The Monroe Doctrine should be enforced

The American government has a duty to protect our safety


By Neil Singh, Collegian Contributor

If you were to check social media and find countless numbers of your friends or news sources exclaiming in terror about the United States entering a path to crisis along the lines of the Cuban Missile Crisis, would you be surprised? This writer certainly would be, as the world has quietly taken such a path in the last year, unnoticed by the general American public.

In December 2018, while you were likely enjoying a hectic Christmas season or panicking over the government shutdown, American intelligence officers panicked over the first deployment of nuclear-capable jet bombers to the Western Hemisphere by a foreign power since the Cold War, when Russia moved two of its Tupolev Tu-160 jet bombers to a base in Venezuela.

Considering Venezuela’s horrifically repressive government and relationship to Cuba, it might appear as though history is repeating itself. The situation has been relatively restrained so far. The Soviet heirship in the Russian Federation is a skeleton of what the Soviets could achieve in power projection, and Russians dare not provoke American belligerence with the deployment of missiles to the country, but the fact that it has hundreds of troops and nuclear aviation present for the support of an illegitimate and cruel dictator in our hemisphere ought to be a cause for concern already.

No matter their stance on American intervention in Venezuela, or even American intervention in general, every politician in our government ought to be making it one of their top priorities to help challenge this transgression of the centuries-standing Monroe Doctrine, which prevents European interference in our hemisphere. To not do so is a dereliction of not only the American government’s duty to protect to its people’s safety, but of its undeniable moral obligations to the people of Latin America.

Consider that what the Monroe Doctrine represents today is not resistance against the old-school gang of colonizers from Europe, but rather American responsibility in the hemisphere. With the end of the Cold War, the United States became the mediator and architect of the mutual growth across Latin America, signing free trade agreements with many of the major countries in the region. However, the benefits of free trade came with the acknowledgment of the costs of the realist foreign policy employed by the United States to guarantee communism did not spread in its metaphorical backyard. Under Bill Clinton, this acknowledgment came with an understanding of a moral debt the United States now had to its neighbors, to ensure that its brothers and sisters below the border were never subjected to tyranny, of both the right and left variants.

Thus, by allowing Russia to continue its aggressive military support for Venezuela inside our hemisphere, not only has the administration allowed a hostile nuclear-capable power easy access to every major population center in the U.S., but it has also allowed itself to break this pact with Latin America.

Rectifying this would not be a trivial matter, as Russia has grown extremely bold internationally, taking actions such as attempting an assassination on an ex-Russian diplomat on British soil with a chemical weapon, forcibly annexing Crime and fighting a destabilizing war in the Ukrainian province of Donbass with disguised troops. Despite its failing economy and dying populace, Russia remains the holder of most of the USSR’s nuclear arsenal and thus has been virtually immune to military challenges on any of these disturbing transgressions of international norms and laws. Furthermore, with the Trump administration growing increasingly stingy with additional sanctions on Russia, and Germany under Merkel growing closer with Russia economically, it has appeared that international pushback on Russian activities has weakened in the last decade. To suddenly reverse policy against a resurgent aggressor would require America to face a clear and imminent crisis for the administration to recognize the urgency required.

Make no mistake, that emergency is exactly what we are facing in Venezuela today. All that needs to be done is to make the administration face it and be given no alternative but to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, and demand an unconditional removal of Russian military assets from Venezuela. Write to your representative and Senator, and urge them to take action if the presidential administration will not.

Neil Singh is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]