In the West, we have for many decades been subject to an incessant barrage of high-sounding pronouncements about the US ‘saving the world from communism’ and promoting democracy and freedom throughout the world.
But that seems to be little more than an effective propaganda campaign levied at the uninformed and simple-minded, since even a casual glance at the facts on the ground reveal something quite different.
For all the talk about promoting democracy and freedom, it is not easy to find cases where the US has, for example, removed a dictatorship and replaced it with a functioning democracy.
There are a few examples of this, but all occurred in unusual circumstances and in only one or two cases could these be described as legitimate or functional in any real sense. And even those effectively remain colonies of the US today.
In fact, rather than promoting democracy and freedom, the opposite is true.
The US has instead been promoting dictatorships and serfdom, and with great success over 60 or 70 years. We have a list below of 42 countries where the US not only installed and financed a brutal dictator, but often and repeatedly sent in arms and troops to put down local rebellions and revolutions against those installed friendly dictators.
An example is Nicaragua, where the US initiated a revolution and installed Somoza – a truly brutal man. When the population finally rose up in arms (shovels and pitchforks, actually), and overthrew Somoza and formed their own democratic government with proper elections, the US waged one of the most unconscionable secret wars in history against that poor country. The stated purpose was to “make the economy scream”, and Reagan accomplished that in spades. The standard of living in Nicaragua fell by 90%; hundreds of thousands died of poverty and starvation, or were simply massacred by US-funded military rebels.
That was their punishment for evicting their US master, and that story has often been repeated. There is no shortage of documentation of CIA-trained and funded “death squads” in Central and South America.
In more than a dozen cases, the US government fostered and caused revolutions against legitimate functioning democracies for the purpose of installing a dictator who would be more compliant with US commercial interests – and it is commerce, not freedom, that has been the driving ideology behind US foreign policy.
That ideology has been consistent for many decades. A country that is obedient and compliant with US foreign policy interests will generally be permitted to survive. But those countries acting outside that framework, in fact acting in their best interest rather than that of the US, will very quickly become a candidate for “regime change” – preceded by voluminous media attacks to sway the American public against that nation. In the old days, they used to be condemned as communists; today they are ‘terrorists’, but all else is the same.
The US has repeatedly proven it does not much care what kind of government is in power, so long as it is amenable to control and will grant free rein to US corporations. That has been true since the day more than 100 years ago that the US sent its navy to hijack Hawaii so that Bob Dole’s relatives could obtain control of the sugarcane and pineapple plantations. It was true with the Dulles brothers and the United Fruit Company in Central America, and it has continued to this day in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This is where you go if you object to US-style ‘democracy’. In this case, the new secret “black-ops” torture facility at Bagram in Iraq. No one ever leaves here without a proper appreciation of democracy and freedom. In fact, no one ever leaves here at all. If we look at Afghanistan, we would see that the US military “just by coincidence” installed its dozen largest military bases precisely on the route of a proposed Western oil pipeline.
It is also where the US military, again “just by coincidence”, discovered all the old British and Russian documentation of more than one trillion dollars worth of deposits of lithium and rare earth metals.
The Afghan government is under the control of the US and is merely a puppet; Afghanistan has become an occupied US colony, based not on a fight against terrorism but on commercial US interests.
If we look at Iraq, we would see some 50 huge (and permanent) military bases and a US “embassy” that is the largest in the world, comprising more than 100 acres, larger than the Vatican City, that cost more than 1 billion dollars and contains housing for more than 6,000 people.
And the military and State Departments are now asking Congress for more money to double the size of it. Iraq will forever be an occupied US colony – partly to ensure a supply of oil, and partly to be the Middle East Headquarters of the American Empire.
There is no question of who actually exercises power in that country. The US claims this represents “a fairly sizable commitment to Iraq”, which makes it sound like a humanitarian venture, but of course it is no such thing. In any case, the so-called democratic governments of these countries are largely irrlevevant. In Iraq, US senior military officers are reported to frequently and freely enter cabinet meetings with demands or instructions on policy decisions to be made.
In its long ideological war against communism, the US consistently removed by stealth or by military force many acceptable functioning governments, only to replace them with savage but compliant dictators. In most cases, the US proved incompetent at distinguishing between hard-line communism and even mild socialism. Any country that wanted to develop its economy by protecting local industries, by redistibuting land to the poor, but initiating health care, education and social security programs, was labelled as “communist” and almost always overthrown.
And in all of this worldwide “promotion of democracy and freedom”, countless millons have died at the hands of US troops, with the assistance of CIA and US military planning, or at least with the tacit permission of the US government. We can easily count 3 million in Vietnam, another 2 million in Laos and Cambodia, at least 3 million in Indonesia, a total of millions in Central America, many more in the Philippines, perhaps another million in Iraq – the list is very long.
And it isn’t only the deaths but the brutality and torture, much of it done with specific training received from the CIA – which has been active in torture methods for at least the past 60 years. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay are not news; it’s just that the US can no longer control the dissemination of information as it once could. Even details of the ghastly and inhuman CIA torture manuals have become publicly available.
Some of those US-installed dictators are now gone, having been replaced with some form of representative government – but none of that is to the credit of the US. In all cases, those compliant, if murderous, dictators were overthrown by their own people – against the wishes of the US and in spite of US military and other support for the existing dictatorship.
And in most, if not all, of those cases, economic development is finally beginning. They have finally managed to overthrow the yoke of US military and economic imperialism, to finally escape the poverty and misery imposed upon them by the US military protection of US commercial interests, and are now on course to develop normally.
It is not a secret that, particularly in Central and South America, US imperialism has produced enormous profits and economic growth for the US while keeping those countries impoverished for more than 100 years. In fact, one can argue strongly that a major cause of US economic supremacy today, is precisely its active military and political colonisation of so much of the world – the actual plundering of so many countries, guaranteed by the installation of so many brutal military dictatorships – and all under the propaganda guise of “pursuing democracy and freedom in the world.”
Here is a link to another section titled, “100 Years of US Military Intervention” that lists some of the more than 160 countries the US has invaded over the years. You might care to examine the list and try to identify any countries where the US actually did what it claims to do – that being to remove an oppressive dictator and install a democracy. You will quickly conclude that the facts are 180 degrees to the claims. Read Here.
A companion piece to this page is “US-Supported Dictatorships”, a report and summary of the US-installed dictators during the past several decades. You can access this page here.
Another is the “The US Record on Human Rights”, confirming that the US has had a very long record of abominable war crimes and human rights violations, and must assuredly have the worst record in the world by this measure. It appears impossible to avoid the conclusion from US actions that “human rights” are reserved exclusively for White Americans and Israeli Jews. You can access this page here.
A fourth article that shares this overall topic is one titled, “The American Way of Torture: The US has now Institutionalised Torture as an Acceptable Everyday Practice”. It provides some graphic information of the US government’s active involvement in torture – and some bland, incredible denials. You can access the article here.
A fifth article that shares this overall topic is one titled, “American Torture: The US and the Abuse of Prisoners”, which tracks a 60-year history of the US government’s active involvement in torture – and in training others to do the same. You can access the article here.
Another is a reprint of an article titled, “The US in Iraq: A worse record than Saddam’s”, which goes on to say “These “Men of War” are so morally deformed that anything is possible.” You can read the article here.
A more inclusive set of articles is contained in the “Understanding America” section of this site, which can be accessed here, while many articles and editorials on Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, as well as much more on US Foreign Policy, can be accessed here.