The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1965-1989

by David F. Schmitz

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.

  • Cambridge University Press; March 2006
  • ISBN: 9780511190162
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships, 1965-1989
  • Author: David F. Schmitz
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

"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