Saturday, 30 September 2006

Websites of the Week: NNDB and TypoGenerator

We had two Websites of the Week (aka WotW or WW) this week.

WotW(s) (1-8 October 2006): NNDB and TypoGenerator

NNDB is like an expanded, broader, and interconnected (entry wise) Who's Who book (i.e. a repository of information on various important or influential people), but based on the Internet.

TypoGenerator is a nifty, fun tool that randomly chooses various fonts, placement, layouts, colours, backgrounds, and images (using pics from Google Images) on the text you enter.

I make it a policy to only link websites that are either free or have free registration on this blog (except when noted). This rule applies to all WotWs too.

I would also like to add to a list of websites I had come up with in this previous post; the Polling Report seems to also be an exceptional resource of poll data for politics and public opinion in the United States.

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Friday, 29 September 2006

President Bush attacks his critics... again

US President George W. Bush says critics of his are caving into 'terrorist propaganda'. How does he expect to make ANY intellectual and/or rational friends (with voters, and for political capital, that is) with this kind of attutude. Just recently, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said that critics were also bad, and Bush has not refrained from questioning any critics in the past. Without the free press, which Bush & Co also insult, and criticism, the US would not be a democracy, would it? How can we spread it then? See this post for more background.

He must really not want people to see the whole NIE report (how classified could it be? just release it already!), or else the people he thinks support the 'terrorists' would have even more 'propaganda' (he thinks of many facts that way, you know). It was funny when the mainstream US media was going bonkers (a word which, for some reason, my dictionary does not recognize) over the president's 60th health check-up earlier this year, but why didn't they push for a psych evaluation too?

You may also want to check out the going-ons in the beltway with the weekly Zeitgeist Checklist from Slate.

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I'm in the mood for Diet Coke and Mentos, you?

Video(s) of the week...
Here are some of my favourite Diet Coke and Mentos videos (if you don't know what the heck I am talking about, watch them... it is all real!).

Maybe this is the solution to all our fuel problems too, Diet Coke and Mentos helping NASA launch an ultra-expensive trip to Mars? Just a humorous thought to chew on.

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Thursday, 28 September 2006

Good day, bad day in the news (28 September 2006)

The news below covers more than just the news so far today, but is still developing or has developed today.

Good news for...
* The Hamas government in the PA (some politicians being freed)
* The provocation/encouragement/flourishing of terrorist recruiters and sympathizers (NIE report which was leaked — more on which is coming soon)

Bad news for...
* People who like to see footage of death (in re to Steve Irwin's stingray accident)
* Artificial trans fats, fast food establishments in NYC (i.e. the regulations against)
* George Allen (more racial comments... ?)

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Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Ads added

As you can see, I have added some Google AdSense advertisements to the blog. Please comment on the placement or content of these adverts; your response to them. All [constructive] feedback is welcome on anything in this blog.


A philosophical question: human perception of positive and negative

Why are we — as human beings — more prone to focus on the negative things around us (e.g. news) than the positive? Is it because we have some biologicially-wired utopian notion making us feel that things should be good anyway so we focus on the faults and bad more than the strengths and the good? Or is it a societal and environmental aspect. This ties into the nature and nurture debate (of which I have written a paper on), and the philosophies of logic, psychology, and nature.

Anyone hold any beliefs or have any takes on this question of how we view the negative more than the positive?

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Poem: "Dreaming Of You"

Here are two versions of an original poem I recently wrote. Let me know what you thought of them (by commenting).

The poem is in Villanelle style — the first one does not have consistent 'b' rhyming patterns though the second does.

Dreaming Of You
Why must my dreams never come true?
I wander down the path;
and on the path, I find you.

From many come a few.
Only you can free me from my life's wrath.
Oh, why must my dreams never come true?

When I scream, who will come to rescue me? Who?
Our lives converge in a helpless place...
And on the path, I find you.

If we bond together, life will begin anew.
I get closer to you the more I chase,
so why must my dreams never come true?

When you run from me, is that a clue?
Am I do die a lonely and pointless existence, am I to die alone?
On the path, will I find you?

