Aborting the Monroe Doctrine
For almost two hundred years, the Monroe Doctrine has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy. First proclaimed in December 1823, the message from President James Monroe to the imperialist ruling houses of Europe was bold and unmistakable: The Western Hemisphere, including the Latin American colonies that were throwing off European rule, was not open to further colonization, and the U.S. would view any attempts by Europeans to extend their existing colonies into independent American states or to interfere with those states’ attempts to achieve independence as hostile acts against us, the United States of America.
The United States thereby assumed a role as protector of the sovereignty of our Latin American sister republics. Today, that sovereignty is being threatened by European nations through the UN. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) is reporting that Western European nations are bringing economic pressures to bear through the UN to force Latin American countries to liberalize their abortion laws. Cristina Gutierrez writes in C-FAM’s authoritative “Friday Fax” how European governments are exerting heavy-handed influence through UN agencies, demanding that nations like El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize and Bolivia enact abortion-on-demand. And not just these little Latin states are being bossed. Such Latin giants as Argentina, Brazil and Chile are being hectored about their domestic affairs by European nations whose own houses are a shambles.
Pro-abortion groups are hailing these pressures as necessary extensions of “human rights.” They howl for the Latin nations to be judged by the UN under its “Universal Periodic Review” processes, as authorized by the UN General Assembly five years ago.
The problem for the UN bureaucrats and Eurocrats, writes Gutierrez, is this: Abortion has never been recognized by the UN as a human right. Groups like C-FAM, Concerned Women for America and Britain’s SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) have labored long and hard to prevent the UN from declaring abortion a human right. The Vatican Delegation to the UN has been indefatigable in defending the rights of unborn children in that world body.
Where is the Obama administration in all of this? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton famously called abortion “wrong.” But that was in 1994 (Newsweek, October 31st issue), when her husband Bill Clinton was facing a shellacking at the polls.
Before that and ever since, Hillary has aggressively promoted abortion-on-demand. She said nothing about forced abortion in her visits with Chinese officials in Beijing. She never raised human rights with the communists there.
She went to Ottawa, Canada and tongue-lashed our closest allies. She demanded they include abortion in their life-saving foreign aid to African mothers. The only places Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have not pushed abortion is in Antarctica and on the Moon.
Therefore, we should not be surprised that Sec. Clinton has done nothing to uphold the Monroe Doctrine and nothing to defend our Latin American allies from this new form of European imperialism. What has become of the Monroe Doctrine? Will it, too, be aborted? What has become of U.S. treaty obligations to defend the sovereignty of our Latin American friends? Are they being abrogated?
There’s a great irony here. European nations are all at below-replacement fertility levels. They are all facing budget crises. They are themselves in danger of collapse because of their socialist domestic policies. Yet here are these moribund states reaching bony fingers across the Atlantic to put pressures on fecund Latin nations.
Population controllers are the new imperialists. There is even a further irony in all of this. The UN’s wealthiest member nations cannot survive with the policies they are pushing. Soon, they will be forced to cut back on their contributions to the UN itself. That cutback cannot come soon enough.
Jonathan Last recently wrote of the birth dearth in the pages of The Wall Street Journal:
Low fertility is a world-wide phenomenon and it causes all sorts of very real problems. As populations age and shrink, the labor force contracts and the tax base dwindles while the costs of support for pensioners increase. Then economic dynamism sputters as the demand for everything (except health care) decreases. Low fertility is modernity’s great trap.
It’s a trap — and it’s a crypt. The Culture of Death is not content with its own morbidity. It hates life. It wants to drag the Latin American nations into the same crypt into which it is rapidly descending.
American policy should be to defend our Latin sisters from this new invasion, not to aid the invaders. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are on the side of the European imperialists.
We need to restore the Mexico City Doctrine to its rightful place in diplomatic circles. This Reagan-era policy deserves to stand with the Monroe Doctrine as cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy.
Ken Blackwell is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council.