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Whitewashing the Shah: racial liberalism and U.S. foreign policy during the 1953 Coup of Iran

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When the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency recently declassified documents relating to the 1953 Coup in Iran, it was discovered that American involvement was much deeper than previously known. In

When the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency recently declassified documents relating to the 1953 Coup in Iran, it was discovered that American involvement was much deeper than previously known. In fact, the CIA had orchestrated the coup against democratically-elected Mohammed Mossadegh. This action was sold to the United States public as being essential to democracy, which seems contradictory to its actual purpose. U.S. political leaders justified the coup by linking it to what Charles Mills calls “racial liberalism,” a longstanding ideological tradition in America that elevates the white citizen to a place of power and protection while making the racial noncitizens “others” in the political system. Political leaders in the United States relied on bribing the American media to portray the Shah as the white citizen and Mossadegh as a racial other, the white citizen was restored to power and the racial other was overthrown.

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  • 2016