I’ve never been sure about the lessons of history, but since we only have the history of the past to go on, it may be a good time to reprise U.S. historical responses to foreign intervention in the Western Hemisphere.
The crisis over Ukraine, which may be facing an imminent Russian invasion, is an excellent example of the need for greater and more careful analysis of the history, issues, individuals, and institutions that are contributing to the problem—and not the solution—of the current turbulence. Unfortunately, decision-makers typically and unwittingly use the “lessons” of history to…
First of all, let’s deal with the issue of Israel as an apartheid nation, which Israeli information policy strongly denies. When serious human rights violations are committed by one racial group to maintain a system of prolonged oppression of another racial group, as in South Africa from the 1940s to the 1990s, international law refers to this as a crime against humanity or a policy of apartheid. South Africa’s apartheid sparked intense international and domestic opposition to that country. This hasn’t been the case with regard to Israel. Nevertheless, the fifty-years of apartheid in South Africa is echoed by the fifty-year period in Israel, starting with the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in the wake of the Six-Day War in 1967.
There is no doctrinal statement in American diplomatic history that is more fundamental than the Monroe Doctrine. It was designed to draw a strategic line between the New World and the Old, and to alert the European powers that their political influence and presence was no longer welcome in the Western Hemisphere. No doctrinal statement has been enforced as often as the Monroe Doctrine, which has been used to justify U.S. intervention throughout Central America and the Caribbean. The Monroe Doctrine was cited in the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, a perfect failure, as well as the Cuban missile crisis, a diplomatic triumph.