Is the USA pursing the Munroe Doctrine in Jamaica?

Is the USA pursing the Munroe Doctrine in Jamaica?

Linton P

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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The Donald Trump Administration in the United States of America must be well satisfied with the performance of their ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia.

Ambassador Tapia, who was fairly recently appointed in the post in Jamaica, has certainly hit the ground running. He has made it quite clear, both by policies and utterances, that the United States of America is not comfortable with the growing presence and influence of China in the Caribbean.

The ambassador seems to be using classical Munroe Doctrine. The Munroe Doctrine is named after James Munroe, who promulgated this doctrine in 1823. The essence of this doctrine is that the United States of America views as a threat to its interest the presence of any other world power in the Caribbean and South America. The United States of America has pursued this policy continuously since its promulgation, and it continues to arrogantly assert that any growth in the presence of China or Russia, especially in the Caribbean, constitutes a threat to the United States of America, which threat should be met head on and eliminated.

It is with this background that one should assess the uncompromising stand Ambassador Tapia has taken against the growth of investment by China in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the participants in the recent Kingston mini conference with United States of America Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were carefully selected, with those not on board with the 'Munroe Doctrine' being not invited to this conference.

Jamaica's Prime Minster Andrew Holness advanced the divide-and-rule principle when he scornfully announced that others who were not present could have asked to be allowed to attend, or could have asked to be invited if they wanted to attend. This is, perhaps, not the best comment our prime minister could have made about attendance at the mini conference.

At present the United States of America is using the carrot to persuade us to discontinue the relationship with China and to halt the growing influence of China in the Caribbean. However, we should never for any moment believe that the United States of America is not prepared to use the heavy stick if the carrot methodology does not work.

The raw arrogance of the United States of America is laid bare as they pursue this Munroe Doctrine-style of engagement. An example of this is that the United States of America has never assisted us in the construction of any modern highway, yet they are pressuring the Government to abandon the development of highways throughout Jamaica all because the Chinese are the ones developing these projects. The view of the United States of America is that these projects offer the Chinese “influence” and not an advance in the development of Jamaica.

The United States of America, “The Eagle”, is facing off with China, “The Dragon”, and the position of the Eagle is that Ambassador Tapia, though yet to use the expression Munroe Doctrine, is pursuing that policy in a puritanical way in Jamaica.

We can only hope that our prime minister is reading and understanding the bigger picture, because at the end of the day it is not the interest of Jamaica that is the paramount consideration of the United States of America. The paramount objective of the United States of America is to keep China from becoming a competing force in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Linton P Gordon is an attorney-at-law. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or

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