As my life is wilting, my love blossoms for you.
I come to you with my heart in hand.
Would you fly if I flew?
And on the path, I find you.

Dreaming Of You (revised)
Why must my dreams never come true?
I wander down the path, looking into space;
And on the path, I find you.

From many come a few.
My life's wrath only you can erase.
Oh why must my dreams never come true?

When I scream, who will come to rescue me? Who?
Our lives converge in a helpless place...
And on the path, I find you.

If we bond together, life will begin anew.
I get closer to you the more I chase,
So why must my dreams never come true?

When you run from me, is that a clue?
Am I to die alone, wallowing in my disgrace?
On the path, will I find you?

As my life is wilting, my love blossoms for you.
I come to you with my heart in hand, mixed expressions on my face,
Would you fly if I flew?
On the path, I find you.

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Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Note to absolute denyers of climate change/global warming...

What next, you will say the Holocaust didn't happen or that humans will never evolve and have never done so? Yes, the data is a bit shady but, coming from so many different models and sources, that can be expected.

Look before you leap, learn before you form such a strong opinion. Not everyone is a scare monger (yet many who deny climate change also deny that President Bush is exploiting and scare-mongering in his metaphorical "war on terror") and the weather in the American South right now has nothing to do with the long run. There are short weather trends. Over the last few years, there has been record temperature changes, a few weeks of cool in one small area does not also change the fact that there was a multi-continential heat wave this past summer — also record high.

Relatively very few climate and like experts dispute the fact that are environment is changing in temperature due to human-originated effects.

Nonetheless, restrictions aimed at slowing down global warming are helpful anyway.

I will add links, references, and articles, as well as more on my views and the other side's points once I am finished collecting/overviewing them.

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Monday, 25 September 2006

News for 25 September 2006

As can possibly be said for any day, there is no shortage of news — and that goes for today too. The over this past weekend, I have been bookmarking stories and writing down ideas for blog posts (especially on the US bill on interrogation and trial of detained persons). I am still not finished, but will be soon.

Back to today's news. How about a news link zeitgeist list (aka 'news to watch' or 'in the news'): We have big news on British PM Tony Blair and PM hopeful Gordon Brown (plus the Labour Party in general), various news on air travel, reports on the "war on terror", the continuing Osama Bin Laden death/sickness speculation, Donald Rumsfeld, more on the detainee bill, a[n under-reported] global warming report, Jackass Number Two (NYT liked it), multiple stories on former President Bill Clinton, the Pope and Islam, oil (prices going down), the developing aftermath of the Thailand coup, changes in the Chinese Communist Party, and, last but not least, don't forget to eat your spinich!

Oh, and Technorati, please stop saying I haven't updated my blog in six days. Index it already!!! (You'd think after all of those pings, their bots would get the hint).

Additional info revised, added 26 September 2006.

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Saturday, 23 September 2006

Bin Laden rumors laden with questions...

In the news, conflicting reports and statements; statements some people deny and some support. That is the situation of what is thought of the status of Al-Qaeda head honcho Osama Bin Laden. Is he dead, close to death, sick, or possibly fine (or partly fine; i.e. unbeknownst to many).

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Bin Laden truly dead?

Saudi Arabian intelligence cited by L'Est Republician, a respected French newspaper, have allegedly said that Osama Bin Laden, head of Al-Qaeda and mastermind behind the 11 September terrorist plot, is dead. The story and claim have received no known corroboration. As of now, a probe has been launched investigating the leak and the merits of the information received.

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Friday, 22 September 2006

Counting down to US elections — 45 days

On the 7 November 2006, many Americans will go to the polls to vote for their respective Senators, Representatives or governors. It is a time of great political polarization, and change, in the US and this blog's writer will do his best to cover the race in the best way possible.

Today I will list some websites to check out:
* The New York Times' 2006 Election Guide
* Slate's Election Scorecard
* Washington Post's Campaign 2006

* CQ Politics
* The Cook Political Report
* DC Political Report
* Larry Sabato's 'Crystal Ball'

* Pollster
* Gallup polls
* Zogby polls


* Harper's report of democracy, just thought I would throw it out... an interesting Google find

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Have you failed me, "Law & Order"? (TV talk)

Let me just start out saying I am not the kind of person who watches much television. The TV I do watch is restricted to episodes of decent shows I have not seen before. That being said, the season premiere of 15-year (or so) American TV crime/legal drama veteran, "Law & Order" was quite disappointing. L&O is one of the shows I can always count on; maybe because of that I had set the bar too high.

