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The world is made up of about 194 sovereign states. These states make up the world system and sub-systems in which the US (United States) is part. United States is made up of people from diverse origins from all over the world. It is currently the most powerful economically and in military superiority.
The US has had a recent past history of interfering with democratically-elect governments in the world. She does this by claiming that she is protecting the rights of innocent citizens of these nations. Looking closely at some of the countries, which the US has helped topple sovereign governments, it is evident that the US has vested interests rather than the interests of the respective country.
The US continues to be accused of giving military and economic assistance to rebel leaders who later overthrow their respective governments. Among these leaders include Musharraf of Pakistan, Shah of Iran, Museveni of Uganda, the Saudi Royal family, Warlords in Somalia, Augusto Pinochet in Chile among others.
Kinzer (26) says that since the US won the second world war, she took it upon herself to intervene in internal matters of any country in the world not only by influencing or coercing these foreign governments, but by also overthrowing them. He says that this is done with economic interest in mind. Around 14 leaders have been supplanted by the US. These include Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran in 1953, Ngo Dinh Diem of Vietnam in 1963 and Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii in 1893 (Kinzer 21).
Kinzer (18) also says that the US replaces democratic governments with more repressive governments. A point in case of this is Iran where Shar regime is regarded as the most brutal dictatorship government in the recent past. The Shar were lifted to power by the US in 1953, who continued to support that government for 25 years. The main reasons for ousting the Iranian government were both ideological and economic (Kinzer 20).
The US is has a very twisted and confusing foreign policy according to Kinzer (22). This is portrayed by the manner in which US supports a nation and then turns against it when it falls out of favor with her. US supported the Iraqi’s attack on Iran in 1980. This they did knowing very well that the Iraqis could use dangerous chemical weapons. Later on, they fell out of favor due to the oil wells in Iraq. They led an all out attack of Iraq in 1992 popularly known as the gulf war.
Later in 2003, the Bush regime with a cover that they were searching for weapons of mass destruction attacked Iraq. The world knew very well that the US was after the vast oil reserves in Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction were never found. Vietnam War has been termed as the longest mistake that the US committed. This was all a matter of spreading capitalism ideology rather than developing Vietnam.
Although Kinzer (21) does acknowledge some instances that the US intervention has brought stability and development, he asserts that this is only in countries where the respective country has agreed to accept unconditionally American ideology. The policy of foreign intervention as Kinzer (16) puts it is in most cases if not all ineffective and often illegal and undermines respect for the United States (Kinzer 17).
Comparison of United States with Other World Powers
British activities in India, Japanese experience in Korea and Manchuria, the French in indo – china, the Russian push in southern and central Asia or the fundamentalist Shiite government in Iran have not been any less self–serving as in the case of United States. They all have either religious, ideological, economic interests or regional dominance.
The Russians’ push into the southern and central Asia was purely due to protection of trade routes especially concerned with fur trading (Franco 17). Shiite fundamentalists in Iran have been very radical in the region and have dominated Middle East for quite a while.
There main interests were to maintain regional power as well as ensure that their religious doctrines were spread and adhered to. The French in indo china and the British in India alike had imperialist intentions. They both were looking for raw materials for their industries back in their mother countries. The British were also interested in expanding their empire (Franco 27).
Fundamental Characteristics Shared
The world powers share some fundamental characteristics in their relations with other countries globally and with regional neighboring countries. Though the US is by far the most aggressive, these countries all have one thing in common; upholding and protecting their national interests.
Some imperial powers like Britain, America and the French were more interested with expanding their territories as well as acquiring material wealth to improve the well being of their mother countries. Some like Russia and the Shiites of Iran were interested in spreading political and religious ideologies, while Japan was vesting for regional dominance and economic well being.
Viable Alternative Decisions That Could Have Been Used
All the world powers use military power to enforce their doctrines. This has led to massive loss of lives and violation of human rights. The world powers ought to use means capable of passing a global test.
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First and foremost, they should respect each country’s sovereignty and seek to use diplomatic approaches in solving issue in other countries. The rule of democracy should be adhered to, and military intervention should be avoided at all costs. Last but not least, they should seek to support reformers rather than dictators to uphold human rights and dignity.
Franco, Armesto. The World History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Kinzer, Martin S. Over-Throws in History. London: Wiley, 2006.