List of US-Installed Democracies, Worldwide, 1776-2019
That’s the entire list. You can see that it’s blank. But how can that be? We all know that the US has freed dozens of nations from their evil and repressive governments, and installed loving democracies where people lived happily ever after, swamped with freedoms and overwhelmed with human rights. We know this because we’ve read and heard it hundreds, or maybe thousands, of times. It’s in all the US history books. We’ve seen it in so many movies and even read it in comic books when we were kids. It must be true. So why is the list empty? How can that be?
But if the US didn’t install “democracy” in all those places, what did they do? Well, while preaching democracy, freedom and human rights at home, the US government was actually running around the world installing dictatorships – about 50, at last count. Not only that, while boasting at home about defending democracy, the CIA and military were actually undermining and destroying functioning democracies and replacing them with dictatorships. Iran is one of the most obvious of these, where the CIA arranged the overthrow of the beloved leader of a perfectly-functioning electoral democracy and installed Shah Reza Pahlavi as one of the most brutal dictators in modern history. In 2000, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated:
“In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran’s popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh. The coup was clearly a setback for Iran’s political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs”.
Yeah. No kidding.
The US has repeatedly demonstrated it doesn’t much care what kind of government exists, so long as it is controllable and will do the bidding of the master. By US thinking, the two best kinds of government are: 1) dictators that you install and control (Suharto, Somoza, Shah Reza Pahlavi) and (2) democracies you can influence, bully, subvert, and control (The UK, Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Ukraine, Romania, The Czech Republic). The worst kind is China’s one-party system that doesn’t easily lend itself to outside meddling and subversion.
The US has been promoting dictatorships, poverty, misery and serfdom with great success for nearly 100 years. We have a list below of about 50 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 psychopath. When the population finally rose up in arms (shovels and pitchforks, actually), overthrew Somoza and formed their own government, the US waged one of the most unconscionable secret wars in history against that poor country. 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, a story that has been repeated in dozens of nations. There is no shortage of documentation of CIA-trained and funded “death squads” in Central and South America.
And in all of this worldwide promotion of democracy and freedom, countless millions have died at the hands of US troops. American actions in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Congo, Vietnam, Chile, Angola, and a panoply of countries around the world have directly or indirectly led to the deaths of tens of millions of people. “As an example, the CIA conspired with Belgian colonial forces in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the democratically elected but broadly pro-soviet leader of Congo, which led to the rise of a brutal dictator and eventually to a series of civil wars and famines which killed approximately 5 million people.”
“We sent Marines into Lebanon, and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers – women and children and farmers and housewives – in those villages around Beirut. As a result of that, we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful”.
And it isn’t only in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan; the US is bitterly hated throughout the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South and Central America. There are few parts of the world today where Americans are welcome as a people, and for very good reason.
Japan is the only quasi-exception to my empty list above, where the US did install a kind of participatory democratic government but, except for a recent brief period, Japan has functioned as a one-party state since the Second World War. And in any case, Japan is still very much a US military colony with less control over its domestic and foreign policies than most people imagine. More than one Japanese Prime Minister has attempted to force the US out of Okinawa, only to discover himself forced out of office instead. In Japan’s “democracy”, the Japanese are free to do whatever they want, so long as they do whatever the US orders them to do.
In order to ensure that Iraq’s new “democracy” functions according to plan, Bremer’s Orders 57 and 77 ensure the implementation of all orders by placing US-appointed auditors and inspectors-general in every government ministry, with five-year terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs, employees and regulations. Bremer’s Orders stipulate that the US must approve every senior government appointment and must approve every candidate for elected government office. Senior US military officers are reported to frequently and freely enter cabinet meetings with demands or instructions on policy decisions to be made. There is no question of who actually exercises power in that country.
Order 39 allows for the tax-free remittance of all US corporate profits. Order 81 stipulates that all Iraqi farmers must use Monsanto’s GM seed for all crops planted in the country, with the use of any heritage Iraqi seed stock now totally prohibited. The US government has given its GM seed companies total control of Iraq’s food supplies in perpetuity, while guaranteeing profits to Cargill and Monsanto in perpetuity. Order 17 grants foreign contractors immunity from Iraq’s laws and guarantees that Americans in Iraq will not be subject to Iraqi law. The orders state that “All trained elements of the Iraqi armed forces shall at all times be under the operational control of the American commander”. But if you ask almost any American you will learn that Iraq is now free and has democracy. It is necessary to point out that this is exactly the same kind of “freedom and democracy” the US wants for China.
The US has always had a fond affection for repressive dictators, tyrants and corrupt puppet-presidents, who have been aided, supported, and rewarded handsomely for their loyalty to US interests. These men usually rise to power through bloody ClA-backed coups, and rule by terror and torture. Their troops receive arms, training and advice from the CIA and other US agencies. It is US military support that guarantees their hold on power – and the fact that they provide free access to US corporations to exploit their countries’ resources. There are no occasions where the US government has ever been held responsible in any way for installing, supporting and protecting some of the worst human rights violators in the world.
In the Philippines, US President Lyndon Johnson had the CIA arrange for Ferdinand Marcos to assume power as puppet-dictator, a man whose political career began at age 21 for killing the man who had beaten his father in a local election. In South Africa, US President Reagan gave US-installed President P. W. Botha extensive cash and military aid, even though Botha had some bad habits that Reagan ignored, which included cutting off the ears, noses, and limbs of civilians. Botha was famous for rounding up 10 year old boys, killing their parents in front of them, raping young women while they watched, then recruiting them to fight in his army. Precisely the kind of leader America admires. Just so it doesn’t go unsaid, Botha, on his 90th birthday, refused to apologise for his reign of horror and said he had “no regrets” about the way he had run his country.
In Indonesia, Suharto was one of the most brutal dictators in history. US President Johnson authorised a CIA-organized coup that brought Suharto to power in 1965, supporting his rule for 32 years. Suharto continued his savage atrocities under the support of seven US presidents: Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton. Entire populations of towns and villages were herded to central locations and massacred. Under the guidance of the CIA, more than three million people were hacked to death with machetes, in the largest and most savage slaughter in modern political history. But Indonesia was now safe to be plundered by US multinationals.
Below is an incomplete listing of nations where the US has overthrown a government to install a dictatorship that was controllable and would permit US multinationals to freely plunder the resources, unrestrained by conscience or morality, and with an astonishing and hypocritical lack of concern for either ‘freedom’ or ‘human rights’. These are the nations that became subjugated military colonies of the US; financed, trained and controlled by the US government, the CIA and the State Department. This is only one act of a continuous play that has been on stage for well over a century, and these are all facts of history, not in dispute by anyone, not even the US State Department. The US not only installed, but in each case protected, both politically and militarily, and supported with arms, cash and military training, the corrupt dictatorships of:
Here are some countries where the US military and/or CIA financed and led revolutions to depose electoral democracies and install a dictator, in several cases by assassinating the incumbent president: Bolivia, Brazil, Haiti, Spain, Philippines, Zaire, Guatemala, Iran, Greece, Chile, Fiji, Nicaragua, Indonesia, The Congo.
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Larry Romanoff is a frequent contributor to Global Research.