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From London. I'm Lindsey Graham and this is American scandal. Today, we're wrapping up the encore presentation of our series on Iran Contra. We're bringing a new interview with some fresh insight about the political scandal. In many ways, Iran-Contra was wrapped up with American attempts to overthrow foreign governments. It was a story about coups and the way the U.S. uses them to shape world events. One of those coups unfolded more than three decades before Iran-Contra made international headlines. But it still took place in Iran in 1953 when the CIA helped overthrow the country's democratically elected prime minister.


These actions led to decades of hostility between the two countries and set in motion a U.S. embargo on selling weapons to Iran, a restriction that was disregarded as the events of the Iran-Contra affair unfolded after the U.S. covertly sold weapons to Iran. Officials use proceeds from the sale to fund another attempted coup, this time in Nicaragua.


The Iran Contra affair would threaten the presidency of Ronald Reagan, and it's shown a bright light on the US's covert actions to shape foreign governments and pull the levers of power on the world stage. Today, I'm speaking with Stephen Kinzer, author of Overthrow America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. Kinzer is a former New York Times foreign correspondent who's covered more than 50 countries.


He's written several books about foreign policy, including one about the 1953 coup in Iran, is also a senior fellow in international and public affairs at Brown University. Our conversation after the break. American scandal is sponsored by ancestry. Maybe you've heard that you have your father's eyes when your mom sense of humor or you laugh like Uncle George or love words like your grandmother, those resemblances aren't limited to family. Inside you in every one of your cells is a small piece of the history of humanity, a story that goes back generations that proves you and me and everyone on the planet are related.


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Stephen Kinzer, welcome to American Scandal. Good to be with you. Our series covers the Iran Contra affair, which became a national scandal in the 1980s. But Iran-Contra really had its roots decades earlier when the U.S. took part in a coup of Iran's government in 1953. What was happening in the time leading up to the coup? And why did the U.S. want to get involved in Iran's internal affairs?


In the first half of the 20th century, Americans began arriving in Iran. Most of them were Christian missionaries from the Presbyterian Church.


They opened up schools and hospitals. They did not participate in aggressive conversion campaigns. They seemed to be model citizens. They were tremendously admired by Iranians. A whole generation, two generations of Iranian leaders was educated at schools run by Americans in Iran. The best health care facilities in Iran during the first half of the 20th century were run by Americans. At the same time, the British, the Russians and other outside powers were relentlessly pulling Iran apart and squeezing every bit of value they could out of it.


So the Americans seemed like the magnificent Prince Charming. Amidst a wilderness of ugly stepmothers, America really held an exaggerated position in the admiring eyes of Iranians. So what happened at the end of World War Two? The imperial geography in the Middle East changed dramatically. The period of French and British rule was ending and the United States was moving in as the dominant power in Iran.


But something else was happening in Iran. The end of World War Two produced a burst of democracy.


A democratic government came to power in Iran. That government, reflecting the national will, nationalized Iran's greatest asset, which was its oil industry.


The oil industry was one of the things that had been looted by the British.


And according to a treaty that had been squeezed out of a former Shah, all the oil under the soil of Iran belonged to one British company, which in turn was owned by the British government. So to rebel against this injustice, the Iranian government nationalized its oil reserves. This terrified the British. They brought the Americans who had their own fears regarding Iran that had to do with the Cold War into the plot. And the two of them decided, the British and the Americans, we cannot stand a democratic government in Iran if that government is going to disturb the global economic system that allows the rich countries to take resources from the producing countries at the prices that the rich countries want to pay, the Iranian government is posing a great threat to the old way the world had been ruled.


It was the beginning of the rise of the Third World after the Second World War, and it was for that reason that the United States became involved in nineteen fifty three in what turned out to be a successful effort not only to overthrow the Prime Minister of Iran, but to destroy the democratic system in Iran in ways so severe that it has never been able to be reconstructed up to this day.


How exactly did this coup play out? What was the US involvement in during the Truman administration? In the early 1950s, there had been a few proposals from the CIA that the United States become involved in overthrowing the government of Iran.


President Truman firmly ruled that out.


Everything changed after the nineteen fifty two election when President Eisenhower came to power. His Secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, and his CIA director, who was Dulles brother Allen, were fervently eager to overthrow the Mossadeq government, and they brought Eisenhower to understand their view. That was, Iran was too rich to be left alone in an environment so close to the Soviet Union and therefore this dangerous leader had to be overthrown. So how did the plot unfold? The CIA was given the job at this time.


The CIA was a new agency. It had only existed for barely more than five years. It had never overthrown a government. So the CIA director sent his Middle East chief to Iran in the summer of nineteen fifty three.


That CIA officer was very intrepid. He did everything from bribing Islamic clerics to denounce the government from the pulpits to bribing newspapers to publish terrible things about the leaders of the country to. Hiring street gangs to rampage through the streets and cry, we want communism and then hiring another gang to attack that gang so that Iran seemed to be in complete chaos. It only took three weeks for that intrepid CIA officer to overthrow the government of Iran. The overthrow was achieved at the end of August.


Nineteen fifty three, the elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq, was overthrown and later imprisoned. And the Shah of Iran, who had fled, was placed back on the peacock throne by the CIA and proceeded to begin his long twenty five year rule.