Detective Fontana — who I was starting to warm up some after he had replaced Det. Briscoe (one of my favourite characters of all time — has been replaced by a newbie with what sounds like no experience. Never before in Law & Order history (that I know of) have you had such a young detective pair. What was Dick Wolf, mastermind behind the L&O franchise (writer, executive producer, etc) thinking? Also, since the short-lived ADA Borgia was killed off (literally) at the closing of the last season, we have yet another new ADA. Maybe I will feel different next week, but "Law & Order" reruns (new episodes to me,mind you) are starting to look really good — and nostalgic — right now. There were also plenty of flaws in the story-line... I think the premiere of L&O:CI, while also having a new character introduced (the Major Case Squad's new captain), was much, much better.

In other TV news, I did not get a chance to watch NBC's "Studio 60", but I am TiVo-ing a rerun of the pilot episode and will skip through to see if it is any good.

I will probably post some more important news soon tonight (EDT).

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In leu of Technorati acting like a pompus brat that says I have not updated the blog in four days even after a barrage of pinging for the past several days, I will also using tags... which is why you see duplicate tags.


Thursday, 21 September 2006

Coup coup cachoo

In case you haven't heard, meaning you have not read world news the past several days or did not see the story, there has been a coup d'etat in Thailand by the army there. The Guardian seemed to have plenty of insight on the issue, and The Economist has a detailed look at the matter (they got a new site layout too). There has been no shortage of dialogue on the topic — as is the case in nearly any newsworthy event.

I think that is there is a coup, the people should lead it. Why is it that the military led the overthrow of the government, and the poor now feel abandoned? I remember reading an article (which I subsequently forgot to bookmark or email to myself) in which a lower-class taxi driver was interviewed. He said that the former government had been — however corrupt — good for the poor in the country. I have failed to read thoroughly about Thai politics, but I will be sure to in the coming days... maybe by then my position will change. For now, I am still in the middle.

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Disunited Nations

Oh that devil! I am talking, of course, about the President of the United States, recently labeled by populist Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez as 'the devil' (what will he think of next) during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. Of course, the Democrats refuse (by the way, that last link to a CNN article seems to be biased well against Chavez, liberal press my ass) to let Bush, their nemesis (if you will), get pummeled. while some international delegates applauded Chavez's comments, many US politicians, pundits, and other figures fumed.

My favourite quote:

You don't come into my country; you don't come into my congressional district and you don't condemn my president....
If there's any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans, whether they voted for him or not.

--Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York

The UN seems to be a hot topic the past few days. Fred Kaplan wrote a good article in Slate about Bush's recent UN speech.

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Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Lazy Wednesday... (featuring TV talk)

Sorry no posts (besides this one) today. I bookmarked some news stories, and will type up some original content tomorrow. Over the next few days, there should be a fair amount of posts.

Anyway, anyone seen any good season premieres on TV? I watched the Law & Order: Criminal Intent premiere last night, very intense — pulled me in (it always peaks your attention when one of the main characters is kidnapped or whatnot). L&O: CI got about 13 million (in the US) according to Nielsen's ratings. More annoying, NBC has moved Law & Order to Fridays at 10, from its senior position of Wednesdays at 10. The West Wing (which I only discovered when the show was ending — but it still has repeats on Bravo) and Law & Order are my two favourite drama shows.

Well, I guess writing about television shows counts some [as a substantial post], but I will blog about more important matters tomorrow.

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Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Links to today's news (19 September 2006)

More meaty content to be posted soon, and I will find some of my favorite funny (and otherwise) online videos and post them up too, when I get around to it.

