In support of Dictators and Tyrants

Machiavelli would be proud. Despite recurrently using the spread of democracy across the middle east as a justification for the Iraq war, the US continues to support dictators, tyrants, and coup-leaders worldwide. Let’s have a brief history lesson. And I’m not talking about Eisenhower era support of Batista. I’m talking about much more recent history.

Remember the failed coup attempt to overthrow the leftist, though legitimately elected, President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez in 2002? The United States quickly came out in support of the coup leaders but quickly back peddled when Chavez regained control after less than two days.

Or how about Pakistan today. Purvez Musharraf took power in a military coup in 1999, ousting democratically elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and suspending the constitution twice to maintain power, most recently in November 2007. He has jailed dissidents, jailed a supreme court justice, and generally behaved like a military dictator. As for the argument, he is a strong ally in the war on terror, he only reluctantly agreed to oppose the Taliban under direct threat from the United States. Additionally, scientists in his country provided materials and training for building a nuclear weapon to Libya.

The United States supported the Shah of Iran (Mohammad Reza Pahlavi), the last Shah of 2500 years of continuous monarchy rule. According to Madeleine Albright, “In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Irans popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Massadegh… it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.” While the Shah did succeed in modernizing his country and improving the rights of women, he also ousted and arrested political dissidents, which ultimately lead to popular unrest and his overthrow, which brings us to Iraq.

Once the Shah was … Read the rest