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Tonight's meet the author program features Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. Stephen Kinzer is an award winning foreign correspondent who has reported from more than fifty countries on four continents. During the late 1990's Mr. Kinzer was the first New Your Times Bureau Chief in Istanbul. He traveled widely in Turkey and in the new nations of the Caucuses and central Asia, from Azerbaijan to Uzbekistan. He also covered the Iranian election in 1997 when the reform minded Mohammed Khatami was president of Iran. In 2001, Mr. Kinzer authored the book Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds and in 2003 he wrote All the Shah's Men: an American Coo and the Roots of Middle East Terror. Before his arrival in Istanbul, Mr. Kinzer spent six years in Germany as Chief of the Times Bureaus in both Van and Berlin. He covered German unification and events in Europe cluding wars in the former Yugoslavia. From 1983 to 1989, Mr. Kinzer was the first Bureau Times Chief in Managua, Nicaragua. In that post he covered war and social upheaval in Central America. In the early eighties, he co-authored the book Bitter Fruit: the Untold Story of the American Coo in Guatemala and in 1991 he wrote the book Blood of Brothers: Life and War in Nicaragua. Mr. Kinzer is presently a New York Times correspondent based in Chicago. Please, join me in welcoming Mr. Kinzer. Thank you all, its great to be hear tonight, although the subject we're addressing is not always a cheery one. When President Bush announced the invasion of Iraq a couple of years ago, many people, not just in the United States, but around the world, interpreted that as the moment when the United States was ripped away from its long tradition of cooperative diplomacy and pulled into a world in which it violently attacked foreign governments of which it disapproved. Well I've concluded that that wasn't true, in fact, the opposite was true. The United States has been overthrowing governments for more than a hundred years. We've actually gotten quite good at it and you think we would have learned some lessons by now. Perhaps actually, I think I'm might try and sell a couple of these books out in front of the White House and the driveway that leads up to the CIA headquarters in Langley. Actually, one of my favorite quotes that I found in my research came from President Harry Truman. He said, "The only thing new in this world is the history you didn't know." It is to the task of uncovering and retelling that history that I've devoted myself. Though, my new book is a history of all the times the United States has overthrown foreign governments. It actually should be a lot thicker book than that, but I chose the episodes very carefully. The first thing I did when I started to research my book was to try to find the list of the countries whose governments the U.S. had overthrown. ut I found out there is no such list. And the reason for that, I slowly realized, is that its actually a very subjective question. There's such a spectrum of phases of American intervention and degrees of American intervention, there have been many coos that have taken place, that have been principally organized by local generals or rebels, but discreetly discouraged by the United States. The United States has also supported its allies when they're faced with popular rebellions. Sometimes it uses the traditional techniques of diplomacy if you like- offering rewards to people who do what we want or threatening to punish countries that do not cooperate. And twice, of course, in the 20th century, in the context of world wars, the United States overthrew series of governments d helped impose a whole new world order. well my book is not about any of those ways that the U.S. has tried to influence the course of world events. I specifically wanted to write about the times when the U.S. actually was the decisive force in the overthrow of a foreign government. And so I went out and made my own list. In each case, what I'm doing in my book is three things. I'm trying to tell the story of what happened, how did we actually overthrow this government. I'm trying to reconstruct these operations almost on an hour-to-hour basis so you get a sense of the drama of the moment. The second thing I'm trying to do is I look at the causes. I'm asking myself why, why did we intervene to overthrow that government? And the third thing is do is, from the perspective of history of today, look back and try to asses what the long term results of those interventions have been. Now the United States got into the regime change business 1893 in Hawaii. The story actually set a pattern for many of the interventions that were to follow. What happened in Hawaii was that in the early part of the 19th century several hundred missionaries from New England arrived on the shores of those islands, dedicated to, as they would have put it, raising up heathens to the standards of Christian civilization. It didn't take long before some of those missionaries and their sons began to realize there was a lot of money to be made in Hawaii. Many of them even quickly abandoned the path of God and took to the path of mammon and the first thing they realized was that Hawaii was very rich in soil where sugar could be grown. The natives have been growing sugar for centuries, but they had never refined it or exported it. So pretty soon, by the middle to the late 19th century, Hawaii was covered with giant sugar plantations run by this small, what came known as the "missionary planter elite". So a group of white people would come to Hawaii and their ancestors. Then in the early 1890's the U.S. government did something horrible to those planters. It passed a tariff law which made it almost possible for non-Americans to send their sugar into the U.S.. So the sugar planters were in a panic. And they decided that the best way to get their sugar into the U.S. and save their fortunes was to bring Hawaii right into the United States, make it a part of the United States. Their leader actually traveled to Washington. He met with senior officials, the secretary of the Navy and he got a direct approval from the President of the United States who told him that if you can overthrow the regime in Hawaii then we will be happy to recognize and (unidentified) you. So with a group of just a couple