Tehran tests the Monroe Doctrine

Jamsheed and Carol Choksy of Indiana University wrote an insightful piece in RealClear Politics this morning addressing Tehran’s investment in leftist governments in South America. Their conclusion reinforces the belief that Iran is projecting a preponderance of power globally to put US and other Western allies in a bind. The Latin American angle is especially interesting because it shows that Iran is posing a direct challenge to the US’ Monroe Doctrine–a geopolitical strategy that has secured US primacy in the western hemisphere for the last 200 years.

Perhaps the most engaging section of the article is the paragraph that addressed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) business ventures in the energy and infrastructure sectors:

Many of the allegedly private Iranian companies doing business in Latin America are controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) through investments in corporate stocks. The IRGC operates in mining, construction, oil, gas, communications, mass media and arms industries within Iran and in Iranian commercial and aid ventures abroad. Not surprisingly, an IRGC commander named Mohammad Ali Jafari vowed during the recent protests against the incumbent regime that “preserving the Islamic Republic is even more vital than performing daily prayers.” Venezuela and Bolivia too share this situation in which militarization of the state is occurring through the armed forces taking major stakes in industry.

Only time will tell how the United States will respond to Iranian meddling in its own neighborhood. Some wise first steps would be to bolster alliances with US allies like Colombia and increase efforts at building a strong strategic partnership with Brazil, a country sure to be an economic powerhouse in the next 10 or 20 years.

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  • Alex says:

    Absolutely right about Brazil being a rising power. My take on it is here: //www.frontieroutlook.com/?p=35
    I’d say though that another country to court would be Chile. If it wasn’t for petroleum, Venezuela would be actually quite weak. Then again, I suppose you could say the same about Iran itself.

  • Will says:

    Except the Monroe Doctrine was purely related to European MILITARY intervention in Latin America, not economic. Britain virtually controlled the economy of the entire region (e.g. argentinian rail, chilean nitrates) during the 19th century, indeed the reason the Monroe Doctrine was so respected was that it secured British financial investment with American gunboats.
    Maybe it’s a challenge to American interest in the region generally, but the specific use of the Monroe Doctrine is incorrect. Great blog by the way!


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