Google News
WP - McCain and Republicans
CNN - US Congress debate
MSNBC - Iran issue, Bush v. Chirac
Reuters - Bush at UN
ABC News -
Google search - Iraq
Google search - Sudan Darfur
NYT - Iran issue
Digg - Irwin
Digg - Ford/GM
Digg - Carter and US influence
ABC News - Shuttle Atlantis

Digg - Hungary protests
Digg - Bush and Pope
Digg - Coulter

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More dead than often reported in Darfur

More developments (Digg story) on the details of a vast conflict many have either chosen to ignore, or forgot about (that goes for much of the US media and global community too). Just compare the number of Google sites that come up when you search for "sudan" and/or "darfur"... it is low compared to searching for "Anna Nicole Smith" or "Snoopy" (random, I know).

Maybe I will make an upcoming week Darfur Week. Even though the [official] Darfur Day has already passed... this conflict deserves a week IMO.

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Monday, 18 September 2006

Some info on me and this blog...

Yes, I seem to be lazy as hell today for some reason or another.
But the good news is that I mapped out some cool ideas for a couple in-depth articles (coming soon) last night on the back of a newspaper envelope with a silver Sharpe whilst listening to a podcast.

Oh yeah, you can find me on and Digg and Wikipedia (I spend much more time on the latter two, kill some time on the former-most).
I will be adding some more links to the sidebar, umm, maybe today if I get around to it; then you can see all of the sites I waste... I mean... spend my time on.

Just so all readers know, always feel free to make constructive comments on any post — questions, comments, anything!
And you can Digg all of my posts too (see button below).

I will get around to making a blog policy or extended "about this blog"/"about me" page sometime during the next couple of weeks (unless anyone so desires me to make it in the next couples of days).

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A note:
I added tags on this article only because it had me and this blog as the topic. I don't want to waste time double-tagging (i.e. Technorati and tags) on each post; I know I can use tags acting as Technorati tags, but then they loose some of their functionality. Anyone know if I can hide the tags using (marks put in there on purpose) and still have them work?


News to watch today (18 September 2006)

Insightful article (on American conservatives out-reproducing liberals... scary thoughts arise!) and important issue to watch (the Iran nuclear situation).

See also more on the Geneva Conventions debate (McCain stands his ground) as well as the Pope getting slammed (more) and whatnot. This comes [even] after he made an apology that seemed unlikely (to me at least); after all of that talk of him 'not making an apology' for his statement calling Islam violent in nature. Even if said apology was inadequate, when was the last time the Pope apologized? Especially to another faith. I am not one of the Islamophobics in the West (i.e. North America and Western Europe), but [I think] this whole thing is getting out of control!

By the way, I am agnostic — i.e. I find no way to know is there is a god, and think that it is impossible to know — and try to keep my opinions on 'traditional' religion balanced, as I try with all topics. Some day soon I will write up some posts on my existing philosophical views (obviously not today though).

If you want more dirt on the latest news, you can just go to Google News.

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Sunday, 17 September 2006

Global economic power shifting

The state of the global economy as the World Bank and IMF begin to assemble? Depends who you ask. This article (Digg story) covers news and details (with a spot of opinion) of the worldwide economic situation and the influence of China and other developing giants.

What will the balance of money in the world look like decades from now? Europe and North America may not like it, for the [main economic] superpowers of the future (if superpowers even exist now or then, I doubt there will be a 'superpower' 50 years from now) will not be the US, UK, France, or Germany, it will be China or Turkey or India or Brazil... (I think I have illustrated my point).

I will be writing up some economic views on globalization and the market soon, for all you blog-reading economy buffs ;) .

Some globalization- and global economy-related links...
* [1]
* [2]
* [3]
* [4]
* [5]
* [6]

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Victory for opposition in Swedish elections

Breaking news(Digg story): The opposition Moderate Party has claimed victory over the long-ruling Social Democrats, according to the latest numbers in the polls.

In the Swedish general election, the Alliance for Sweden, led by the centre-right (economic liberalism, conservative in terms of believing in individual rights) Moderate Party, won the election. This gave the Social Democratic Party their worst election loss in decades. The Social Democrats came to power with the ideals of a social democracy (a relatively moderate and left-of-centre semi-socialist idealism believing in democracy, but far from believing the ideals of communism or "old" traditional socialism). They created a universal welfare and suffrage system while making Sweden one of the most educated, well off, and sought after (e.g. HDI) government within Europe and elsewhere.

