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US Strategic policy of interference-in regime change By Kashif Mirza


Apr 18, 2022

The writer is an

economist, anchor,

analyst and the

President of all

 Pakistan Private

Schools’ Federation


Americans have been critical of Pakistan’s foreign policy direction, specifically relations with China, Russia and Afghanistan while being incensed about the refusal to provide military bases. Western powers have been openly critical of Pakistan’s decision not to join the US-led alliance against Russia for its attack on Ukraine and of the Prime Minister’s visit to Moscow before the attached. Therefore, it would not be surprising on regime changed in Pakistan which is being sought by Washington. It is worth recalling that Prime Minister ZA Bhutto had claimed an American conspiracy to remove him from power after the 1977 elections owing to his refusal to abandon Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme for which the US had threatened to make an example of him. Later General Zia died in a mysterious plane crash for which many Pakistanis blame the US, on the grounds that Zia had become a liability for Washington after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. The ouster of General Musharraf in 2008 was accomplished more openly by the Bush administration with his own collaboration, once the Americans realised that he could no longer mobilise public support for the American War on Terror. This conviction is strengthened by the more recent publicly acknowledged US policy of regime change such as in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Only a few days ago, President Biden himself called for removing Russian President Putin, though subsequently his officials retracted this statement. There are also several other prominent examples of American regime change documented.

The story of US interference-in regime change begins in 1805 at Ottoman Tripolitania, an Ottoman colony in North Africa indirectly ruled through YusefKaramanli; a pasha of Tripoli, where after many military defeats US decided to try a new tactic. The new tactic was toinstall Karamanli’s exiled brother Hamet Karamanli into Tripolitania, as the Pasha. US soldiers and hired mercenaries provided backup to Hamet and caused a chaos. Under pressure, Yusef met with US diplomats and saved his government by agreeing to US conditions. Since the 19th century, United States government has participated and interfered, both overtly and covertly, in the replacement of several foreign governments. In the latter half of the 19th century, the U.S. government initiated actions for regime change mainly in Latin America and the southwest Pacific, including the Spanish۔American  and  Philippine–American wars. At the onset of the 20th century, the United States shaped or installed governments in many countries around the world, including neighbors  Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico,  Haiti and the Dominican Republic. During  World War II, the United States helped overthrow many Nazi German or Imperial Japanese puppet regimes. Examples include regimes in the Philippines, Korea, the Eastern portion of China, and much of Europe. United States forces were also instrumental in ending the rule of Adolf Hitler over Germany and of Benito Mussolini over Italy. 

The US performed at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign elections during the period 1946–2000. Another study found that the U.S. engaged in 64 covert and six overt attempts at regime change during the Cold War.

During World War II, the US helped overthrow many Nazi German or Imperial Japanese puppet regimes, such as regimes in the Philippines, Korea, the Eastern portion of China, and much of Europe.  In the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. government struggled with the Soviet Union for global leadership, influence and security within the context of the Cold War. According to one study, the U.S. performed at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign elections during the period 1946–2000. Another study found that the U.S. engaged in 64 covert and six overt attempts at regime change during the Cold War. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States has led or supported wars to determine the governance of a number of countries. Stated U.S. aims in these conflicts have included fighting the War on Terror, as in the Afghan War, or removing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), as in the Iraq War. Under the Eisenhower administration, the U.S. government feared that national security would be compromised by governments propped by the Soviet Union’s own involvement in regime changeand promoted the domino theory, with later presidents following Eisenhower’s precedent. Subsequently, the United States expanded the geographic scope of its actions beyond traditional area of operations, Central America and the Caribbean. Significant operations included the United States and United Kingdom-orchestrated 1953 Iranian coup d’état, the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion targeting Cuba, and support for the overthrow of Sukarnoby General Suharto in Indonesia. In addition, the U.S. has interfered in the national elections of countries, including Italy in 1948, the Philippines in 1953, and Japan in the 1950s and 1960s as well as Lebanon in 1957. In 1953, Iranian Prime Minister Mosaddagh was removed in a coup orchestrated by the US and the UK to take control over Iranian oil. In 1961, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of Congo was removed and executed with the involvement of the American CIA, for his relations with the Soviet Union. Similarly, the CIA was involved in the overthrow and death of Salvador Allende, President of Chile in 1973, owing to his socialist policies. Several failed attempts were also made by American administrations to remove Cuban President Fidel Castro including an abortive military invasion of the Island. Similarly, the Reagan administration created the “Contras” to overthrow Nicaraguan Leader, Daniel Ortega. These are among the more well-known instances of regime change by the US which include dozens of others in Latin America and South-East Asia, such as in Guatemala (1953-1990s); Costa Rica (1950-1970); Vietnam (1945-1973); Cambodia (1955-1973); Ecuador (1960-1963) among others listed meticulously by William Blum in his book Rogue State. 

