'Regime Change' Not New for U.S.

Maybe the United States will just march into Iraq, take over and give Saddam Hussein the boot. Maybe it will get Iraqis or other allies to do the dirty work. Maybe economic strangulation will smoke Saddam out. Perhaps he'll even end up dead.

Such things have befallen America's enemies before.

Following are some of the varied examples of "regime change" instigated, approved or driven by the United States:

Hawaii, 1893 — U.S. forces invaded the island kingdom of Hawaii and forced the surrender of the ruling Queen Lili'uokalani as she secretly worked on a new constitution that would restore power and influence to native Hawaiians. Power had shifted to non-native sugar planters and businessmen via a "Bayonet Constitution" imposed in 1887, though the royal family continued to preside. After Lili'uokalani surrendered, local business interests pushed for annexation by the United States, which occurred in 1898. Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state in 1959. To this day, however, a few Hawaiians still dispute the validity of U.S. rule.

Colombia/Panama, 1903 — President Theodore Roosevelt was unable to reach a deal with Colombia to build a canal through its isthmus of Panama, so the United States took advantage of a revolt in the region and quickly recognized Panama as an independent country. The diplomatic recognition was followed quickly by a deal to build a U.S.-run canal. America ran the canal and a surrounding zone until turning it over to Panama in 1999.

Germany, 1945 — World War II's allied powers continued to run Germany for years after its surrender on May 8, 1945. The Soviet Union eventually converted its sphere of influence into the Communist satellite state of East Germany. But amid continuing economic and organizational aid, the United States, Britain and France created a functioning democracy in West Germany, also known as the Federal Republic of Germany. The country gained limited self-government in 1949, and later full autonomy and NATO membership. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East and West Germany reunited in 1990.

Japan, 1945 — Japan surrendered to World War II's allied powers on Sept. 2, 1945, and soon was placed under allied control administered by U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur. According to the U.S. State Department's Internet site, "U.S. objectives were to ensure that Japan would become a peaceful nation and to establish democratic self-government supported by the freely expressed will of the people." A new constitution took effect in 1947 and Japan — now a U.S. ally described by the State Department as "a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government" — gained full sovereignty in 1952.

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