of dozen people, this guy announced one day in Hawaii, that the monarchy was overthrown and we are the new government. Now the logical response from the queen would naturally have been to arrest them all for treason. But there was another detail I forgot to mention. There was a U.S. warship tanding right off shore. And the moment the new regime was proclaimed, two hundred and fifty marines landed and the U.S. ambassador announced that, well there seems to have been a new regime established here and just to protect lives and property and ensure stability, were gonna defend this regime against any possibly threats. That meant that the revolution was won practically without firing a single shot. The queen actually called together the various foreign ambassadors in Honolulu and said, "what should I do, we've got soldiers, should we try to fight the marines?" and she was advised quite prudently that she shouldn't do that. And that's how Hawaii became part of the United States, five years later it was our next territory, and later to become a state. In 1898, during the course of the Spanish American War we see a similar kind of a pattern emerging. Americans got very interested in Cuba, it was a big market for American manufactured goods, bout 85% of all the things you could buy on the street in Havana were made in the U.S. and also it was a favored island for large American sugar interests. Now in 1898 Cuban patriots were rebelling against Spanish rule. So the U.S. army decided that to get the Spaniards out and leave Cuba more open to American influence, we would send soldiers to Cuba to aid the Cuban patriots in their rebellion against Spain. Well as soon as we announced that we were gonna do this, somewhat to our surprise the Cuban patriots were not quite so happy with this idea. They didn't know if they really like the idea of thousands of American troops landing on their soil to help them win their revolution. And uh, their recalcitrance and hesitation had quite and impact on the U.S. where the cause of "Cuba Libre" had been stirred up by the press and had really taken hold of American hearts. So the U.S. passed a law called the "teller amendment", that specifically stated that the U.S. would immediately withdraw all its troops from Cuba the moment the Cuban revolution had succeeded in overthrowing Spanish colonialism. What didn't take very long, actually that whole Spanish-American War as we call it was more or less in one day and the, Spain, the Spanish were forced to surrender control of Cuba and Puerto Rico and later the Philippines. But when the new egime seemed about to take power the United States began to think maybe that wasn't such a good idea to have a fully independent Cuba, after all a nationalist Cuban government was made up of people who had promised land reform. They wanted to break up those big sugar plantations and give them to ordinary Cubans. They didn't like the idea of their country being flooded with foreign manufactured goods because that meant that the possibility to develop domestic manufacturing economy. So then they were gonna place restrictions on the freedom of Americans and American companies to operate in Cuba. Then the U.S. Congress decided that well, although we had passed that law, the 'teller amendment", it was passed in a moment of passion and enthusiasm; we should not be bound by it anymore. So instead of allowing Cuba to become independent we didn't withdraw our troops, we left them there, we established a military protectorate, that lasted for some decades and it was followed then by rule, by local tyrants imposed by the United States and that situation continued in Cuba right up until the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro of 1959. Now when Fidel Castro was a student leader in 1952, he was a candidate for Congress but he couldn't get elected because the dictator who had been imposed by the U.S., fearful of having a democratically elected congress, cancelled the election. That was when Castro decided, this idea of coming to power through elections isn't gonna work, I got find some other way. And its no accident that when Castro came down from the hills at the beginning of January 1959, in his very first speech in Santiago he didn't talk about what his program ould be or what kind of government he was going to have, but he did make one promise, he said to this great cheering crowd of Cuban's, "I promise you that this time it will not be like 1898 again, when the Americans came in and made themselves masters of our country". Now I don't know how widely publicized that speech was in the United States, but any Americans who read it must have been very puzzled. They would be saying what is he talking about? Why is he referring to some episode that happened more than sixty years ago? This is something inconceivable for Americans, but it shows how the long term affects of intervention only become clear many years later. These interventions always come back to bite us. We might never have had to face the entire phenomenon of Castro communism, which has been ceaselessly trying to undermine American interests all over the world for almost half a century, if we had only kept our words to the Cubans in 1898. Now, during the first bursts of American expansionism, when we took Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, carried out revolutions in Nicaragua and Honduras, the United States was able to operate quite openly. Nobody ever hid the fact that American troops were in Cuba or that the United States sought the annexation of Hawaii, for example. But in the period after World War II that wasn't possible anymore because a new force had arisen in the world and that was the Soviet Union. We had to consider the threat of the Red Army. If we landed troops on some foreign shore, we might expect the reaction from the soviets and that could spiral out of control and into a terrible Holocaust. So we couldn't do that anymore. We needed a new way to overthrow governments. And that was the time that the CIA came to prominence. Now, the first government the, the first government The CIA overthrew was Iran in 1953. Here we see another reflection of the same pattern. n Iran, one single giant, foreign company, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, had a monopoly on all refining production and export of Iranian oil. That company, which was mainly owned