By Josef Joffe
I. U.S. Doctrines from Washington to Obama
Foreign policy doctrines are as American as apple pie, and as old as the Republic. Start with George Washington’s Farewell Address: The “great rule” in dealing with other nations was to extend “our commercial relations” and “to have with them as little political connection as possible.” So stay out of Europe, and keep Europe away from us.
Echoing Washington, Thomas Jefferson promulgated the “no-entangling alliances” doctrine. John Quincy Adams decreed: “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” James Monroe told off the Europeans: Stay out, the Americas are for the Americans, North and South. Teddy Roosevelt doubled down by proclaiming the right to intervene in Latin America.
Harry S. Truman went global. The U.S. would support “free people who are resisting … subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” So did Dwight D. Eisenhower: He would commit U.S. forces “to secure and protect” all nations against “overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism.” John F. Kennedy famously declaimed: “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”