Regime Change in the U.S.
jacdon at earthlink.net
jacdon at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 17 15:09:53 MST 2003
REGIME CHANGE IN THE U.S.
By Jack A. Smith
In recent months, the U.S. antiwar movement has inevitably and correctly
translated the Bush administration's preoccupation with "regime change"
abroad into the demand for "regime change" at home. The peace forces,
however, have not had much success with domestic regime change in recent
Given the basic similarities of the two political parties that control
the American state, regime change rarely produces significant
alterations in governing objectives. Granted there are certain
differences in domestic policy between the Republican and Democratic
Parties. But in the post World War II realm of international affairs,
any differences have been very narrow indeed -- so much so that regime
change frequently results in no change at all or an exacerbation of the
very situation that brought about demands for regime change in the first
Throughout the Cold War, for example, proposals to reduce international
tensions, to engage in forms of disarmament, and various constructive
treaties were invariably introduced from the Kremlin, not the changing
regimes in the White House, which pursued an identical hard line from
start to finish.
The regime change in the elections of 1960 that replaced eight years of
conservative Republican governance (Eisenhower) with eight years of
liberal Democratic rule (Kennedy, Johnson), also brought with it the
U.S.-backed invasion of Cuba, dozens of other interventions in support
of reactionary objectives (Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Ghana, etc.)
and, of course, Vietnam.
The regime change which saw voters bring back the Republicans (Nixon)
on a "peace platform" in the 1968 contest resulted in U.S. support for
anti-democratic and counter-revolutionary right-wing forces throughout
the world, producing numerous interventions such as that which led to
the downfall of the elected progressive government in Chile, not to
mention the widening of the war in Vietnam and the invasion of Cambodia.
After the Watergate scandal brought about the interregnum years of Ford
and Carter, regime change ushered in 12 years of Republican rule
(Reagan, Bush I) and an intensification of the Cold War, scores of
direct (Granada, Panama) and indirect (Afghanistan, Nicaragua, El
Salvador, Honduras, Angola, etc.) interventions against various
governments and revolutionary forces, leading up to Gulf War I against
The regime change of the 1992 elections replaced the conservative
Republicans with eight years of control by the centrist Democrats
(Clinton), resulting in the killer sanctions and continued bombings
against a prostrate Iraq, a sharp tightening in the sanctions against
Cuba, interventions in Somalia, Colombia, etc., missile attacks on
Afghanistan and Sudan, and, of course the unjust terror-bombing war
against Yugoslavia. By circumnavigating the United Nations in attacking
Yugoslavia, the Clinton administration provided today's Bush government
with a flagrant precedent for violating the most important international
law of all -- the UN Charter. And it was during the Clinton years that
the U.S. adopted the very policy of regime change in Iraq.
The last regime change in the United States took place in the 2000
elections which brought Bush II to power on a fairly nonbelligerent
public platform in terms of war and peace. The Sept. 11, 2001, attack on
the Pentagon and Twin Towers, however, provided the Bush administration
with carte blanche to implement its hidden strategy of aggression and
war for resources and hegemony. At this stage, the 21st century's one
and only superpower is engaged in building an empire of a new type --
"democratic" corporate/military imperialism, based on "humanitarian"
intervention to "liberate" countries that have incurred Washington's
displeasure. This military colossus possesses weapons of mass of
destruction that dwarf all previous empires combined -- from the
Persian, Roman and Mongol Legions, to British and French Colonialism,
to the Axis Powers of World War II. Yesterday Afghanistan. Today Iraq.
Tomorrow, who knows -- Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, the world
The next "regime change" moment in the U.S. will be in November 2004.
Since the American political system is controlled by two essentially
pro-business entities, the only alternative to Tweedle-dee in terms of
peace and war is Tweedle-dum. And any examination of the leading
Democratic contenders for the presidency in next year's election reveals
that they all support Bush's preemptive war against Iraq. None of them
has publicly criticized the Bush administration's policy of first-strike
nuclear war against non-nuclear nations. None of them calls for
reductions in the absurdly bloated militarist budget. None of them
indicates the slightest interest in overturning the erosion in domestic
civil liberties that accompanied passage of the USA Patriot Act and
subsequent measures to abrogate constitutional rights.
It is entirely correct to promote regime change in the United States.
We certainly need it. But in terms of peace and war, the realistic
options available to the American people are extraordinarily limited.
The U.S. has become a superpower on a world-girding trajectory of
hegemony. What force within the two-party system can be deployed to
reverse Washington's intention to convert the smaller nations of the
world into "democracies" utterly subservient to U.S. interests and to
bully the larger nations into line by rattling its formidable
militaristic and economic saber?
At this stage, the Republican Party is in the hands of far-right
fanatics. And the main trend within the "opposition" Democratic Party
is continuing its quick-march to the political center, evidently
oblivious to the fact that it passed the center some time ago and now in
effect constitutes a center-right formation.
The United States needs a regime change all right -- but until we create
a powerful left political force capable of providing a genuine option
for world peace and serious social-economic transformation, recent
history suggests that change, when it comes every four years, we be
cosmetic in nature.
Genuine change is not impossible. It is as much "blowin' in the wind"
today as it was in the 1960s, But it will be more difficult to achieve
in the era of the single superpower on a self-righteous mission to
convert the nations of the world into subsidiaries of the Great American
At the same time, the phenomenal enlargement of the U.S. peace movement,
augmented by the unprecedented growth of international public opinion in
opposition to Washington's global ambitions -- combined with the
fracture over Iraq developing within America's alliance of traditional
allies -- is a highly positive sign.
The missing ingredient is a resurgence of the left in an American
political system that has drifted entirely toward the right. When this
ingredient materializes as a result of independent political action
combined with mass movements in the streets of our towns and cities,
then regime change in the U.S. may be able to contribute toward a world
of peace and social harmony. Until then, the struggle must continue --
against one warmaking regime in Washington after another.
This article will appear in next week's issue of the Mid-Hudson Activist
Newsletter, published in New Paltz, NY, by the Mid-Hudson National
People's Campaign/IAC, via jacdon at earthlink.net
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