Do the Americans believe in democracy?

All my life I have listened to Americans (especially their Presidents) go on about how democracy is their number one core value. How it is the reason they flex their military power so frequently and how the many Americans who die in these conflicts are the price worth paying on the high altar of democracy. However if you look at what America does instead of what America says you get a completely different story.

In 1953, in Operation Ajax, the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran by arranging a military coup. The installed an absolute dictator, the Shah, who was in power for the next 26 years.

Between 1970 and 1973 Chile had a democratic government led by Salvador Allende. He was an extreme socialist which the Americans didn’t like so they ran a huge dirty tricks campaign to destabilise his regime culminating in a CIA organised military coup in which Allende was killed. He was replaced by Augusto Pinochet, a nasty military dictator.

In 1984 in Nicaragua the Sandinsta, a socialist party, won free and fair national elections. This did not stop the American government running a proxy war against them using Contra guerillas. This resulted in 50,000 casualties and $12billion of damage.

In 2006 there were free and fair democratic (more democratic that in Israel) elections in Palestine which were comprehensively won by the Hamas party, which Israel and therefore America didn’t like. So, in one of the most despicable political acts of recent times, America (along with the other members of the quartet) imposed economic sanctions on Palestine. An undemocratic Fatah government was imposed on the West Bank and Gaza effectively became a concentration camp with the population forced to live in appalling conditions. The official Envoy to the quartet is Tony Blair.

So you must be beginning to see a pattern here. America likes democracy only if it gives the results that they want. The will of the people around the world doesn’t matter at all if American politicians don’t like the outcome of their votes.

So to bring us bang up to date the Middle East is full of undemocratic countries that vary from being fairly nasty for their citizens to being very nasty. Many of these are supported and some even propped up by America. Once again that proclaimed love of democracy can be seen to be a sham. Of the 22 countries in the Arab League only 3 could possibly even be considered to be democratic. The current uprisings have a good chance of increasing this number, but they need the support of the world.

Just now the attention is on Bahrain and Iran, both rather nasty dictatorships where the vast majority of the population have had more than enough. And here we see American hypocrisy shining through once again. In Bahrain the nasty regime are friends of the American government so all the Americans are asking for is that both sides be peaceful. In Iran the nasty regime are enemies of the American government so the Americans are spurring the demonstrators on to overthrow their dictators, in the name of democracy.

So here is a piece of advice, next time you hear any American politician mention the word democracy just reach for the sick bag.

1 Comment


  1. I don’t know if you’ve read it, but for anyone reading your blog who hasn’t and is interested in the conflicts you mention (particularly the ones in South America), Manufacturing Consent – the book Noam Chomsky wrote with Edward Herman – has lots of details about how America helped overthrow democratically elected governments in various South and Central American countries by funding death squads and the likes. Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism helps shed light on America’s reasons for doing so.

    Both important books that as many people as possible should read.

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