Regime change in Iran
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 23 11:28:10 MDT 2003
NY Times, July 23, 2003
BOOKS OF THE TIMES | 'ALL THE SHAH'S MEN'
Uncle Sam's Regime Change in Iran
By IVO H. DAALDER
Regime change has become the hallmark of President Bush's foreign
policy. In two years Mr. Bush has dispatched two regimes (the Taliban
and Saddam Hussein's), tried to sideline a third (Yasir Arafat's), and
would like nothing better than to dispatch still others (Kim Jong-Il,
the mullahs in Iran and the potentates that rule much of the Arab world).
In seeking to change regimes not to America's liking, Mr. Bush travels a
well-trodden path. It started more than a century ago when, in the
aftermath of the Spanish-American War, the United States found itself in
charge of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Soon thereafter,
President Theodore Roosevelt promulgated his Corollary to the Monroe
Doctrine, which led to the occupation of the Dominican Republic, Haiti
Once colonialism was discredited, the United States adopted a different
approach — covert regime change — with the C.I.A. rather than the United
States military in the lead. The first of these attempts, which occurred
almost 50 years ago to this day, is the subject of Stephen Kinzer's
riveting new book. On Aug. 19, 1953, Kermit Roosevelt, a C.I.A.
operative and grandson of Teddy, orchestrated the ouster of the Iranian
prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh — a populist leader who had gained
London's wrath by nationalizing the British-owned oil industry and
frightened Washington for failing to oppose Communist influence
vigorously inside Iran.
The C.I.A.'s success in Iran was but the first in a long list of United
States coup attempts — in Cuba, Chile, Congo, Guatemala, Vietnam and
elsewhere. Some of these coups succeeded. Others did not. But all
suffered unintended consequences — perhaps none more than the coup that
That is why Mr. Kinzer, a veteran correspondent for The New York Times
whose last foreign posting was in Istanbul (where he also covered Iran),
decided to take another look at this well-known episode. He does so with
a keen journalistic eye, and with a novelist's pen. In what is a very
gripping read, he recounts the story of the coup and how it came about.
In the process, he reveals much about Iran's history, paints a sharp
portrait of British colonialism just at the point of its ultimate
collapse, and lays bare the debate on how the United States should
engage the world.
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