What is Monroe doctrine? Is it applicable to the world today?

The Monroe Doctrine was a US foreign policy regarding European countries in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression, requiring U.S. intervention.President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his annual State of the Union Address to Congress.

It is applicable to international relations today. For example, the Ukraine crisis. Russia is applying the US’s Monroe Doctrine to their own “near-abroad.” The US would not tolerate Mexico or Canada making a military alliance with China or Russia. Russia’s resistance to Ukraine joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) follows the same logic.

China is asserting sovereignty in the South China Sea, angering the Philippines and Vietnam. It is China’s own version of the Monroe Doctrine.

Indian strategic experts believe that the Monroe Doctrine has become ‘an article of faith’ within the Indian strategic community. In policy terms, this means building a ‘blue-water navy’ capable of high-seas combat. It also means discouraging fellow South Asian governments from ‘granting military bases and facilities to great powers.’

Experts believe that the need of the hour for India is to think big and based on India’s geostrategic centrality, India should declare an Indian Monroe Doctrine sphere encompassing the South Asia and Indian Ocean. This grand vision of great power should be the lodestar guiding all policies.

Credit: Sri Ram IAS.

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