How do human rights fit into the history of Latin America?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), enacted by the United Nations in 1948, recognizes equal and inalienable rights of all peoples to ensure “freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” The rights protected included, among others, life, liberty, security, freedom from servitude, freedom from torture, peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion, equality before the law, due process, access to education, presumption of innocence and mobility. The UNDHR bound these rights to international law, stating that the rights protected were to serve as a “common standard” for all nations. The existence of the UNDHR and the rights delineated therein are important to consider when contemplating history prior to 1948 and events since. Historical study seeks to understand how a society has reached its modern existence. Up until 1948, rights such as freedom, justice, and peace, were not guaranteed to every person and thus history was not routinely studied with a consideration of those rights. In considering Latin American history in particular, it is difficult to understand the current issues being faced without understanding the history of human rights and human rights violations in Latin America.
A common modern historiographical narrative on Operation Just Cause is one of diversion. Modern historians like Jane Cramer assert that the invasion of Panama in 1989 (to early 1990) was purely political. President Bush, motivated by critics, used the invasion of Panama to alleviate domestic pressure. Did President Bush act to make domestic policy setting easier, or were there clear and true motives?
While there is merit to the argument that President Bush used the invasion of Panama to address domestic political issues, there was more to the invasion of Panama than a domestic political agenda. Throughout the latter half of the 20th century, the United States government displayed a pattern of foreign interventions to maintain self-interests and control hegemony throughout the Americas and the rest of the free world beyond the iron curtain while promoting democracy. The 1989 invasion of Panama is an example of the manifestation of this policy. Demonstrating the ideal of using conflict to ensure strategic goals were achieved, Operation Just Cause followed similar U.S interventions in Granada and Cuba. Additionally, the United States Government funded several conflicts to further their foreign policy interests and economy. Countries such as Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic had their political landscape altered by the CIA, in order to protect United States interests. All of these interventions, whether involving U.S. military and/or the CIA, are indications of this foreign policy to protect what its Government perceived as its national interests. These previous actions demonstrate precedent in President Bush's decision making.
Modern historians disagree on a distinct root cause of World War One; most land on circumstances involving a bold and hopeful Germany wanting to disrupt the status quo of the balance of power. What were some of the aims of the German Empire which helped catalyze World War One?
In the early twentieth century, before Germany came to realize the prominence that it enjoys on the European stage today, it existed as a young amalgamation of many smaller states still seeking a national identity. The German leadership believed, and not without reason, that if their people could be unified against a common enemy that nationalist fervour would lay the groundwork for continued expansion as an empire. In this regard imperial tension with Great Britain was put to use, and by the time the Great War had started Germany desired nothing more than to create one unified state under the German banner while also becoming a major player within Europe and on the larger world stage. War was a useful tool for furthering this aim of ‘Germanisation’, as the existence of a common enemy would allow the German people to look past their different backgrounds and unite as one nation with one set of goals and ideals, rather than remaining split between Prussian and Austrian culture. Germany fiercely sought to upset the balance of power that had become the European status quo. Germany hoped to achieve these aims by using its military to promote nationalism and gain political leverage, and when that plan didn’t work it led to the start of the First World War. Some of Germany’s most powerful political and military leaders pushed for greater nationalism among the German people, as well as towards political recognition among the European powers, primarily England. When the war began it was used as a tool by Germany to achieve its initial aspirations. It is the aim of this paper to demonstrate that as strong militarism and nationalism took hold in Germany, the nation would almost naturally fall into war.