Precedent Research

Insights from Thesis Readings Vol. 1

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This is a series that I am starting in order to organize the implications and summaries that I am beginning to obtain from my thesis articles, books, films, and videos. Condensing into these blog posts helps me organize my thoughts and connects these ideas like puzzle pieces so I can advance my narrative about my thesis proposal.

What I read or watched this time…


  • “The Killing Zone” by Stephen G. Rabe, p83-111


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“The Killing Zone” : No More Cubas – The Kennedy and Johnson Doctrines


The Killing Zone is a novel that was assigned to me as a reading for a class about Latin American borders and inter-American relations between the United States and Latin America. I felt this class was important to take because it serves as an important precedent to the problems of establishing friendly relations before reunification can be considered a realistic conclusion for North and South Korea. I can analyze what the United States did wrong as this “mediating Democratic power” in trying to help developing countries, in addition to preventing this “Communist plague” from spreading into the Western Hemisphere.


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In the section that I read for today, I read about how the United States wants to go about using non-violent methods and peace building aid and development in order to foster a democratic environment in opposition of the Communist parties.

“North and South [Americans] would demonstrate to the entire world that man’s unsatisfied aspiration for economic progress and social justice can best be achieved by free men working within a framework of democratic institutions” (Rabe, 88)

This quote by President Kennedy is interesting, mainly because you can replace the word Americans with Korea, it can just fit the same theme. This scenario is oddly similar to the conflict of Korean Reunification, except the Soviet Union is not an active power that is against the United States.

Alliance for Progress


John F. Kennedy enacted a plan called the “Alliance for Progress”, where this idea was for transforming and modernizing Latin America. This alliance meant taking the precedent of the revival of west Europe through the previously successful Marshall Plan. The United States wanted company and friendship with Latin America, but were afraid of Communist expansion.


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This Alliance for Progress aimed to target the basic needs for Latin Americans, such as:

  • Homes
  • Work
  • Land
  • Health
  • Schools

Around $600 million in aid was given, seeking an economic growth rate of at least 2.5%. This was called Operation Pan America, where it focuses on inter-American economic cooperation. In 1960, there was the Social Progress Trust Fund, where it was another $500 million in funding to underwrite the health, education, housing, and land reform projects. By precedent, poverty and injustice in Latin America feared the breeding of Communism.

The United States seeked to modernize Latin America, and supported urban middle class leaders that supported democracy. President Kennedy also toured Latin American countries, and opened the Oval Office to Latin American presidents and former presidents, diplomats, etc.

The Failure of the Alliance Policies


Despite vigorous efforts from the United States to modernize Latin America, their policies have more or less failed, and caused surprising results. The unemployed of the Dominican Republic went from 18 million to 25 million.

What they did not foresee was that Latin America was not Europe. Europe had technological and financial expertise, familiarity with industrial forms of organization. Europe also had institutionalized political parties, with Europe having a traditional democratic background, save for Germany. The model of the Marshall Plan would only work with countries that are similar to the United States.

The Spanish and Portuguese countries favored command economies, a strong, centralized government, and valued group success over the success of the individual.

Furthermore, the United States was not strong enough financially at the time, as they could not give the same amount as the Marshall Plan, as the country had a financial burden from military spending. Venezuela did not hit the expected 2.5% annual growth rate, as they heavily relied on oil imports, but the oil prices in the global market dropped at the time. In addition to oil, the prices of a lot of Latin American exports decreased, including:

  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Bananas
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Oil

Another development that the United States did not see coming was the massive increase in population growth, and how it gutted many of the possible gains from the aid that was given. Latin American leaders failed to have development plans for sustained economic growth, and wasted U.S. money on short-term political expediary projects. Overall, the United States initiatives on the Cold War undermined the Alliance for Progress.

Doubling Down on Communist-Prevention Measures


Even though the Latin American countries have strayed away from communism, the United States efforts to choke out communism gave ironic results. These countries opposed free election and disdained the idea of social reform, in addition to the CIA manipulating elections for their own interests. Dictators were also assassinated at will, with the weaponry being funded by the United States.


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From 1964 to 1985, Brazil was ruled by military generals, with uneven economic growth through industrialization and economic diversification. It was a cruel rule, where they violated basic human rights, such as mass murders, and denounced women’s rights and feminism, as these military leaders connected feminism and women’s rights with communism. This led to torture, rape, and murder. But at least they’re not communist…right?

Learning from their mistakes for Korean Reunification


This whole incident can be used with caution when considering how the United States can go about providing aid to North Korea. There are some similarities when comparing these developing Latin American countries at the time with North Korea, with intentions of facilitating a better system for their home, health, land, etc. One difference is that North Korea is already an established communist country, with a strong hold on a totalitarian state.

The United States needs to be smart with how their aid is used in North Korea, and I believe that blockchain technology can serve as the answer to that. Utilizing the blockchain as a transparent method of transaction lends itself to more record tracking of what North Korea is going to do with the aid that they receive. In addition, the blockchain’s properties as a ledger of information can start to produce an unbiased system of education, where it cleanses itself of the biases of either side, so North Korean citizens can learn about an accurate historical timeline, instead of being subject from propaganda. This actually applies to the consumer audience outside of North Korea, and how they perceive the culture and lifestyle of inside North Korea.


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