President and their Doctrines

Posted: October 17th, 2013

President and their Doctrines




President and their Doctrines

The Kennedy doctrine is termed as the foreign policy initiatives that were established by the John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President United States. The policy initiatives were driven by the need to establish foreign policy relations towards Latin America during his term between the year 1961 and 1963. He was of the view that there was a dire need to contain communism and the initiation of efforts to reverse the progression of communism in the western Hemisphere.

In his inaugural address in year 1961 on January 20th, President J.F. Kennedy presented a blueprint of his foreign policy ideals that he sought to follow upon in his tenure as president. In the inaugural speech,  he pointed out that “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (The Avalon Project at Yale Law School, 2008). His address was an aim of telling g the public of the desire to ensure that the fight against the universal enemies of humankind: poverty, tyranny, disease, and war, was successful (The Avalon Project at Yale Law School, 2008). The speech is termed as one of the most memorable given that it was during the cold war.

This was the beginning of the cold war sentiments, traded between the liberal and communist nations. He provided these sentiments to highlight that he would prioritize to contain growing communism at any cost. Given the events revolving around the Cold War, his sentiments were balanced. This is because his calls were for the use of military power and unison to ensure the struggle against communism was won. In addition, he had hopes for eventual disarmament of the communist nations and achievement of global cooperation among nations (Viotti, 2005).

President Kennedy was also of the view that the United States with its vast resources and military power possessed the ability to stop communism. Additionally, the United States possessed the ability to control events on an international level granting it a moral obligation to stop communism. Hence, the United States had a moral obligation to stop communism. He also added in his speech that, “In the long history of the world only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom from its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility…I welcome it….It has also brought up the licking from the head to the toes effect.” (The Avalon Project at Yale Law School, 2008). This is an indication that President Kennedy was willing to explore options such as military intervention to ensure that the fight against communism was a success (Viotti, 2005).

His foreign policy is termed as an expansion of earlier policies developed by Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman. The foreign policies developed were focused on the threats posed by communism and the various approaches and strategies that would be used by the United States to contain the spread of communism. The doctrine developed by Truman focused on the provision of assistance to countries that were in the fight against communism. The doctrine primarily focused on the issue of assistance to countries in Europe. The Eisenhower Doctrine focused on the provision of assistance through military and economic assistance to countries primarily in the Middle East that were resisting communism (Viotti, 2005).

This was to be made possible through the increased rates and flow of trade between the United States and countries in Latin America. The tow doctrines were similar to the overall doctrine used by President Kennedy. However, his doctrine had a primary focus on the spread of communism by fighting the growing influence of the Soviet Union in Latin America. This was influence by the growing influence of the Soviet Union after the rise to power by Fidel Castro through the Cuban revolution under the watch of the United States president Eisenhower in the 1950’s (Viotti, 2005).

He also indicated of intentions for a possible alliance with countries in Latin America. He also affirmed of the intentions of the United States to provide protection to any country that was faced with a threat to its independence. Additionally he established diplomatic relations with countries in Latin America while souring relations with communist nations in Europe.

The advantages posed by the establishment of this doctrine were the curb of the spread of communism, which would have resulted in the infringement of liberties of the public and overall independence of smaller nations. Furthermore, the doctrine was a means of requesting the American continent to move in unison towards social change within respective borders of each nation in the American continent. His call resulted in increased trade with the United States with some Latin nations. However, this also severed diplomatic relations and trade with countries like Cuba (Edwards, 2002). In addition, it fueled the Cold War with the Soviet Union, as the two countries sought supremacy. This was actualized through soliciting of support and calls for resistance against communism that was the primary doctrine used by the Soviet Union.

However, the continued standoff as in the cold war between the United States and the communist states such as the Soviet Union and Cuba was enhanced by the sentiments of President Kennedy. His direct identification of Cuba and the Dominican Republic as the citizenry were reluctant to enhance liberty in their countries severed the relations with the United States. Furthermore, this has led to the assumption of the united states as a global power leading to involvement of the united states in numerous issues that could be termed as infringements on the sovereignty of some countries (King, & Vile, 2006).

In essence, the doctrine has been the founding aspect of his foreign policies used by the United States towards other nations around the world. This has been driven by ensuring that the needs of the American population are foremost in any diplomatic relations with a foreign country. This has enhanced the united states position as a superpower given that the President, Kennedy provided that the united was morally obligated due to its power and vats resources available for ensuring the liberation of mankind.



Edwards, O. (2002). Access to History: The USA and the Cold War 1945-63. London: Hodder Education.

King, J. A., & Vile, J. R. (2006). Presidents from Eisenhower through Johnson, 1953-1969: Debating the issues in pro and con primary documents. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. (2008). “Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy.” University of Yale.  Retrieved from on January 4 2013.

Viotti, P. R, (2005). American Foreign Policy and National Security: A Documentary Record. New York: Pearson Prentice Hall.



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