Sometimes other countries get in the way of America’s Plan. Sometimes those countries are so stubborn, so determined to have it their way, America has to step in and change things. Here are five stories of America’s attempts to set things right, and the total jerks that messed it up for everybody.
1. Iran, 1953
“The shah has too much power,” decided Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq. “I want that power for myself and the rest of parliament and the Iranian public.” Once Mossadeq had established a full democracy, he had another idea. “All this oil being extracted by foreign powers for which Iran receives a pittance is on Iranian land, maybe it should belong to Iran!”
But Mossadeq was mistaken. It belonged to America and our allies. That oil was a vital part of the American way, like going on a drive on the highway, to nowhere in particular, just for the hell of it. The CIA and Britain’s MI6 worked together on a plan to protect our oil. Mossadeq had to go, and it was their job to make the rest of Iran see it. With massive cash support, many thousands of ordinary Iranian citizens were persuaded to speak up and let it be known: We don’t want to vote!
After a bloody battle, Mossadeq was removed, but his damage had been done. When the shah returned to power as an absolute monarch, he had no choice but to shut down any and all threatening political expression and establish SAVAK. In its quest to hunt down all Mossadeq supporters and political dissidents, the intelligence agency was many times forced to resort to extreme measures such as foot caning and punitive rape. Screw you, Mossadeq.
Did You Know: Some people actually think the CIA’s nudging of Mossadeq out of power led, over twenty years later, to the 1979 revolution that made Iran the evil rogue state it is today? What a bunch of whackos!
In the 1930s, the leader of Guatemala was a dictator, Jorge Ubico. He had established a feudalist structure where landowners had the right to execute disobedient workers, labor leaders were tortured and assassinated, and swathes of farmland were taken from citizens and donated, tax-free to foreign companies. So America wanted him gone, right? Well, no, it turns out that he gave all that land to United Fruit Company, an American banana producer. So this was actually good!
The real story comes when he was deposed in 1944 by popular uprising, and his successors began to pose a threat to America’s economic well-being. By the 50’s, feudalism was on the way out, and United Fruit Company’s free land was in danger. Guatemalan president Jacobo Árbenz had decided to begin distributing uncultivated farmland to citizens, to allow them to work the fields and make more money. His socialist (inasmuch as capitalism is more socialist than feudalism) policies had to end.
UFCO approached the American government, pleading for rescue, and America delivered. With a naval blockade and mercenary taskforce, America forcefully ousted Árbenz and installed a military government. That one wasn’t quite right, so they made way for another one. That one wasn’t to America’s liking either, so they swapped out for another. On the fifth military junta, America declared Guatemala’s leadership “just right.” But wouldn’t you know it, Carlos Castillo Armas turned out to be really bad at his job, and nobody even liked him! Violent civil war broke out, and Armas was eventually assassinated. The best laid plans…
Fun Fact: United Fruit Company is now known as Chiquita!
3. Chile, 1973
Salvador Allende, a fervent Marxist, took the election in Chile, during a time when the threat of a communist South/Central America loomed large over the American consciousness. This could not come to pass, realized President Nixon. He ordered the CIA to disrupt the Chilean economy, in an attempt to illustrate the natural failures of Marxism that would befall Chile if Allende stayed in power. Material support was provided to Chilean freedom fighters in an attempt to remove the democratically elected president.
Amidst CIA-organized labor strikes, heavy CIA funding to Allende’s opponents, and much hard CIA work directed at creating a climate that showed Chile the folly of electing a Marxist, a coup d’état finally materialized. On September 11th, the Chilean army defected, and laid siege to the capitol city of Santiago, taking control of ports, shutting off and bombing communications, and engaging in battle with Allende’s forces. When they reached the bombed-out presidential palace, sweaty, gleaming, victorious, Allende had committed suicide.
The head of the new military junta was Augusto Pinochet, and, damn it, he turned out to be a real asshole. But the CIA did their duty and helped keep him in power, because anything is better than a fucking communist.
Did You Know: Pinochet’s regime tortured, exiled, or otherwise neutralized 40,018 “political dissidents,” including 3,065 killed!
In the late 1970’s, communism was on the rise in Afghanistan. The government had been converted from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, which is always bad news when there’s communists around for fools to vote in. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (commies) were big supporters of President Daoud Khan, but he didn’t let that stop him from nipping the cancer in the bud and dissolving the PDPA. For this, he was assassinated, and the extremist remnants of the PDPA took control of the country. During PDPA rule, tens of thousands of Afghan civilians were killed. Then the Russians came.
They removed the PDPA from power, and took control of Afghanistan. A powerful and ruthless communist enemy establishing a power base in an oil producing country would not stand. America gathered up billions of dollars and flooded Afghanistan with small arms and other military resources, sending heroic support to the mujahideen resisting the Russian takeover. They fought hard, and America sent as much weaponry as it could, including the portable FIM-92 Stinger guided missile launcher.
Finally, in 1989, the Soviets fled, but Afghanistan never quite recovered from the ravages of communism and the violence inherent to the ideology. From the post-war chaos, rose the Taliban. Thanks Russia.
Fun Fact: The US policy of arming guerrilla forces to fight Soviets and Soviet allies is known as the Reagan Doctrine!
Extra Fun Fact: Ronald Reagan Died in 2004!
5. Iraq, 2003
Well, we all know what happened here.