Although the Social Democratic Party won more votes and has more seats, the parliamentary alliance between the members of the Alliance for Sweden have the majority with their combined votes and seats. The current Social Democratic Prime Minister Göran Persson has conceded defeat and acknowledged the Alliance's win.

Because of the Swede's tight welfare system, it is believed that many voted for the centre-right Moderates to get welfare reform. It is my hope, however, that the Moderates will not undo the positives that the Swedish welfare system has brought along, things such as decent education spending and being able to support the economy well with mainly jobs in the services industries.

Sweden and other Nordic nations are models economically and socially for many countries around the world — developed and developing — for dealing with a new global economy, rising industrial powers such as India and China, and becoming more secular and educated. It would be interesting to have a forum among Swedes to see what they think. However, from what I have read, the change shant be too drastic. Yes, economic changes in welfare and jobs (one of Sweden's socioeconomic faults is its not-so-stellar unemployment rate) are needed, but the Swedish government should keep much of the underlying infrastructure and retain the Nordic model — besides what the more libertarian Switzerland has done, that seems to be one of — if not the — best systems of government spending on the planet.

The Nordic model is a welfare and government spending system prevalent in the Scandinavian nations (i.e. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland). It emphasizes that, in this modern and less-manufacturing, more-services age, decent education for everyone is needed. The system, to put it frankly, taxes much and spends a fair amount on needed policies (as government and community sees fit). The beauty of the system is that it minimizes the bureaucracy.

* "The Local's Election blog" by The Local (Sweden's major English-language news source)
* "Narrow win for Swedish opposition" by BBC News
** More related stories... at Google News
* An article on the Swedish government's website (in English) on the elections

* What the international press is saying; background on the Swedish elections from The Local

* "Elections in Sweden" a Wikipedia article

More information added on 18 September 2006.

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Rogue senators show willingness to comprimise on interrogation legslation

In this IHT/NYT article (Digg story), there is talk of possible compromise today over the the CIA interrogation bill that has dominated the American political spotlight this past week. Sen. Graham has said that he is willing to compromise, but so far, President Bush has been resistant of having any bill besides his version passed.

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Voting begins in Sweden

Swedes are going to the polls (Digg story) to vote for their parliament. Looking to be a very close race, major issues include economy and — more specifically — possible welfare reform in one of the most literate and un-impoverished nations on the planet (including being well placed on the UN HDI). The race, as of now, seems to be mainly between the long-ruling Social Democrat party and the centre-right Moderate party.

"Sweden" article at Wikipedia
"Country Profile: Sweden" from BBC News

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NYT: "As deaths rise, Sunnis criticize Baghdad plan"

My take on The New York Times article (Digg story) and the Baghdad security strife in general: More and more people dying in Baghdad daily as the religious and cultural sects feud, blaming each other.

More on the issue.

Additional Iraq news and commentary (by yours truly) coming soon...

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Saturday, 16 September 2006

Confrontation in the US Senate and in Sudan

Good NYT article; a well written look at the events in the Senate of the last week surrounding the CIA interrogation legislation, which President Bush is now crazy about more than ever and wants done his way or the highway.

At a time when Sudan needs them the most, both the militias and the government are rallying against the deployment of UN peacekeepers.

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Comment is free: "Taking responsibility seriously"

Interesting article from a nice, moderate viewpoint (Ian Davis, my first time reading one of his articles) on sending UN peacekeepers to Sudan before it is too late. The world needs to take more action in Darfur, and stop lounging around. See this Amnesty International (et al) project page on the Darfur crisis.

'Comment is free' has a nice volume and variety of articles (although I don't recommend reading the comments unless, one way or another, you want to get flustered with what people do or don't believe).

Since this entire post is related to 'Comment is free', I shall make it my "Website of the Week" (WotW) — a new recurring feature I just thought of.

Read more | digg story

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Protecting America, or just scaring it?

