Thumbnail sketches of United States imperialistic interventions, military adventures, takeovers and other busy-bodying in foreign countries in the last 105 years (1898 - 2003).


by James K. Sayre


Copyright 2003 by James K. Sayre, All Rights Reserved.


The Monroe Doctrine

The Monroe Doctrine, which was first espoused by President James Monroe in 1823 proclaimed that the Western Hemisphere of the Americas: North America, Central America, the Caribbean and South America were the exclusive province of the influence of United States of America and that European powers were specifically forbidden from further intervention in these regions. This imperialistic document became the legal and moral justification for many U. S. interventions in Central America, South America and the Caribbean from 1898 to 1941.


The Spanish-American War:

The Spanish-American War of 1898 was the first real post-Civil War flexing of American imperialistic strength. After defeating the Spanish fleet, America took control of Cuba and the Philippine Islands in 1898, as spoils of winning that war. Support for this war was generated by the Hearst newspapers under the cry, "Remember the Maine." The Maine was a U. S. battleship that was in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. It was sunk under very mysterious circumstances, possibly by those attempting to foment war between Spain and the United States.


An alphabetical list of countries where the U. S. has intervened in the last one hundred and five years:



Since the 1980s, U. S. administrations have been intervening in Bolivian internal affairs under the guise fighting Ché Guevara and the political rebels that have been fighting with the central government of Bolivia and more recently against the so-called "war against drugs."





bombed and invaded by the U. S. military under the Nixon administrations, 1969 - 1974.



The U. S. government under President Nixon had the C.I.A. support and direct the overthrow the democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende in 1973 and replace it with the brutal dictatorship of General Pinochet.



Since the 1980s, U. S. administrations have been intervening in Columbia internal affairs originally under the guise of the so-called "war against drugs" and more recently directly against the political rebels fighting with the government of Columbia.



The U. S. directly ruled Cuba from 1898 to 1902 and intervened again in 1912 and 1917. After the dictator Bastista was overthrown by Fidel Castro in 1959, the liberation forces closed the gambling casinos and whorehouses in Havana. Since then, the U. S. boycotted, blockaded and sent C.I.A. and dissident forces to try to destroy the Cuban regime. The American trade and travel boycott has been going on for over forty years now.



Dominican Republic:

Occupied by U. S. Marines from 1916 to 1934. In 1930, a certain Mr. Trujillo staged a coup, seized power and became a military dictator. In 1965, the people revolted against the dictator and President Lyndon Johnson sent in the U. S. Marines and other forces. After a series of actions including an election, the U. S. forces were withdrawn in 1966.



El Salvador:

U. S. support of the right-wing military elements and the Arena party was strong during the Reagan Administrations when thousands of civilians were murdered by these forces. Things were more peaceful in the 1990s during the Clinton Administrations.





On October 25, 1983, U.S. forces invaded Grenada and took over the government under the guise of "protecting U. S. medical students." This invasion occurred during the first Reagan Administration.



The government of Arbenz Guzman, who was democratically-elected in 1950, which had the gall to nationalize some of the foreign owned banana plantations including those owned by the United Fruit Co. In 1954, the C.I.A overthrew that democratically-elected government and installed its own choice, a certain Colonel Armas, who became a .

right-wing dictator. U.S. intervention continued through the 1980's under Reagan and Bush I. Finally, in the middle 1990s a democratic election was held and relative peace has continued for the last several years.



The U. S. military invaded and controlled Haiti for many years, from 1905 to 1941 More recently, in 2004, U. S. forces kidnapped the elected President Aristede and replaced him with gangs of death squads. .




The Kingdom of Hawai'i was taken over Americans in a bloodless coup on January 17, 1893 in which Queen Liliuokalani was deposed. In July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawai'i was established with Sanford B. Dole as its President. On August 12, 1898, the United States annexed Hawai'i and organized it as the Territory of Hawai'i on June 14, 1900. On August 21, 1959, Hawai'i became the 50th State of the United States.




The U. S. covertly and overtly intervened in Honduras during the 1980s, as part of the U. S. military effort supporting the Nicaraguan contra forces and other anti-democratic elements in Central America.



The CIA overthrew the democratically-elected Mossadegh government in 1953 and replaced his government with the Shah. Mossadegh's sin? He had the gall to begin the nationalization of foreign (British and US) oil companies and to return the oil to its owners, the Iranian people. Little wonder that after the Iranian people threw out the Shah in 1979, that they turned their attentions to the U. S. embassy in Tehran. It is truly amazing and frightening that practically all U. S. media accounts of the Iranian action to seize the U. S embassy personnel as hostages in 1979 neglected to show any of this very relevant historical background for the actions that occurred.



Iraq was part of the Ottoman Empire, until its collapse during World War I. In World War I, the combination of the imperial powers of Great Britain, France, the United States and Russia combined to defeat the German, Austro-Hungarian and Turkish (Ottoman) empires. In 1921 the Kingdom of Iraq was established under a British mandate. However, the American government demanded a share of Iraqi oil reserves and received 23.75%, along with the Dutch, the French and the British [Becker]. In the early 1920s British forces brutally suppressed Iraqi and Kurdish revolts. [Becker]. In 1925, the British dropped poison gas from airplanes on the town of Sulamnaiya, in the Kurdish part of northern Iraq [Becker]. In 1932, Iraq supposedly gained its independence from Britain; however foreign British, Dutch, French and American oil companies still controlled the vast oil reserves of Iraq. In 1958 a military and general revolution occurred, the Kingdom was replaced by a Republic. The foreign oil facilities were seized and nationalized. In 1968, the Ba'ath party seized power and has been in control to date. Iraq and Iran fought a long war from the middle 1970s until 1990. During this war, the U.S. supported Iraq against the newly fundamentalist Islamic state of Iran. The U.S. supplied the Iraqi dictator Saddam with arms, financial support and chemical weapons.(the later became known as the "weapons of mass destruction" in the Bush 2 Presidency). The U.S. also supplied Saddam with secret satellite information about Iranian troop movements that enabled him to most effectively use those chemical weapons. In 1990, Iraq invaded its neighbor Kuwait, but was driven out a year later by forces led by the United States. President Bush has demonized Iraq as one of the three members of "the axis of evil" in 2001 (along with Iraq's enemy, Iran!). Relations have been going downhill ever since the pugnacious Mr. Bush came to power in January 2001. In March 2003, American and British forces bombed and invaded the soverign state of Iraq. In April, the Saddam-Baath Party Iraqi government collapsed and the Coalition of two and a quarter (US, Brits and a few Aussies) took power.



