Monday, September 30, 2019

The Larreta Doctrine

Max Paul Friedman and Tom Long have an opinion piece in Uruguay's El Diario on the Larreta Doctrine. Not familiar with it? That wouldn't be surprising because it's not brought up very often. But it was an effort by former Uruguayan Foreign Minister Eduardo Rodríguez Larreta in 1945 to get Latin American states to collectively protect democracy and human rights. Here is a longer English-language analysis they wrote for Perspectives on Politics.

They argue that there are three key points to Larreta's case:

1. Human rights and democracy are inseparable, and violations are a threat to regional peace.

2. There should be precommitments with regional mechanisms that focus on popular sovereignty. Basically, by definition violation of democracy (e.g. a coup) would be a negation of sovereignty.

3. The United States must commit to working multilaterally.

The idea is that given the current ramping up of rhetoric against Venezuela in particular, but also the erosion of democracy elsewhere, it is worth reconsidering valuable ideas from the past that emphasize collective non-military solutions to crises surrounding human rights and democracy. Otherwise the region seems largely stuck.

The devil is in the details. Aside from the question of sovereignty, the really big challenge here is defining democracy or human rights violation. Latin America has never found consensus about either (or anything, for that matter). For example, when a political figure is arrested in any given country, the region is split about whether that individual is a political prisoner or a golpista who deserved it. When a president is removed in an irregular manner--Zelaya, Dilma, Lego--there is no regional consensus on whether a coup took place. And if you cannot agree on basic concepts, then you cannot agree on what action to take or whether to take any action at all.

That doesn't mean it's not worth trying, though. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has wholeheartedly rejected the third point. "America First" is by definition a unilateral approach to foreign policy. But go check out their arguments--they're worth reading and pondering.


shah8 2:16 AM  

I only just found out what's been going on in Peru? Begging an article on that whole Congress is dissolved, President is suspended bull...

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