The classic Bush rhetoric: we are doing [insert usually-questionable program name here] to protect America. President Bush uses it when talking about the September 11, 2001 or other terrorist attacks, when speaking of his wiretapping program, and when arguing his case for CIA interrogation legislation. An article (albeit, it is largely commentary and opinion) in The Nation a bit over a year ago explained it well:

Karl Rove has come under justified fire for once again trying to exploit 9/11 politically. ... [he] claimed that after the horrific attacks of September 11 conservatives were revved up to defend the United States and strike back while wimpy liberals wanted to "offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." ... the Bush White House accepted--and applauded--this divisive rhetoric. Asked about Rove's comments, chief of staff Andrew Card said, "All America came together to recognize how horrible that attack was on this country and that the war on terror is real....I don't think there's any doubt that Americans are united in making sure that what happened on September 11th doesn't happen again." Hold on there, chief. Black isn't white. Rove was saying that after 9/11 America was divided and that liberals were not committed to defending the nation against the terrorists. Card then remarked, "Karl Rove's speech was a speech that I think reflected some of the rhetoric that a lot of people feel."

I think the Rove and Bush rhetoric reflects "the rhetoric a lot of people feel" because, simply, many are still scared about a future terror attack, and the people in the Executive know how to exploit that fear masterfully. At least that is one plan they can execute well...

On a slightly different note...
Over five years after 9/11, and no morality and sympathy for non-Americans has changed. You would think that after an attack on our soil we could understand that the IRA, ETA, Hezbollah, Hamas, Israel (before they became more legit in their tactics), Al-qaeda, and more terrorist organizations come into being because of — usually — oppression because they were/are the minority, and these groups used their fervor from that oppression (or, for factual sake, alleged oppression) to launch a campaign against their 'oppressor'. Is the Bush administration — not using terrorism, but fearful rhetoric — trying to silence all critics (see here) of them with their fear-mongering statements? Isn't that form of oppression that some (but not all) of the aforementioned organizations felt in a physical sense, but used by the Neoconservatives in power as a mental oppression?

Now that the US has had its fun in Iraq, I do hope the people and government of this nation can have an epiphany that we are not the only ones who suffer; we are not the only ones who matter.

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Friday, 15 September 2006

The Monroe Doctrine (archive)

Originally written on 19 May 2006

The Monroe Doctrine

Although met with its fair share of controversy, the Monroe Doctrine has influenced United States foreign policy in Latin America and elsewhere over the ages. The Monroe Doctrine, announced in 1823, came to define much of the foreign policy of the United States of America. Created to minimize European interference in Latin America, notably in independent states, the Doctrine has been interpreted many ways over the ages. As long as European empires did not cause trouble in the affairs of non-colonies, the U.S. would stay neutral during wars either between European powers or between a power and its colony. This neutrality would be in effect unless the U.S. felt that the conflict was either endangering the Americas or that it was hostile to the United States itself.

The creation of the Holy Alliance - Austria, Prussia, and Russia - was the event that created this new outlook of U.S. foreign policy, and ultimately the creation of the Monroe Doctrine. The Holy Alliance (which France later joined) had formed because of the mutual belief of the Alliance members that any revolutionary acts in Europe seeking to overthrow government(s) should be quashed by the members of the Alliance (Dolan 24). When the Alliance members announced ambitions to take lands in the New World, the United States and Great Britain were both disturbed. Britain proposed an alliance between the two nations, but the United States finally dissented because of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. Adams convinced Monroe and other figures that the U.S. should establish its own independent policy (however the British military, in the end, helped the U.S. enforce the Doctrine), spawning the birth of the Monroe Doctrine (Dolan 24-25).

According to Wikipedia, when the Monroe Doctrine was first announced in President Monroe’s seventh yearly State of the Union speech to Congress, many were uneasy about the bold new policy. However, statesmen eventually showed excitement about the license of power that their young nation now had in the Americas. A leading figure in the creation of the Doctrine was Monroe’s Secretary of State and eventual successor, John Quincy Adams. Adams viewed the Doctrine as a defiance by the United States of Old World colonialism, but other interpretations, such as views that the Doctrine warranted the U.S. to practice colonialism and imperialism in its own right, were starkly different.