by the British government, owned the Iranian oil supply. And it was Iranian oil that kept Britain at the whole standard of living that it enjoyed all the 20's and 30's and 40's and that powered the Royal Navy as it spread British power all over the world. So in the late 1940's and early 1950's the British were a little disturbed by the nationalist movement arising in Iran. In the period after World War II, the winds of nationalism were sweeping across Asia and Africa, Latin America, in many ways they were unleashed by Franklin Roosevelt, whose democratic rhetoric was a great inspiration to people around the world. In Iran, nationalism meant taking back control of the oil industry and using the profits from oil to develop the country. When Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq proclaimed this policy with the unanimous support of the Iranian parliament, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company went into a panic, so did the British government, and although I can't tell you the whole story because than you won't buy my book, the short of it is that the CIA sent a very resourceful agent into Iran, his name was Kermit Roosevelt, in a wonderful cork of history he was actually the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt, who fought in Cuba and was another pioneer of the regime change era. Kermit Roosevelt was really a modern day, real life James Bond. He slipped into Iran and started bribing (unidentified) and members of parliament and newspaper editors and gang leaders and within just a couple of weeks, he had thrown Iran into upheaval. It's a great testament to how easy it is for a rich and powerful country to throw and poor and weak country into chaos. Prime minister Mosaddeq was overthrown in the summer of 1953 as a result of an operation that the CIA sent Kermit Roosevelt there to carry out. That was a time when Iran was a democracy. Today, just putting the word Iran and the word democracy in the same sentence even seems strange, but that wasn't always the case. Iran had a functioning democracy in the late forties and early fifties and this was a result of a democratic process that had begun way back at the beginning of the century with the constitutional revolution in 1906. So Iran was really making progress towards democracy. What did our coo do? It crushed the only democratic regime that America ever knew. The only regime that Iran ever had that essentially embraced American principles. We then placed the Shaa back on the throne. The Shaa ruled for twenty five years ith increasing repression, his repression produced the explosion of the late 1970's, what we call the Islamic revolution. That was the revolution that not only took the Shaa away from us, our great pillar of power in the Middle East, but resulted with it the capture of our diplomats and their holding us hostage in a tremendously humiliating episode for the United States. The Iranian regime then went on the seek, through violent terror among other means, to counter American interests and attack American interests all over the world. Also served as an inspiration for countless militant Islamic groups like the Taliban and next door Afghanistan, the nuclear crisis that we're now facing with Iran, which is increasingly serious, is also a product of this regime and its ideology and its long time opposition to the United States. None of this had to happen. Iran might have been a functioning democracy in the heart of the Middle East for all these last fifty years. I can hardly wrap my mind around how the Middle East might look today if that had been the case. As it has happened, there is not a single Iranian alive today that whose life has not been completely shaped by this episode. And this episode has had devastating affect on the American national security because it has produced the Iranian regime we know today. That regime is the direct result of what we did in Iran in 1953. But that opertation was considered a great success. When Kermit Roosevelt came back to Washington, he was invited into the Oval Office to brief President Eisenhower and a few close advisors on how he had done it. Roosevelt had later wrote about that meeting and he said he looked over at Secretary of State John Foster Dulles who was the real mastermind of regime change of the 1950's, and he said Dulles had a big smile on his face. He seemed to be purring like a giant cat. I think I know what Dulles was thinking. I believe he was thinking, wow I got a whole new way to overthrow governments now, this is great, we don't have to land troops on shores anymore. We can use the CIA. Within a year Dulles did the same exact thing in a different country, that was Guatemala. Guatemala had been a tyranny ever since it had been independent from Spain, but in the late 1940's as a result of the same nationalist trend that inspired people in Iran, Guatemala embraced democracy and produced a remarkable leader, Jacob Arbenz, who imposed a land reform program in Guatemala aimed at distributing land to the large majority of his countrymen who were wretchedly poor peasants. That lived was owned by United Fruit Company, they were not using it, they were just keeping it for future possible use. Not only did Arbenz not expropriate land that was being used, but he didn't even expropriate the fallow land. He said to the United Fruit, all the laws gonna say is you have to sell it to the government and the price is going to be, the price that you wrote down last year when you declared how much your land was worth on your tax form to us. This threw the United Fruit in a panic and they said of course that should not be considered the real value of the land. Its worth ten times that. But Arbenz was pretty firm and what did the United Fruit Company do? It went to its friends in Washington, it convinced them that Arbenz regime was actually communist inspired and that led to a coo which overthrew Arbenz and sent Guatemala down the road to a terrible civil war which lasted for thirty years and cost a lot of lives, literally hundreds of thousands of people. was actually my experiencing covering part of that war in the 1980's that made me start to think about some of these issues. Why does this keep happening in the world? So the events in Iran and Guatemala paved the way for CIA sponsored regime change. We staged a similar operation in Chile in 1973 against president