With all of the current outrage over Russia’s attempts to influence our last presidential election one can only be struck by the notion that Americans don’t know their own history, even that which occurred within our own lifetimes. Thus they are unable to see the ironies involved in our complaints about outsiders attempting to influence of elections.
We have a long history of conducting regime change that goes well beyond merely influencing another country’s governmental processes.
A Brief List of US Interventions and Regime Change
Here is a list of US interventions and regime change arbitrarily starting in 1900: 1
- 1900 China. The Boxer Rebellion
- 1903 Panama
- 1903 Honduras, where the United Fruit Company and Standard Fruit Company dominated the country’s key banana export sector and associated land holdings and railways, saw insertion of American troops in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925
- 1912 Nicaragua, after intermittent landings and naval bombardments in the previous decades, was occupied by the U.S. almost continuously from 1912 through 1933.
- 1914 Mexico, US troops occupied Veracruz.
- 1915 Haiti. Haiti was occupied by the U.S. from 1915–1934
- 1916 Dominican Republic, actions in 1903, 1904, and 1914; occupied by the U.S. from 1916–1924.
- 1918 Russia. The Allies intervened in the Russian Civil War. About 250,000 foreign troops entered Russia during the Russian civil war fought by the White Army against the new Soviet government. Western and imperial Japan government forces included 13,000 American troops invading through Arkhangelsk and Vladivostok, whose mission after the end of World War I was to topple the Soviet government.
- South Korea 1945–1950 As the Empire of Japan surrendered in August 1945, under the leadership of Lyuh Woon-Hyung committees throughout Korea formed to coordinate transition to Korean independence. On August 28, 1945 these committees formed the temporary national government of Korea, naming it the People’s Republic of Korea (PRK) a couple of weeks later. On September 8, 1945, the United States government landed forces in Korea and thereafter established the United States Army Military Government in Korea (USAMGK) to govern Korea south of the 38th Parallel. The resulting conflict on the Korean peninsula has never been resolved and the US maintians significant military forces there to this present.
- March 1949 Syrian coup d’état: The democratically elected government of Shukri al-Quwatli was overthrown by a junta led by the Syrian Army chief of staff at the time, Husni al-Za’im, who became President of Syria on 11 April 1949. The exact nature of US involvement in that coup is still highly controversial.
- 1953 Iranian coup d’état (known in Iran as the 28 Mordad coup) was the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh on 19 August 1953, orchestrated by the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom (under the name ‘Operation Boot’) and the United States (under the name TPAJAX Project). The coup saw the transition of Mohammad-Rezā Shāh Pahlavi from a constitutional monarch to an authoritarian one who relied heavily on United States government support to hold on to power until his own overthrow in February 1979.
- 1954 Guatemala In a CIA operation code named Operation PBSUCCESS, the U.S. government executed a coup d’état that was successful in overthrowing the democratically-elected government of President Jacobo Árbenz and installed the first of a line of brutal right-wing dictators in its place.
- 1958 Lebanon crisis. The President of the United States, Eisenhower authorized Operation Blue Baton July 15, 1958. This was the first application of the Eisenhower Doctrine under which the U.S. announced that it would intervene to protect regimes it considered threatened by international communism.
- 1961 Cuba Bay of Pigs Invasion
- 1960s. Operation MONGOOSE was a US government effort to overthrow the government of Cuba
- 1965 Dominican Republic. U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, convinced of the defeat of the Loyalist forces and fearing the creation of “a second Cuba” on America’s doorstep, ordered U.S. forces to restore order.
- 1973 Chilean coup d’état was the overthrow of democratically elected President Salvador Allende by the Chilean armed forces and national police. This followed an extended period of social and political unrest between the right dominated Congress of Chile and Allende, as well as economic warfare ordered by US President Richard Nixon
- 1979–1989 Afghanistan. In what was known as “Operation Cyclone,” the U.S. government secretly provided weapons and funding for the Mujahadin Islamic guerillas of Afghanistan fighting to overthrow the Afghan government and the Soviet military forces that supported it
- Destabilizing Nicaragua 1982–1989. The U.S. government attempted to topple the government of Nicaragua by secretly arming, training and funding the Contras, a terrorist group based in Honduras that was created to sabotage Nicaragua and to destabilize the Nicaraguan government. As part of the training, the CIA distributed a detailed “terror manual” entitled “Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War,” which instructed the Contras, among other things, on how to blow up public buildings, to assassinate judges, to create martyrs, and to blackmail ordinary citizens. In addition to orchestrating the Contras, the U.S. government also blew up bridges and mined Corinto harbor, causing the sinking of several civilian Nicaraguan and foreign ships and many civilian deaths.
- 1983 Grenada. In what the U.S. government called Operation Urgent Fury, the U.S. military invaded the tiny island nation of Grenada to remove the Marxist government of Grenada that the Reagan Administration found objectionable.
- 1989 Panama In December 1989, in a military operation code-named Operation Just Cause, the U.S. invaded Panama.
- 1991 Kuwait. The Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), codenamed Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a UN-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait.
- 1991–2003 Iraq. Following the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. government successfully advocated that the pre-war sanctions be made more comprehensive, which the UN Security Council did in April 1991 by adopting Resolution 687. After the UN imposed the tougher sanctions, select U.S. officials stated in May 1991—when it was widely expected that the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein faced imminent collapse—that the sanctions would not be lifted until after Saddam’s ouster.
- 1994–2003 Iraq. The CIA launched DBACHILLES, a coup d’état operation against the Iraqi government, recruiting Ayad Allawi, who headed the Iraqi National Accord, a network of Iraqis who opposed the Saddam Hussein government, as part of the operation. The network included Iraqi military and intelligence officers but was penetrated by people loyal to the Iraqi government.In 1998 the U.S. enacted the “Iraq Liberation Act,” which states, in part, that “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq,” and appropriated funds for U.S. aid “to the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations.”
- 2001 to present Afghanistan – our longest war. “Neta Crawford, a co-director of the Cost of Wars Project at Brown University, has estimated that total war spending in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001 is approaching $5 trillion. Of that, roughly $2 trillion is attributable to Afghanistan. That includes some future cost obligations.” 2
- 2003 and on The Iraq War, also known as the Second Gulf War, was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein.
- 2005 Iran. According to U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources, beginning in 2005 the U.S. government secretly encouraged and advised a Pakistani Balochi militant group named Jundullah that is responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran.
- 2011 Libya. The US was part of a multi-state coalition that began a military intervention in Libya to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was taken in response to events during the Libyan Civil War.
- 2005–present Syria. Starting in 2005, the US government launched a policy of regime change against the Syrian government by funding Syrian opposition groups working to topple the Syrian government, attempting to block foreign direct investment in Syria, attempting to frustrate Syrian government efforts at economic reform and prosperity and thus legitimacy for the regime, and getting other governments diplomatically to isolate Syria
Other Covert Involvements
During the modern era, Americans were involved in numerous covert regime change efforts. During the Cold War in particular, the U.S. government secretly supported military coups that overthrew democratically elected governments in Syria in 1949, Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in 1964 and Chile in 1973.
Strangely, the Vietnam War (1955 – 1973) was omitted by the Wikipedia authors. Beginning with US support to France to maintain its colonial control of Vietnam after WWII, the US came to occupy South Vietnam and carry on a protracted air campaign against North Vietnam. Among the many sad statistics it has been widely stated that the US dropped more bombs on North and South Vietnam than were used in the whole of WWII. This on a country the size of Wisconsin and Minnesota combined.