declaration by a nation of the only LEGITIMATE foundation of civil government. It was the corner stone of a new fabric, destined to cover the surface of the globe. It demolished at a stroke the lawfulness of all governments founded upon conquest. It swept away all the rubbish of accumulated centuries of servitude. It announced in practical form to the world the transcendent truth of the unalienable sovereignty of the people.”

    Did Adams believe that “destined to cover the surface of the globe” meant that the USA was destined to become a Pax Americana subduing the weak to her hegemony? Not at all.

    On January 23, 1822 Adams wrote that colonial institutions “are incompatible with the essential character of our institutions.” He also said that “great colonial establishments are engines of wrong, and that in the progress of social improvement it will be the duty of the human family to abolish them, as they are now endeavoring to abolish the slave trade.”

    Adams understood the importance of seeing the world as “a community of principle” where win-win cooperation based upon the self-improvement of all parts and the whole international community as more than the mere sum of parts, would constantly bring renewal and creative vitality to diplomacy. It was a top-down systemic approach to policy that saw economics, security and political affairs interwoven into one unified system. This is an integrative way of thinking that has been sorely lost in the hyper theoretical, compartmentalized mode of zero-sum thinking dominant in today’s neo-liberal think tank complex.

    It was for this reason, that Adams advocated the use of Hamiltonian national banking and large-scale infrastructure projects like the Erie Canal and railways throughout his years as Secretary of State and President. IF this system were the causal force behind the growth of American interests across the continent or the world more broadly, it would not be through brute force, but rather by the uplifting of standards of living of all parties.

    Adams, Lincoln and National Banking

    Working with a young protégé named Abraham Lincoln, Adams fought tooth and nail against the Spanish-American War of 1846 which saw a deep abuse of his Monroe Doctrine.

    Both a young Lincoln and John Quincy Adams had earlier organized to get Whig leader William Harrison (1773-1841) elected president in 1841 with a focus on reviving Hamilton’s national bank which had earlier been killed by President Andrew Jackson to great damage to the economic sovereignty of the USA itself.

    Although this ugly chapter of history has been scrubbed from the popular records, the operation to kill the second National Bank in 1832 resulted in a total collapse of all public works in order to pay the national debts using a technique not that different from the IMF demands for austerity on debtor nations in our modern era. Credit was to farmers and entrepreneurs dried up, speculation ran rampant, thousands of local currencies (many counterfeit) ran rampant, and the growth of slave-picked cotton took over the production of the nation’s productivity like a cancer.

    Sadly even though legislation to revive a national bank had passed both Houses of Congress and only awaited the signature of President Harrison, his mysterious death after only three months in office put an end to that dream.

    The best elements of the Whig party regrouped to form the anti-slavery republican party in 1856 after the second Whig president Zachary Taylor also died of poisoning in 1851 after only 2 years in office.

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