Bilateral Relations For the Better Term Paper

  • Length: 12 pages
  • Subject: Literature - Latin-American
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #84770068

Excerpt from Term Paper :

All of these together constitute the full relationship, and it is confusing and contradictory" (1998, 3). The cast of public characters included U.S. diplomats, Navy and Marine officers, and congressmen. Private citizens, including bankers, journalists, lobbyists, and businessmen, rounded out the ensemble. All these groups interacted to influence U.S. relations with Trujillo, although rarely in a consolidated fashion. While the Dominican Republic became a difficult place to do business, a querulous participant in negotiations, and a major cause of Caribbean disquiet, including genocide, war scares, and assassinations" Trujillo still continued to obtain U.S. support (1998, 3). Even after the Trujillo government was overthrown, the U.S. government insisted on maintaining its power over the region by insisting on "approving the new head of the army and keeping the military intact." In short, Washington moved to create a "guardian system" it could control or manipulate (McSherry 2003, 2). The United States support continued strongly well off into the 1980s, when according to Richard Newfarmer's article published in the Journal of Inter-American Studies and World Affairs, U.S. President Ronald Reagan demonstrated significant geopolitical interest in the region, after establishing a friendly relationship with the "Father of Dominican democracy," President Balaguer. Balaguer was an open admirer of the United States' model of democracy and sought to reproduce the same economic and political policies in the Dominican Republican. This is clear to see by Balaguer's statement to Reagan in the 1980s, "Thank you, President Reagan. Believe me; your economic policies leading to the recovery of the American economy are also leading to the recovery of economies throughout the world. You will continue always to be an inspiration and a guide to me" (Reagan Archives, 1998). While it is clear from these comments that the Dominican Republic's leadership strove to become as much as the United States as possible, that could be the only reason that the Dominican Republic was so willing to accept military intervention on the part of the U.S. The causal relationship by this allowance of the U.S. imperialistic actions into the Dominican Republic suggests that the U.S. has instilled fear and dependency into the hearts of Dominicans. This was echoed by a statement made by a Dominican woman to her child, as observed by a naval officer, "There comes an American. Quiet or he will kill you" (Grabendorff 1982). The most recent example of this form of American imperialism was observed in the Johnson Administration in 1965, when U.S. military forces invaded the Dominican Republic because of fears that a Communist regime was taking hold in the country. Author Patrice McSherry argues that President Johnson's decision to send in the Marines sent a clear signal to all of Latin America: that the United States "was prepared to use its devastating military power to maintain its tight hold over the region" (2003, 2). McSherry and Chester supply convincing evidence that Johnson's goal was "the installation of a compliant regime in Santo Domingo" (2003, 2) and ultimately, the U.S.-approved choice for president was a Trujillo functionary, Joaquin Balaguer, who took office after an election marked by fraud and intimidation and ruled for many years. After the rebels were defeated, largely as a result of U.S. military might, an internal State Department memo concluded that Washington was "in a position to exert our full influence, both militarily and politically, to insure that whatever the outcome may be, it will not be incompatible with our fundamental interests" (2003, 2).

Though the evidence proved that the Communism fears were unjustified, it was the fourth time the U.S. forces (under Eisenhower, Kennedy and Taft respectively) found themselves in the Dominican Republic protecting American interest in 58 years. Though this was the last U.S. "exercise of power" intervention to date, the United States has continued to explore and execute various means to sustain its control over the Caribbean while maintaining this interventionist philosophy. Chalmers Johnson, in an article published by John Foster and Robert McChesney has written with regard to this interventionism in his Sorrows of Empire, "As distinct from other peoples on this earth, most Americans do not recognize -- or do not choose to recognize -- that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, they are often ignorant of the fact that their government garrisons the globe. They do not realize that a vast network of American military bases on every continent but Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire" (2004, 1). The list of tools beyond military intervention available to the U.S. ranged from export quotas, manipulation of international institutions like the OAS, capitalizing on the Dominican Republic's economic dependency, as well as its strategic support for caudillos and dictators whenever the need called for it. Indeed, U.S. behavior was not and has never been irrational but always strictly adhering to a realist prescription of competition and domination, from which "followed logically the overriding goal of maintaining U.S. strategic and economic hegemony throughout the Western Hemisphere" (McSherry 2003, 2). As McSherry continues on to say, the United States has had a clear interest in gaining hegemony over Latin American, in addition to the Dominican Republic interventions and as the "countercoup against nationalist Hugo Chavez in Venezuela seems to demonstrate" (2003, 2). The moves of the United States have underlined the utility of a conceptual framework that stresses the pursuit of hegemony as an organizing principle of modern U.S. foreign policy.

The Dominican Republic Role

In my opinion, the Dominican Republic has a much higher responsibility for this patron-client relationship, as the government has allowed itself to be manipulated by the United States over the years. This began very early on in history, when President Roosevelt agreed to takeover the country's debts under the condition that the U.S. would take over the Dominican import duties. This was more or less an example of Dollar Diplomacy, which is also a branch of imperialism, where the U.S. decided that they would take over the Republic's debts after it had nowhere else to turn on the condition that the U.S. would run the import/export duties. When confronted about this, Roosevelt justified his action by extending the Monroe Doctrine. In this admission, he wrote that the U.S. acted as a policeman or as a "good neighbor" to Latin American countries. Though Latin countries, and specifically the Dominican Republic were infuriated by this declaration, they continued to allow themselves to be manipulated. This is continued permission granted by the Dominicans to be taken advantage of is also stressed by Atkins and Wilson's (1998) suggestion of the Dominicans' strategies of resistance and accommodation. These include "foreign policy ends and means adopted from a position of relative weakness, ambivalent love-hate views toward the United States, emphasis on economic interests and the movements of Dominicans between the two countries, international political isolation, the adversarial relationship with neighboring Haiti, the legacy of dictatorship, and the uneven evolution of a Dominican-style democratic system" (1998, 2). In response to U.S. policies, especially during interventions, the "Dominicans reacted with a combination of harsh criticism, xenophobia, and appeals to international law" (1998, 3). Nevertheless, Atkins and Wilson conclude that "most Dominican governments, however, found it necessary to accommodate the economic and political realities of their U.S. relations" (Atkins and Wilson 1998, 3). Economically speaking, the Dominican Republic found themselves in a compromising situation under the thumb of American imperialism in the book entitled, "Sugar and Power in the Dominican Republic: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Trujillos." The author of this book provides a distinct economic analysis of the significance of sugar production by the Dominicans and the Dominican dependence on the American economy that provides a key element in economic relations between the two nations. Early economic history tells us that almost all of the Dominican exports were concentrated in the sugar market of the United States; as in early history the Dominicans lived in an agrarian society whose basic staple was the production of sugar cane. Michael Hall, the author of this book, holds the perspective that the U.S. had little interest or need for sugar imports, but capitalized on the Dominican's need for their money in order to spread their powerful reign of control over the region, specifically during the threat of Castro's push for communism. Authors Volgi and Kenski agree with this opinion, suggesting that while the U.S. had little economic necessity with the Dominican Republic, that they favored this nation over others in order to push for their geopolitical strategic interests.

America has flexed its muscles throughout its relationship with the Dominican Republic, and the Dominican Republic has cowered underneath the strength of them. It is in the opinion of this author that this relationship has been for the "worse" but has been characterized as for the "best" for both countries. Unfortunately, the United States has deliberately and advantageously used its economic and political power over the Dominican Republic to take what it can from the country and "help" when…

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