Bilateral Relations Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3687 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 14  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

Bilateral Relations: For the Better or for the Worse?

The relationship between the Dominican Republic and the United States between the historical period of 1960 and 2000 is a long-standing relationship like a marriage between humans, which can be reported as mutually symbiotic at some times in history, but more often than not, was sycophantic in nature on the part of the Dominican Republic and imperialistic on the part of the United States. This research is concerned with the presentation of how the relationship between the two countries has evolved throughout the centuries; has it been for the better or for the worse? This research should be found useful to readers who are looking to better understand the complexities of an old history of servile dependency (on the part of the Dominican Republic) and profitability (on the part of the United States). This relatively understudied relationship, especially when taken outside the body of work on military interventions, is an important one. There is much more research to be written on this subject, as much more work appears likely as the Dominican Republic's strategic as well as cultural significance in the United States will only increase into the next century. Readers will this paper useful for providing a succinct overview of the relationship between the United States and the Dominican Republic.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Bilateral Relations: For the Better or for Assignment

First, in examining U.S.-Dominican Republic history, the State Department web site reports, "The U.S. has a strong interest in a democratic, stable, and economically healthy Dominican Republic. The country's standing as the largest Caribbean economy, second-largest country in terms of population and land mass, large bilateral trade with the United States, and its proximity to the United States and other smaller Caribbean nations make the Dominican Republic an important partner in hemispheric affairs" (2005). Furthermore, as over 50,000 U.S. citizens live in the Dominican Republic, many holding dual nationality, make the Dominican Republic a crucial area of interest for the United States. Conversely, there are also more than one million Dominicans whom reside in the United States, most of them in the metropolitan Northeast and some in Florida. The State Department's figures also find that "U.S. exports to the Dominican Republic in 2003 totaled $4.2 billion and the Dominican Republic exported $4.4 million to the U.S. In 2003, equaling some 87% of its export revenues" (2005). Taking note of these population and monetary figures, it's clear to see why both countries have a political, social and economic interest in each other. The Dominican Republic's proximity to the United States, strategic location, and raw materials and markets have guaranteed U.S. involvement in the nation's domestic affairs, leading to near annexation and two major military interventions. While U.S. interest has peaked and subsided throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in the last two years, Sammy Sosa, Hurricane Mitch, and the tourist industry have revived attention. This research is also specifically concerned with the idea that the Dominican Republic has amply benefited from U.S. foreign policy that was mostly interested in containing the Soviet expansion. The main two reasons for the American interest in the sustaining of this "marriage" are: 1) The Dominican Republic's geographical position at the center of the Caribbean region and 2) because historically, the Dominican Republic has depended on its Northern neighbor like no other insular territory in the Caribbean. Now that the Cold War has come to a conclusion, the United States has diminished its role played in modern politics and as a result, the Dominican Republic is the member of the relationship that suffers most egregiously.

President Ulysses S. Grant's appeal for the Annexation of Dominican Republic is without a doubt, one of the most important documents in the history of the bilateral relations between the U.S. And the Dominican Republic. It explains the position of the American President regarding the commercial viability of the Dominican Republic that the nascent empire looked to gain if able to annex this territory. This request to the Congress was delivered at a time when the Dominican Republic had just become an independent republic. With significant eloquence, Grant's address to the Congress responds to the question of why the U.S. should annex the Dominican Republic. This appeal was followed in December of 1870 by Charles Sumner's speech, who gave a rousing monologue on the Senate floor against the proposed annexation of the Dominican Republic. In a speech titled "Naboth's Vineyard," he called the proposed annexation a "dance of blood" and "a new step in a measure of violence." He compared the Grant administration's action with that of King Ahab of the Old Testament who had coveted his neighbor's vineyard and taken it by deceit and dishonesty. The Massachusetts senator called for a rejection of the annexation pact in "the name of Humanity insulted, in the name of the weak trodden down, in the name of Peace imperiled, and in the name of the African race, whose first effort at independence is rudely assailed." Sumner's denunciation helped defeat Grant's plan but interestingly enough, nearly one hundred years later, similar battles have exploded over the Dominican Republic between the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the president. As the Sumner episode demonstrates, U.S. policymakers have focused on the Dominican Republic for many years.

In the 1986 book entitled "The Dominican Republican Politics and Development in an Un-Sovereign State," author Jan Knippers-Black focuses on the deep-rooted idea of "unsovereignty" and disproportionately unbalanced relationship between the U.S. And the Dominican Republic, most directly speculated that the cause is from a situation of dependency that has formed regarding the Dominican Republic facing its northern partner. Similarly, in the introduction of their book, "The United States and the Americas," Atkins and Wilson outline their ideas about the relationship. They describe the "U.S. relationship as one of 'super-sovereignty' and the Dominican Republic as an 'unsovereign state'"(1998, 5). In this context, the authors argue that U.S.-Dominican Republic relations have evolved from imperialism to a modern transnationalism focused on issues of the debt, the illegal drug trade, and Dominican migration to the United States.

The U.S. Role

How has the United States contributed to the building of this "patron-client" relationship as defined by Atkins and Wilson? They emphasize that Washington has sought to exclude foreign competition and maintain stability in the Caribbean for centuries. In the Dominican Republic, the fundamental themes of U.S. involvement have been built on the "rise and fall of the Dominican Republic's strategic importance, the legacy of military intervention and occupation, the problem of Dominican dictatorship and instability, and vacillating U.S. efforts to 'democratize' the country" (Atkins and Wilson 1998, 1). This could be attributed to, among other things, the Dominican Republic's constant and continuous involvement in the Organization of American States and the United States' unremitting commitment to the Dominican Republic's democratization and economic goals. To ensure that all the U.S. goals for the Dominican Republic are met, the United States has employed policies that were "coercive and cooperative, and unilateral, bilateral, and multilateral" (Atkins and Wilson 1998, 1)

Aside from social and economic matters, Atkins and Wilson also provide analysis of important political issues in U.S.-Dominican Republic relations. An example is their discussion of the U.S. responsibility for the rise of Rafael Trujillo. They take a very moderate position, underscoring that the United States "was at least indirectly responsible for Trujillo" by its creation of the National Guard (1998, 62). Yet, they note that President Horacio Vasquez promoted Trujillo and that many Dominicans accepted his rule in exchange for stability and order. Atkins and Wilson argue that the United States "did not intend for the Dominican armed forces to be used as an instrument for overthrowing constituted government or for maintaining a military dictatorship" (1998, 63). In Eric Roorda's book, we note the relationship between the United States and the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo during what is known as the "Good Neighbor era" (1998, 6). In the introduction, Roorda argues that the "formation of the Trujillo regime showed that a foreign policy based on the principles of national sovereignty and self-determination, the guise of the President Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor policy," which means having to accept as gracefully as possible the nearby existence of regimes antithetical to the principles of peace and democracy" (1998, 1). "The Good Neighbor policy demonstrated to a generation of Caribbean dictators," Roorda adds, "that they were free to run their countries however they pleased, so long as they maintained common enemies with the United States" (1998, 1). This is a primary example of how the United States exercised its control over the government policies of the Dominican Republic. Anna Scheiber's article concerning the economy also backs this suggestion, in which she demonstrates how vulnerable the Dominican Republic is with regard to U.S. economic power and how that dependency allows the United States to control the nature of the relationship.

Roorda also argues that "upon close examination of 'bilateral' relations between the countries, the appearance of a unified 'policy' on the part of the United States begins to blur,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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