Friendly Tyrants: An American Dilemma by Daniel Pipes

By Daniel Pipes

What do the South Vietnamese executive, the Shah and Ferdinand Marcos have in universal? All have been allied to the us; all defied democratic and liberal norms; and all 3 fell in a blaze, growing difficulties for the us. those 3 circumstances - and one other eighteen extra - are the topic of pleasant Tyrants, the 1st research ever to survey the contentious, continual challenge of U.S. executive relatives with pro-American authoritarian rulers.

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But from the mid-1950s on, Batista grew repressive, bloody, and greedy. He squandered his support and his villainy gave rise to numerous efforts to unseat him. One of these, which eventually became the center of the opposition, was led by Fidel Castro. Eisenhower administration principals, busy with the cold war, had barely noticed Cuba for years. The administration recognized that a problem existed by 1957, however, when it replaced Ambassador Arthur Gardner, who was seen as too close a social partner of Batista's, with Earl E.

S. realpolitik practice elsewhere. The Eisenhower administration has been criticized for fawning over the most unsavory of tyrants in Latin America, offering "money, medals, and military support," as one writer put it. 7 Recently declassified documentation from the Eisenhower era reveals, however, the existence of a serious internal debate within the administration on the question of dealing with dictators. This debate came to a head in the aftermath of Richard Nixon's nearly catastrophic trip to Latin America in 1958, in which the vice president was almost killed by a mob of angry students in Caracas.

Some states (such as Saudi Arabia) have overwhelming strategic importance; others (like Haiti) have only marginal importance. S. policy). Some, particularly if they are wobbly, face strong communist or guerrilla challenges, others do not. S. policy makers and, unless they face imminent trouble, it is probably best not to tamper with their internal political structure. States that matter less tend to offer more leeway for American action. Without judging here the skill with which policy was pursued, this logical calculus is what led the Carter administration to pressure Anastasio Somoza Debayle over human rights issues, but not the shah of Iran, because the administration thought that Nicaragua did not matter much strategically, nor could it ever, while it knew that Iran did and always would.

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