Jeffrey Lord doesn’t understand the Monroe Doctrine:

The Monroe Doctrine, of course, roped off basically half the earth (!!!) in the form of the Western hemisphere, specifically intervening in the affairs not only of every nation in the hemisphere that is not the United States but not coincidentally also intervening in the affairs of European nations that wished to involve themselves further in Latin American affairs.

When we are debating intervention and non-intervention, we all understand that we are mainly discussing the involvement of U.S. forces in foreign conflicts and forcible U.S. interference in the internal affairs of other states. The Monroe Doctrine has nothing to do with either of these. Monroe stated that the U.S. opposed efforts by European states to impose monarchical regimes in our hemisphere. President Monroe said the following:

The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America. This difference proceeds from that which exists in their respective Governments; and to the defense of our own, which has been achieved by the loss of so much blood and treasure, and matured by the wisdom of their most enlightened citizens, and under which we have enjoyed unexampled felicity, this whole nation is devoted. We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered and shall not interfere [bold mine-DL]. But with the Governments who have declared their independence and maintain it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States [bold mine-DL]. In the war between those new Governments and Spain we declared our neutrality at the time of their recognition, and to this we have adhered, and shall continue to adhere, provided no change shall occur which, in the judgement of the competent authorities of this Government, shall make a corresponding change on the part of the United States indispensable to their security [bold mine-DL].

Note the insistence on non-interference in existing European possessions, and the confirmation of U.S. neutrality in conflicts between the Latin American republics and Spain. The Monroe Doctrine was an affirmation of the status quo that existed at the time, and the U.S. was never required to make good on this pledge. This did not involve the United States in the internal affairs of any of the new Latin American states. Monroe specifically ruled out U.S. involvement in the affairs of Europe:

Our policy in regard to Europe, which was adopted at an early stage of the wars which have so long agitated that quarter of the globe, nevertheless remains the same, which is, not to interfere in the internal concerns of any of its powers; to consider the government de facto as the legitimate government for us; to cultivate friendly relations with it, and to preserve those relations by a frank, firm, and manly policy, meeting in all instances the just claims of every power, submitting to injuries from none.

Monroe was repeatedly stating that U.S. policy was one of non-interference and neutrality. One has to ignore the words of the Monroe Doctrine to believe that it represented a statement of an interventionist foreign policy. Lord’s original statement that the Founding Fathers “repeatedly intervened in countries outside U.S. borders” is obviously false.

Update: Lord has a response, if we can call it that, which manages to confuse so many different concepts that it’s hard to know where to begin. What is amazing is that Lord wants to keep this debate going. Let’s take this step by step, shall we?

Monroe held that the U.S. would regard any attempt to extend a monarchical system into our hemisphere as an unfriendly act, because Monroe and Adams were aware that the Restoration monarchies were actively suppressing liberal and republican governments in Europe. The fear was that these powers might try to do the same to the new republics in Latin America. As it happened, the major European powers never attempted this, so the U.S. was never required to resist the attempt. Lord simply ignores the numerous references to non-interference and neutrality in Monroe’s statement, because there is simply no way for him to reconcile this with his thoroughly wrong interpretation of the Founding Fathers’ views. Lord’s claim that Monroe’s statement is “nothing but pure Bush or Rumsfeld “neoconservative” language written in the 1820s” is just embarrassingly wrong.

There is no contradiction between recognizing that interventionist policies create blowback, which they obviously do, and acknowledging that the establishment of an illiberal ideology can serve as a means for great powers to pose a threat to the United States in our own hemisphere. If Latin Americans have understandably objected to American interference in their internal affairs, this also has nothing to do with the Monroe Doctrine as such, but with later perversions of it, including Teddy Roosevelt’s so-called “corollary.” The corollary and the original doctrine were antithetical to one another. Lord desperately wants to interpret Monroe’s doctrine in the same wrongheaded way that Roosevelt did, namely as a license for U.S. intervention, but this requires negating the original doctrine and inventing something entirely different in its place.

Second Update: There was something else that I should have emphasized in the previous update. Monroe’s statement expressed U.S. support for the sovereignty and independence of the new republics in Latin America. The various interventionist policies that Lord cites from the 20th and 21st centuries resulted from the denial of the sovereignty of other states. Interventionism requires trampling on the sovereignty of other states, and non-interventionism requires respect for that sovereignty.

Third Update: Lord has another buffoonish response that shows he still doesn’t understand the Monroe Doctrine or Ron Paul’s views. I’m going to apply a version of Drezner’s Cain mercy rule and stop wasting everyone’s time with this debate.