Moral Diplomacy

In an attempt to bolster the international affairs with the Latin-American nations, President Woodrow Wilson introduced the policy of moral diplomacy during his tenure. Wilson’s moral diplomacy replaced William Howard Taft’s dollar diplomacy, which highlighted the importance of economic support to improve bilateral ties between two nations. Taft’s dollar diplomacy was based on economic support, while Wilson’s moral diplomacy was based on economic power.

What is Moral Diplomacy?

Woodrow Wilson was of the firm belief that democracy is the most essential aspect of a stable and prospering nation. He also believed that the United States had to play the pioneering role in promoting democracy and peace throughout the world. These were the times when several nations, especially in Latin-America, were under the influence of imperialism, something that Wilson was not quite glad of. In order to curb the growth of imperialism, and spread democracy, Wilson came up with the idea of moral diplomacy.

Moral Diplomacy: Definition
The term moral diplomacy referred to the form of diplomacy, proposed by Woodrow Wilson – the 28th President of the United States, which condemned imperialism and endorsed democracy and peace.

According to this new policy, the United States would only lend a helping hand to those Latin-American nations which had a democratic government and supported the interests of the United States. The idea behind this was to resort to economic pressure to influence and control the other nations. The United States being a major player in the world economy, it was difficult for the other nations to maintain a stable economy of their own without the US support. Wilson banked on this very fact and tried to force these nations into submission with his moral diplomacy.

Pros and Cons of Moral Diplomacy

As with any other policy, even moral diplomacy had its own pros and cons. Though there were many buyers for Wilson’s new idea, there were many who condemned the fact that the United States was using its economic power to resort to hegemony. Some of the most prominent pros and cons of moral diplomacy are given below.

Pros of Moral Diplomacy
Moral diplomacy was a major tool for the United States to pursue its economic interests in the other nations. This meant that the United States would grow, and also lend a helping hand for the other nations to prosper in terms of economic conditions. As this form of diplomacy condemned imperialism and other dictatorial forms of governance, it automatically portrayed the United States as an ardent supporter of human rights. This ultimately gave the United States the status of being the Big Brother, who guided the other nations to prosperity, both on an economic as well as humanitarian front.

Cons of Moral Diplomacy
However, not everything was good about Woodrow Wilson’s moral diplomacy. The clause which stated that the United States would have to resort to force if some nation didn’t abide by their norms of moral diplomacy didn’t quite go well with a number of nations. Taft’s dollar policy, which advocated the use of economic support to strengthen international relationships, had garnered decent support from a number of nations as it stressed on peaceful negotiations. The policy of moral diplomacy, on the other hand, advocated the need of taking on other nations in order to force the US interests on them.

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