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The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1965-1989 [Kindle Edition]

David F. Schmitz
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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  • Print ISBN-10: 0521861330
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0521861335
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Freedom of Speech by David K. Shipler
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Book Description

Building on Schmitz's earlier work, Thank God They're on our Side, this is an examination of American policy toward right-wing dictatorships from the 1960s to the end of the Cold War. During the 1920s American leaders developed a policy of supporting authoritarian regimes because they were seen as stable, anti-communist, and capitalist. After 1965, however, American support for these regimes became a contested issue. The Vietnam War served to undercut the logic and rationale of supporting right-wing dictators. By systematically examining US support for right-wing dictatorships in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, and bringing together these disparate episodes, this book examines the persistence of older attitudes, the new debates brought about by the Vietnam War, and the efforts to bring about changes and an end to automatic US support for authoritarian regimes.

Editorial Reviews


"This book is essential for understanding the central paradox of twentieth-century American foreign policy: why the world's oldest democracy repeatedly backed dictatorships in the name of freedom. Defenders of right-wing dictators argued they were a necessary evil. In his careful study of the collapse of the Cold War consensus since 1965, David Schmitz challenges the notion that this violation of core American values actually served U.S. interests. Friendly tyrants resisted necessary reforms and destroyed the political center, while the 'realist' policy of coddling dictators brought a backlash among foreign populations with long memories. A crucial insight into the uncertain status of America in the world today." Max Paul Friedman, Florida State University

"A terrific follow-up volume to Thank God They're on Our Side, by one of our most discerning diplomatic historians. Schmitz lays bare the contradictions in U.S. policy vis-a-vis the developing world in the second half of the Cold War, and forces us to think anew about the price paid for support of dictators." Fredrik Logevall, Cornell University

"Nowhere else is Schmitz's story as fully told or rendered with such verve. He shows how Washington's association with right-wing dictatorships has badly compromised the promotion of American values as a vital part of U.S. foreign policy." William O. Walker III, University of Toronto

"Schmitz's riveting account of U.S. support of right-wing dictatorships and its tragic consequences for democratic institutions at home and abroad, is indispensable reading for anyone seeking to understand American foreign policy and the contemporary challenges to democracy." Penny Von Eschen, University of Michigan

Book Description

A comparative and comprehensive examination of American policy toward right-wing dictatorships in Africa, Latin America, Europe, and Asia from the 1960s to the end of the Cold War. It examines the debates and changes in American policy and attitudes toward authoritarian regimes that emerged after the Vietnam War.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3064 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 13, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Companion to the First Volume January 12, 2010
This is a continuation of the author's first survey of US relations with rightist dictatorships from the 1920s to 1965. As with the previous volume Schmitz provides a good and impartial overview of the ideology and motivations of these relationships. Especially noteworthy is his balanced treatment of Jimmy Carter's human rights policy, and the attempted reversal by Ronald Reagan to the blackest days of reactionary patronage. Ironically, it was the legacy of Jimmy Carter which laid the foundation for the cold war's end, and of the "democratization" policies Reagan actually pursued in his second term that transformed the world.

As for the first reviewer from Iran, I can only wonder what planet he really hails from, and fear for the future of that country's journey to democracy if he represents its movement.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
In my opinion this book constitutes an objective analysis of american foreign policy torward right-wing dictatorships, from Suharto's Indonesia to Reza Pahlevi's Iran, from Somoza's Nicaragua to Chile, El Salvador, the Congo end South Africa apartheid regime.
The perspective Schmitz adopted is very useful to understand how american foreing policy has developed through different decades, precidencies, administrations. I found particularly interesting those pages dedicated to the relation between the President and the Congress.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best exposure of US foreign policy June 15, 2014
By doug k
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many books and articles have been written about US foreign policy in the Congo, Greece, Indonesia, Chile, Vietnam, Iran, Nicaragua, El Salvador, South Africa, the Philippines, Portugal, Spain, Angola, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. but this book is the best overall analysis of the policy of supporting these many right-wing dictatorships and provides a full discussion of the relationships to the Cold War, Cuba, the Vietnamese War, US economic and trade interests and US politics. The scholarship and writing are extremely good. Schmitz is an excellent historian and has written a number of other books including Thank God They're on Our Side: The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1921-1965, all worth reading.

A book like this provides a very strong argument for aggressive human rights policies and enlightened globalization thinking and action. We can only hope that Dr. Schmitz will continue to write. (I have no association with the author.)
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4 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A misrepresentation of facts by a partisan author September 21, 2009
By Winston
First of all, as an Iranian, I find the cover photo of the book so offensive and misleading. The Shah of Iran was in no way a dictator and in no way a right winger. And it is just not right for the author to try to link the anti-Communist policies of the United States during the cold war to its support for some of the autocrats around the world. So this is just another partisan book/author and unfortunately the book has zero or little information value.
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