The 'morning after' regime change: Should US force democracy again?
Reconsider the US success rate before forcing democracy again
By Minxin Pei and Sara Kasper
WASHINGTON – Recent press reports of the Bush administration's plans for a post-Hussein Iraq have underscored Washington's determination to seek a regime change in Baghdad, even though the White House claims that its primary objective remains disarming Iraq. Instead of becoming giddy over the prospects of a new democratic Iraq, President Bush's advisers should review Washington's own - decidedly mixed - record of regime change and temper their optimism.
Among the major powers, the US has engaged in the largest number of regime changes. Since the past century, it has deployed its military to impose democratic rule in foreign lands on 18 occasions. Yet this impressive record of international activism has left an uninspiring legacy. Of all the regimes the US has replaced with force, democratic rule has been sustained in only five places - Germany, Japan, Italy, Panama, and Grenada. This suggests a success rate of less than 30 percent. Outside the developed world and Latin America, there hasn't been a single success.