In the wars of the European powers, in matters relating to themselves, we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so. It is only when our rights are invaded, or seriously menaced, that we resent injuries, or make preparation for our defence...
We owe it, therefore, to candor, and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers, to declare, that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere, as dangerous to our peace and safety.
These words became a free ticket to the Imperialism roadshow and as history shows, was a pretext for interference in anything the government of the United States did not particlularly like. It exercised its divine will without further navel gazing. From the Monroe speech onward it has been a given that all methods, economic, political and military are brought to bear on any nation that appears to be a threat. On its own this policy is sensible. What deconstructs it from the outset is the notion of superiority and moral certitude which has enabled it to engage in hostile actions from the Bay of Pigs to Iraq to Afghanistan. Monroe was attempting to assert the hard won values of the United States, such as liberty and freedom but in such a way that inevitably, it would curtail the values and the freedom of others.
There is an argument that, in the 20th Century, America’s leaders decided that defence of their values in the face of threats from the USSR meant showing that their values didn’t apply beyond their own borders. This was isolationism on the world stage. But to defend their ideals and commercial interests they had to show that they could play hardball with the Communists. And so, if totalitarian countries had their despotic puppets, then The US would have to have theirs just as ready and enabled to crush opposition brutally. The alternative was to look weak and unprepared for confrontation, so making that confrontation more likely.
This was part of the balance of terror. War by proxy, a kind of mutially assured destruction game, only with real people (though not really real people such as American citizens) America's faith in democracy didn’t extend to their puppets, and sometimes with good reason.
And so this proxy game rumbles on, with the United States supporting whichever country that serves its interests, turning a blind eye to the internal political mores, however distasteful they are, and thus prolonging the agony of the birth of democracy in the world.
Footnote: Monroe was a co-founder of the American Colonisation Society which was formed in attempt to send free black Americans back to Africa. It was felt at the time that black Americans would never integrate and should therefore be offered voluntary re-settlement somewhere in Africa. At the time it was considered to be a philanthropic venture. After a few disastrous attempts at the enterprise, due mainly to death by illness, a sizeable group of American born free blacks were settled in Liberia, its capital was named Monrovia. It was supposed to be a mini America for blacks; even the name means land of the free. This migration had a profound effect upon Liberia and continues to do so. Liberia's former President is currently on trial in the Hague for War Crimes.