April 26, 2011

U.S. Foreign Policy Doctrines: An Overview

Thanks to Wikipedia and my other text resources, here is my best summary of the various doctrines (presidential or otherwise) that have defined and undergirded the United States' foreign policy throughout our history. This is intended as a reference guide.


Proclamation of Neutrality & Farewell Address (Washington): the US is neutral in the conflict between France and Great Britain; the United States will pursue legal proceedings against any American providing assistance to the warring countries; it is the true policy of the US to steer clear of permanent alliances

Monroe Doctrine: further efforts by European countries to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas will be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention; the Western Hemisphere is not to be further colonized by European countries, but the United States will neither interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries

Roosevelt Corollary: a right of the United States exists to intervene in order to stabilize the economic affairs of states in the South America, if they’re unable to pay their international debts

Lodge Corollary: the US forbids any foreign power from acquiring any significant territory in the Western Hemisphere

Stimson Doctrine: the United States does not recognize international territorial changes executed by force; furthermore, the US cannot admit the legality of any situation de facto nor recognize any treaty between those governments which may impair the treaty rights of the United States

Good Neighbor policy (FDR): non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of Latin America to create new economic opportunities and to reassert the influence of the US in Latin America

Truman Doctrine: the policy of the United States is to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures; because totalitarian regimes coerced free peoples, they represent a threat to international peace and the national security of the United States

Eisenhower Doctrine: a country can request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military forces if it is being threatened by armed aggression from another state, specifically the USSR in the Middle East

Kennedy Doctrine: the United States must focus on the containment of Communism and the reversal of Communist progress in the Western Hemisphere (we shall pay any price, bear any burden”)

Johnson Doctrine: Communist dictatorship of a Latin American country is a priority concern of the United States and is no longer a local matter

Nixon Doctrine: the United States henceforth expects its allies to take care of their own military defense, but that the US would aid in defense as requested; the US will honor all previous treaty commitments and continue to provide a nuclear shield against threats on allied nations

Carter Doctrine: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America; the United States would use military force if necessary to defend its national interests there

Reagan Doctrine: the focus of the US will shift from keeping Communism from spreading to eliminating existing Communist governments, from containment to rollback; the United States also will encourage capitalism and democracy in these places; specific nations targeted for rollback are Afghanistan, Angola, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, and Vietnam

Clinton Doctrine: the United States has a national interest in preventing genocide; if it's within the United State’s power to stop genocide, the US will use military force to affect that end

Bush Doctrine: the United States has the right to secure itself against countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups; to prevent hostile acts by adversaries, the United States will act preemptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense if necessary; the US must also advance the cause of freedom and democracy abroad

Obama Doctrine: I have no clue. Maybe we'll see something more definite come out in his next two years.

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