A principal instrument of U.S. foreign policy is covert regime change, meaning a secret action by the U.S. government to bring down the government of another country. There are strong reasons to believe that U.S. actions led to the removal from power of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in April 2022, followed by his arrest on trumped-up charges of corruption and espionage, and sentencing this week to 10 years imprisonment on the espionage charge. The political objective is to block Pakistan’s most popular politician from returning to power in the elections on February 8.
The key to covert operations of course is that they are secret and hence deniable by the U.S. government. Even when the evidence comes to light through whistleblowers or leaks, as it very often does, the U.S. government rejects the authenticity of the evidence and the mainstream media generally ignore the story because it contradicts the official narrative. Because editors at these mainstream outlets don’t want to peddle in “conspiracy theories,” or are simply happy to be the mouthpieces for officialdom, they give the U.S. government a very wide berth for actual regime-change conspiracies.
Covert regime change by the U.S. is shockingly routine. One authoritative study by Boston University professor Lindsay O’Rourke counts 64 covert regime change operations by the U.S. during the Cold War (1947 and 1989), and in fact the number was far larger because she chose to count repeated attempts within one country as a single extended episode.