US Expansion in Central America and the Caribbean, Iranian coup d’étatof1953, the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion targeting Cuba, and support for the overthrow of Sukarno by General Suharto in Indonesia are undeniable proofs. At the beginningof the 20th century, the United States shaped or installed governments in many countries around the world, including Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. In 2005 US interfered in Kyrgyzstan via USAID, Radio Liberty and Freedom House that provided aid to opposition protesters by funding the only opposing print-media outlet in the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, opposition groups and an opposition TV station received funding from the US government and US-based NGOs. It was published in Christian Science Monitor and The Times (UK) that in 2006, Bush Administration was not happy with the government formed by Hamas that won 56 percent of the seats in the Palestinian legislative election. The US pressured the Fatah faction of the Palestinian leadership to topple the Hamas government, and provided funding. In the same year, though Syria cooperated in the War on Terror, the Bush administration froze relations with Syria. According to US cables released by WikiLeaks, US found funneling money to opposition groups, including at least $6 million to the anti-government satellite channel Barada TV and the exile group Movement for Justice and Development in Syria: an attempt to topple the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Again in 2011, after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, President Obama state unequivocally, that “it is time to go” for President Assad.Resultantly imposed an oil embargo against the Syrian government, started providing training, weapons and cash to Syrian vetted moderate rebels. Thanks to Russia for timely interjecting the evil plan. In 2011, a coalition of 27 states from Europe and the Middle East joined the NATO-led intervention in ‘Operation Unified Protector, and toppled the government of Gaddafi. Gaddafi was captured and killed, Libya shattered and even after 11 years Libya continues to struggle to end its violent conflict, build state institutions, and the people are living in a miserable condition.

With such a track record, it is indeed conceivable that the US would be willing to orchestrate the removal of Imran Khan’s government and promote a more pliable set-up instead. The brief positive trend in Pakistan-US relations, following Pakistan’s facilitation of the American-Taliban dialogue, ended when the Biden administration took over. The American debacle in Afghanistan for which Pakistan has been blamed, compounded further by the refusal to provide bases, has led to vengeful indignation. Such pique has been aggravated by Pakistan’s outreach to China and Russia, especially implementation of CPEC and promotion of regional connectivity which undermines America’s containment of China in the Asia-Pacific. Moreover, India’s continuing tensions with Pakistan over Kashmir and with China in Laddakh, confronting that country with a two-front challenge, undermine India’s role as “net security provider” for the Americans. Therefore, the US wants Pakistan to normalise relations with India but on Indian terms which is rejected by the government. These are the geopolitical considerations that essentially underscore the American compulsion for regime change in Pakistan.

In preview of the documented history, there is less room to doubt a letter that was waved by Prime Minister Imran khan. The content of the letter is validated by the Security Committee, and confirm the interference of US for regime change in Pakistan. The success of ‘Vote of No-Confidence’ seems evidently a repetition of manipulative and historically established tactic by US. A statement by Maria Zakharova; Spokesperson Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “This is another attempt of shameless US interference in the internal affairs of an independent state for its own selfish purposes”, grounded in the fact that US is not pleased of losing her hegemony.

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One thought on “US Strategic policy of interference-in regime change By Kashif Mirza”
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