[FOUNTAIN]Korea, U.S. define policy for North AsiaThe word, “doctrine,” is a term with an imperialistic flavor. It originates from the Latin word, “doctrina,” meaning to teach. Sharing a root with “doctor,” “doctrine” should be academic. In medieval Europe, doctrine used to mean a system of religious beliefs.
U.S. foreign policy can be explained with two contradictory concepts, isolation and intervention. Since the days of President George Washington, the traditional foreign policy strategy of the United States has been isolationist. In his farewell address after his two terms in 1797, President Washington advised, “Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves...” It was a natural choice for the American leaders watching Europe in turmoil at the time of the French Revolution. Hence the isolationism began. In 1823, President James Monroe’s declared isolationism would be the country’s “doctrine.” The Monroe Doctrine was about mutual nonintervention, essentially declaring that the United States would not interfere in European wars or internal affairs. It also urged Central and South American nations to stand independent from Europe. Strictly speaking, the Monroe Doctrine was isolationist towards Europe but interventionist toward other countries on the American continent. A more undisguised move of intervention was the Truman Doctrine. In 1947 when the Cold War started, President Harry Truman advocated an ideology to protect the world from the communism. “I believe that it must be the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by other pressures.” President Truman’s decision to immediately commit U.S. troops as soon as the Korean War broke out was based on the philosophy. The clause in the Truman Doctrine is very similar to President George W. Bush’s “expansion of freedom” speech. President Bush’s recent moves suggest that the “main enemy” is no longer the Soviet Union but China. The tension in Northeast Asia is elevating. President Roh Moo-hyun declared on March 8 that Korea would not get involved in conflicts in the Northeast Asia, and some have begun to call it the “Roh Moo-hyun Doctrine.” It could be a doctrine for it is a publicly proclaimed foreign policy. However, a doctrine is not a slogan but a declaration of power, and hence, the United States has dominated such statements so far.
by Oh Byung-sang
The writer is the JoongAng Ilbo’s London correspondent.