After the Japanese lost World War II, Korea was freed of Japanese occupation troops, which were replaced by U.S.S.R... troops in the North and U. S. troops in the South. By 1949, both countries had withdrawn their troops. In the early 1950, after an invasion of South Korea by North Korea, U. S. forces intervened in the war. In 1953, a standoff occurred and an armistice was signed which continued the division of the country at the 38th parallel. U. S. troops have been in South Korea for over fifty years now. In the last few years, there has been a gradual thawing of relations between North Korea and South Korea. However, after the pugnacious Mr. Bush become the U. S. President in January 2001, he indulged in a lot of name calling and a freezing of relations with North Korea. Things have been on a downward track ever since.



Bombed and invaded by the U. S. military under the Nixon administrations, 1969 - 1974.



The U. S. intervened in the 1982 during a civil war. On September 17, 1983, U. S. naval forces began shelled anti-government forces. U. S. forces were withdrawn soon after a suicide truck bombing killed 241 American military on October 23, 1983. In 1984, U. S. forces were completely withdrawn from Lebanon.



Marshall Islands:

The Marshall Islands became part of a U. S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Some trust: from 1946 to 1958, the U. S. exploded sixty-four nuclear bombs on the Bikini Atoll and Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. In 1979, the Marshall Islands became an independent nation.



U. S. Marines occupied Nicaragua from 1912 to 1925 and from 1927 to 1933. In 1936 General Somoza staged a coup, seized power and became a brutal dictator. In 1979, the rebel Sandinistas drove Somoza from power after a seventeen year struggle. In the early 1980s the Reagan Administration supported the right-wing Contra movement which attempted to overthrow the Sandinista government. In 1984, the U. S. Congress cut off funding for the Contra movement.



In 1903 the United States supported and funded a movement to separate Panama from Columbia and thus allow the unopposed construction of the Panama Canal. The U. S. maintained control of the Canal Zone, a ten-mile wide strip of land that cut Panama into two pieces, from 1903 until 1979 when the Carter Administration ceded ownership of the Canal Zone to Panama. In 1989, under the Bush I Administration, U. S. forces invaded Panama and seized General Manual Noriega, who had previously been indicted in the U. S. on charges of drug trafficking. An estimated six hundred Panamanian civilians died in the U. S. assault. It should be noted that Manual Noriega had long been befriended and supported by the U.S. He had even taking training at the notorious School of the Americas in Georgia, where American military taught Central American and South American military the fine arts of torture.


The Philippines:

America replaced Spain as the rulers of the Philippine Islands in 1898 and stayed on until finally leaving in 1946, after the end of World War II.


Puerto Rico:

The U. S. took over Puerto Rico from colonial Spain in 1898 after the War of 1898 between the U. S. and Spain. Of course, the citizens of the island of Puerto Rico had no say in the matter. Puerto Rico now has Commonwealth status with the U. S. and its citizens are U. S. citizens.



On August 20, 1998 the United States attacked and bombed the largest pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan with cruise missiles by order of the Clinton Administration on the allegation that it was producing chemicals for terrorists or was owned by terrorist supporters. Some twenty Sudan civilians were killed in the attack. Both allegations were later shown to be completely false. The United States later apologized for the attack and paid millions of dollars in financial compensation.



Since the 1980s, U. S. administrations have been intervening in Venezuelan internal affairs under the guise of the so-called "war against drugs" and more recently directly against the political rebels fighting with the government of Venezuela.



After the colonial French forces were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the Vietnamese thought that they would finally be allowed to become independent. Their leader, Ho Chi Minh, even had written a Constitution for Vietnam modeled after the U. S. Constitution. But the U. S. had other plans. The U .S. forces grew in number and increasing intervened in Vietnam in the early 1960s. Under President Lyndon B. Johnson massive bombing raids and troop invasions were instituted. These continued during the two Nixon Administrations until the final collapse of the South Vietnamese puppet government in 1974.


Virgin Islands:

The U. S. purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark on March 31, 1917 for $25,000,000. The residents were never consulted in this matter.




In a very recent intervention, in early November 2002, the CIA used a pilotless drone to bomb and destroy a single jeep carrying about six passengers driving in the north of Yemen. It was alleged that the jeep held important Al-Queda operatives. One of the people killed in the attack on the jeep was an American citizen. No trial, no judge, no jury, no charges filed, just summary executions Bush-style.




Becker, Richard, The U. S. & Iraq: A History, 1992. May be viewed at http: //


Brunner, Borgna, Editor, 1998 Information Please Almanac, 1997. Boston, Massachusetts: Information Please LLC.


The Reader's Digest Association, Reader's Digest 1987 Almanac, 1986. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association.




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Web page last updated on 7 June 2003.