The very principle of the Monroe Doctrine was contrary to what Adams had said in 1821: “but she [America] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy” (Kissinger, Diplomacy 35). The self-restraint policy Adams preached in 1821 was seemingly gone by 1823, as a new foreign policy was crafted. The Monroe Doctrine was the cornerstone for this new policy of  “[excluding] European power politics from the Western Hemisphere, if necessary by using [ . . .] European diplomacy” (Kissinger, Diplomacy 35).

With the Monroe Doctrine the sphere of influence of Britain and Spain, two “Old World powers", was removed from the Americas. Britain had already surrendered its claims to what was now the United States and Spain was loosing its grip on Latin America because of the Monroe Doctrine’s central policy. Thus, the United States was free to act as its own power, without intervention, in the Americas (Kissinger, Does America Need a Foreign Policy? 239).

Under the Doctrine, American influence greatly expanded in Latin America, as European influence began to wane. However, the American hegemony in the West soon very much resembled the practices the European powers had carried out in the region before the Doctrine. As Kissinger once again puts it, America was becoming a different kind of world power:

America was [ . . .] turning its back on Europe [ . . .] [while] freeing its hands to expand in the Western Hemisphere under the umbrella of the Monroe Doctrine, America could pursue policies [ . . .] not all that different from [ . . .] [that of] European king[s] - expanding its commerce and influence, annexing territory - in short [ . . .] [becoming] a Great Power without [ . . .] power politics. (Diplomacy 36)

When a conflict arose with a European nation wanting to colonize or re-colonize a Caribbean [or other colonized] land, the Monroe Doctrine was put into action determining which side the U.S. would join. Ultimately, the U.S. usually chose the side that would provide a short-term benefit economically instead of halting the flow of European influence. Such actions contradict much of the very meaning of the Doctrine. “In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine had warned the European powers to keep out of [the West] [ . . . .] [By 1923] the meaning had been gradually expanded to justify American hegemony in the Western Hemisphere” (Kissinger, Diplomacy 36).

The policy had still not been named in 1836 when it was first truly implemented [in principle]. There was opposition by the U.S. to the alliance Great Britain was building with Texas (Wikipedia). This event fed into the very foundation of the Monroe Doctrine, and, although quite some time would pass until the Doctrine was seen as a prominent policy, the bar was raised for a more independent foreign policy for administrations to come. This foreign policy standard was largely the result of John Quincy Adams’ actions.

President Polk, in 1845, had stated a policy of expansionism for America. Polk showed that, when referring to the “national security” threat of Texas, the Monroe Doctrine “justified American intervention not only against an existing threat, but any [possible one]” (Kissinger 36). President Andrew Johnson in 1868 “was back at the old stand of justifying expansion by the Monroe Doctrine” (Kissinger, Diplomacy 37), in regard to the American annexation of Alaska after fears that Russia could possibly stake claim to it. Johnson’s Secretary of State had more ambitious dreams and aspirations “of an empire including Canada, [ . . .] much of Mexico, and extending into the Pacific” (Kissinger, Diplomacy 37).

In the middle and late 1800s the United States greatly developed as a nation. The U.S. surpassed Great Britain by 1885 in the exporting of manufactured goods, even though Britain was known to be the industrial power of the world (Kissinger, Diplomacy 37). By 1900, the U.S. “was consuming more energy than Germany, France, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Japan, and Italy combined” (Kissinger, Diplomacy 37). Nonetheless, America had a very, very small army and navy and was viewed as an isolationist in diplomatic terms, as there were cases of diplomats offering pay cuts “rather than [to] be [ . . .] [stationed] in Washington” (Kissinger, Diplomacy 37).

The most significant modification of the Monroe Doctrine happened in December of 1904, when President Theodore Roosevelt added his own corollary to the Doctrine. Roosevelt announced this addition during an address to Congress at a time when Latin America was being affected by the United States and other external powers’ influence. Roosevelt’s addition came to be known as the Roosevelt Corollary (Wikipedia). The Roosevelt Corollary stated that, as Grolier’s New Book of Knowledge encyclopedia puts it, “although European intervention in the Americas might sometimes be justified, it could not be permitted under the Monroe Doctrine; instead, the United States itself would take action in the country involved. [It justified] [ . . .] U.S. intervention in [ . . .] Latin American countries” (Bemis).

