What were the positives to the United States actions in the Cold War in Chile, Guatemala and Iran respectively?

2 Answers

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

First, we must realize that the positives and negatives of these actions are largely in the eye of the beholder.  It is very difficult to objectively determine if any of these actions did any good.  My own view is that any good that they did is relatively minor.

Most people would tend to say that these actions were all rather negative.  In each case, the US helped to overthrow a leader who had been democratically elected.  In Guatemala and Iran in particular, US actions ended up making the US very unpopular with much of the populace of the countries.  Most people would see these as negatives.

If there are positive effects, they are harder to see.  Perhaps the clearest positive effect is the effect on Chile’s economy.  When Allende was overthrown, the Chilean economy was struggling.  It continued to struggle in the early years of the Pinochet regime, but it then experienced significant growth.  Therefore, we can at least argue that the overthrow was good for the Chilean economy. 

We can also argue that the US’s actions were good because they helped to prevent the spread of communism.  This is, of course, hard to prove.  We cannot know whether the countries would have become communist if they had been left on their own.  However, if we are looking for positives, we can at least assert that the countries would have become communist if it had not been for American intervention.

It is also possible to argue that these interventions improved America’s standing in the world.  We can argue that they helped to show that we were willing to assert our power whenever it was necessary.  We can say that this helped to convince the countries of the world that we were willing to stand up to the Soviets and to communists in general.  It is not clear to me that these arguments are very accurate, but it is possible to make them.

Thus, it is possible to find ways to argue that these US actions were positive.  However, there are many who would argue that they were actually net negatives for the US and for the countries in which we intervened.

parama9000's profile pic

parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

It improves America's reputation or name as a country that is willing to right wrongs. Also, they are recognized for guiding countries out of dictatorship etc., such as Egypt, albeit not very stably.