Salvador Allende, his great crime had been nationalizing the two American companies who controlled the copper mining industry in Chile and undermining the interest of other American companies. In the more modern age, th the collapse of the Soviet Union, we've essentially returned to our original form of regime change. We don't have to do it covertly anymore, we just land troops again, this is actually a good thing be cause tyrants and dictators around the world began to realize that its not good to try to reform your country in a democratic framework because if you do that, if you allow free press and opposition political parties and labor unions and student groups, the CIA is gonna come in and they're gonna bribe people and they're going to manipulate your institutions, so better to have a tyranny. This was the lesson that Fidel Castro learned. You know, one of the people that was in Guatemala to observe this social democratic emerging in the early 1950's was a young doctor from Argentina named Che Guevara. After the coo happened he fled into the Mexican Embassy and finally got out of the country into Mexico. When he got to Mexico he met Fidel Castro who was in exile from Cuba. And Castro was very interested. He said tell me what you saw in Guatemala, what happened. And Che Guevara said well I saw what happened, I'll tell you what the lesson is for you, if we ever take power in Cuba, crush the army, crush the congress, abolish the constitution, abolish all individual rights because if you don't the Americans will come in and overthrow it. And actually in his first years of power, Castro often used to taunt the United States by saying Cuba is not Guatemala. So we taught a great lesson to would be leaders around the world. Impose a tyranny, because if you try a reform in a democratic context, the Americans won't allow that. So one of the advantages of studying the fourteen American overthrows of foreign governments together as I've done in my book is that I've come to see them in a new way, or in a way certainly different than how I saw them before. I think many of us are aware that some of these episodes happened. But we tend to see them as individual episodes. I'm now, because I've written about them in one book that tries to come together, seeing them more as a continuum, a series of tactics that Americans have used over a long period of time. And in my book I try to tease out some of the patterns that I've found. Briefly, here are some of them. First of all why do we carry out these interventions? Now there are some exceptions, not all of them fit into this general category but most do. The way that these countries first come to the attention of U.S. policy makers as dangerous or trouble making is that some American corporation or business establishment there is having trouble with the local regime. The local regime is giving them problems, its forcing them to pay higher taxes or to observe labor laws, or environmental laws and they're rebelling against this. So they come to the U.S. and complain to the government but the, by the time the government embraces the cause the reason for it has morphed a little bit. It has gone from being purely economic to being political and strategic. The government sees that it doesn't need to intervene only because some company is having trouble, but the fact that some country is having trouble shows that that regime must be hostile to American principles to capitalism, to free enterprise, its probably a tool of America's enemy and that's why it has to be crushed. The leaders of the country then after morphing, transforming the motivation from economic to political then wrap it in another guise towards presentation towards the United States public. American's are so compassionate and really very innocent. And for that reason American leaders have come to realize that the way to sell an intervention to Americans is to say we are only intervening n order to help the people in the country that we're intervening. We are not intervening for our own interests. We are not trying to do anything selfish, in fact we are sacrificing ourselves to help bring the form of life, the form of political organization that we know has been successful, because its been so successful in the U.S. to foreign nations. Including nations that might be so backward they don't even understand how much much they need to adopt the system of politics and culture that we have. So, in a sense, government steps in to lead a parade that has been already marred for other reasons. Another common factor that ties these interventions together is what happens afterwards? There's always a crucial moment immediately after we overthrow a government. That's when the U.S. has to decide who we gonna put in now as the new leader? We've gotten rid of the guy we didn't like so we want to have a new leader. We want this person to have essentially two qualities. First, we want to have somebody who's popular in the country who will be supported by the people. And the other thing we want is somebody who will do what we want. After all we didn't overthrow a government just to have a new one that doesn't like us. Immediately we realize that we can't have both. If your going to have someone who is popular that means that he 's going to put the interest of his own country first, ahead of the interest of the United States, but that's not what the United States wants. We don't intervene in countries so they are led by people who don't put our interests first. So we have to choose. Either we're going to choose someone who's popular or someone who will do (unidentified). Well it's a pretty easy choice. We choose the guy that will do our bidding, that guy is actually not the popular one. And the longer and more enthusiastically he does our biding, trampling on the interests of his own country in order to do so, the more unpopular he becomes. That means he needs more American support to stay in power and that means exercising more repression to keep down his people. As a result, not only does opposition to his rule develop, but that opposition also becomes very anti-American. Ultimately that produces a huge explosion and that results in a regime that is far worse and far more anti-American than the one we intervened to overthrow in the first place. This pattern has been repeated time and time again and I think we're seeing another