After World War 1, the The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia states that “The Monroe Doctrine was so deeply embedded in U.S. foreign policy by the end of World War I that Woodrow Wilson asked for a special exception for it in the Covenant of the League of Nations in 1919.” In addition, by the year 1929, the importance of the Doctrine greatly decreased as the United States tried to form better ties with Latin America. The Clark memorandum of December 1928 officially dropped the Roosevelt Corollary of the Monroe Doctrine (‘Columbia’)

Over the 1900s, the Monroe Doctrine was used many times to justify actions taken in Latin America. Some of these actions were more disputed than others, especially when the U.S. invoked regime changes during the Cold War in countries like Chile. In 1898, the U.S. declared war on Spain, blaming them for the explosion of a U.S. warship (this accusation was later found false), which led the U.S. to occupy Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines (Rosenfelder; Wikipedia). In 1903, after America had already taken over Cuba, the Platt Amendment to the Monroe Doctrine was put into the Cuban constitution enabling the U.S. to “intervene when it sees fit” (Rosenfelder); the amendment was repealed in 1934 (Hilaire 42). 

Throughout the early 20th century, the U.S. sometimes questionably created regime changes in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and other nations, as well as occupying or invading (and many times running or controlling in some way) Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Haiti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and El Salvador, among others. In addition, the CIA and other clandestine agencies also interfered with many Latin American nations from the 1950s through the 1980s (Rosenfelder; Wikipedia). Many of these interferences, including regime changes, the establishing of puppet governments, assassinations, occupations, and embargoes, were done in the climate of fear of communism that encapsulated the Cold War, some of which the legality is disputed and the “claim of self-defense” had “no legal basis” (Hilaire 96). Many times regimes were changed from left-leaning or even moderate democracies or republics to military dictatorships, because of the fear that the democracies or republics could turn to communism.

Even in today’s modern world, the Monroe Doctrine does not go unnoticed. The present situation of Latin America as well as issues such as the United States’ control over the internet are major issues. Foreign Affairs magazine writes:

Everyone understands that the Internet is crucial for the functioning of modern economies, societies, and even governments, and everyone has an interest in seeing that it is secure and reliable. But at the same time, many governments are bothered that such a vital resource exists outside their control and, even worse, that it is under the thumb of an already dominant United States. Washington's answer to these concerns -- the Commerce Department's four terse paragraphs, released at the end of June, announcing that the United States plans to retain control of the Internet indefinitely -- was intended as a sort of Monroe Doctrine for our times. It was received abroad with just the anger one would expect, setting the stage for further controversy. (Cukier)

In addition, modern communist nations like China and their fairly close relations with some currently left-leaning governments in Latin America has aroused a new sense of fear that the U.S. felt in the Cold War era. When speaking of the recently strengthened relations between China and Brazil, a BBC News article stated that, “Since then China's influence can be seen everywhere in Latin America: oil, gas, railways, ports, steel and - worryingly for the US - defence.” The article goes on to say that “The Monroe Doctrine was last used in earnest during the Cold War, when just about every Latin American country which veered to the left - from Chile to Nicaragua - experienced some form of US intervention” (Hawksley).

In recent days following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, United States foreign policy has drastically changed into a policy of searching and policing the globe for possible terrorists. As a magazine article concluded: “When the United States goes out alone in search of monsters to destroy-venturing in terrain upon which imperial powers have already trod-it can itself become the monster” (Judis).

Today, many countries of the Americas belong to an establishment called the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS’ objective, according to its website, is to bring “together the countries of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation and advance common interests.” Issues like trade, security, and human rights are all addressed at the OAS.

The Monroe Doctrine has shown effects on foreign policy since its conception in the early 19th century. The Doctrine has been adapted and controversially used and interpreted for many different events and issues in the United States of America's history. Some have viewed the doctrine as an excuse for imperialism or war, some as an isolationist policy, but there is no question of the great influence it has had on American foreign policy through the ages.

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