In a February 18, 2003, editorial titled ‘‘America’s Destiny Is to Police
theWorld,’’ journalist Max Boot argued that the imminent war with Iraq
was not a break with traditional American foreign policy, but rather
its logical extension. The 2002 Bush Doctrine of preemption, Boot ex-
plained, merely expanded the Monroe Doctrine to a global scale. In the
late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Monroe Doctrine pro-
vided the most common terms through which Americans in the United
States imagined and articulated their nation’s diplomatic and military
place in the world. It described the United States as the leader and pro-
tector of the Western Hemisphere, while Europe presided over the rest
of the globe. Today this division of the globe into separate hemispheres
seems impossible; in an age of compressed distances and global mar-
kets, Uruguay seems neither closer nor more important to U.S. security
than Iraq. But for Boot, what remains important about the Doctrine is
Theodore Roosevelt’s famous 1904 Corollary, which made explicit the
responsibilityof the United States to not only protect theWestern Hemi-
sphere but also to police it.
Boot quotes Roosevelt’s formulation of the Corollary: ‘‘Chronic
wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the
ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require
intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere
the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force
the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrong-
doing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power’’
(Roosevelt, Presidential Addresses and State Papers of Theodore Roose-
velt, 176–77). Then as now, Boot writes, the world needs a police power,
and while in the early twentieth century ‘‘the western hemisphere was
the only place where the U.S. exercised military hegemony,’’ today the
United States exercises ‘‘almost as much power everywhere around the
world as it once had only in the Caribbean’’ (Boot, ‘‘America’s Destiny Is
to Police the World,’’ 21). Spatial division of the world into hemispheres
was only incidental, he implies; what really matters about the Monroe
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