Let's step back a little bit and explore perhaps why the United States was involved in Iranian politics. We understand the British perspective, perhaps a little easier. They were losing resources, but America didn't have the same deals in place. They are more afraid of the Russian influence.


What was the Iranian problem in America's eyes as soon as the Eisenhower administration took office in Washington? In fact, it was even a few weeks before the inauguration. The British sent one of their top secret agents from London to Washington. His job was to meet the new incoming team and see if you could persuade these new guys coming in with Eisenhower to reverse American policy and agree to partner with the British in a coup to overthrow the government of Iran.


So I think there were a variety of reasons. It certainly is true that the Americans had an interest in the stability of the oil industry in the Middle East. The Dulles brothers, in their previous incarnations as corporate lawyers, had been deeply involved in corporate ventures in Iran and detested Mossadeq for their own reasons. It was also true that the Americans were worried not just about oil, but about all resources. If Mossadeq could succeed in nationalizing oil, then leaders in other poor countries could nationalize their own resources, and the whole system by which the world was governed economically could be upset.


So those were definitely concerns. But there is no doubt that the Americans were drawn into this because Eisenhower managed to be persuaded in a roundabout way that Mossadeq was somehow sympathetic to communism. Now, the fact is, Mossadeq was an elderly feudal landlord who detested all Marxist and socialist ideas. And in fact, as you trace the development of this coup through the American government, which you can now do because so many documents have been declassified, you see that there's only one moment where somebody raises a question about whether this is a good idea.


And the person who raises the question is Eisenhower himself at a National Security Council meeting. He essentially says, I'm glad we're getting rid of this communist Mossadeq, but I didn't realize he was a communist. I think I'd like to just send him some money to build up the country. And the Foster Dulles, the secretary of state, came back with a great answer. He essentially said it's true Mossadeq is not a communist, but Mossadeq is old. Mossadeq is sick.


He could die. He could be overthrown. Iran is a big country. It has a lot of oil. It's on the border with the Soviet Union. It's just too dangerous to let it keep going as it is. And Eisenhower with that approved the venture. And that's how America was drawn into what was called Operation Ajax.


So that's the 1953 coup and that's 25 years later that the 1979 Iranian revolution happens. But they are connected. What is the line between them?


There is a direct line between the American coup of nineteen fifty three, which promoted what we thought were American interests and the so-called Islamic Revolution of 1979, which was led by people who were trying to get rid of American influence. So essentially what happened in nineteen fifty three was that the CIA placed the Shah back on his peacock throne and empowered him to rule personally. This he did with increasing repression for twenty five years. It was his repression encouraged by Americans, including by massive arms sales that produced the explosion of the late 1970s, what we call the Islamic Revolution.


That revolution produced a government led by fanatically anti-American mullahs who have spent the last forty years very intently and sometimes quite violently trying to undermine American interests all over the world so that nineteen fifty three coup essentially was a kind of a time bomb.


We thought it was a success. At the moment.


We got rid of a guy we didn't like, Mossadeq, and we replaced him with a guy. Who would do everything we said the shot. So it seemed like a success, but looking back at it now, particularly seeing how the Shah was deposed and what came afterward, it doesn't look so successful.


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Go to care of dotcom and enter code scandal 50. That's 50 percent off your first karaba order. And take care of dotcom ostracod scandal 50. So let's talk about the revolution in 1979, because after it came also the Iranian hostage crisis and perhaps the beginning of our Iran Contra scandal, what happened in the hostage crisis?


The hostage crisis is one of those episodes that certainly nobody in the United States understood when it was happening. It's only much later than it's become clear to us, and that's too late. By the time it became clear to us what has happened, everybody had moved on and wasn't paying attention anymore. So the negative stereotypes that were formed in the United States during the hostage crisis are very powerful in the Iran business. Some of us sometimes scratch our heads and wonder how did the American hostility toward Iran get so intense?


Why did it go so far out of control? Why is it so crazy? And part of the answer, I think, does go back to the emotions unleashed by the hostage crisis. So here's the way it looked from the outside world. A group of savages in Iran violated every law of God and man by invading an embassy and taking all the diplomats prisoner.


This is a violation of every fundamental right that has existed since the beginning of diplomacy. So we formed the view that Iranians act for no reason. They're savages, they're just nihilists. They only act out of pure hate. And they're totally irrational in doing things like this, which have no benefit and no reason to exist. So that's how we saw it. But it was only several years later that the first of those hostage takers began speaking and writing about what they had done.


And they told us something that nobody in America had any idea of.


What they wrote was this was not a nihilistic act or just a blind act of violence or savagery. This act was highly political and it had a very specific goal. The goal was to make sure that we did not have a repeat of fifty three. So what does that mean? This is what one of the leading hostage takers wrote in a long account of the episode. He said, Think back in 1953 what happened? The Shah of Iran fled the country, but the CIA, working through offices in the basement of the US embassy, organized a coup and brought him back, resulting in twenty five years of tyranny.


Now we're flashing forward. It's 1979.


The Shah has fled Iran again, the same Shah who fled twenty five years ago. What are we afraid of? That CIA agents working in the basement of the US embassy will stage a coup and bring him back. What made us think that?


Because it had already happened once, so it was to prevent a repetition of nineteen fifty three that we invaded that embassy in 1979. Now none of the hostage takers said this at the time, and if they had, nobody would have known what they were talking about. At this point, nobody in the United States knew that the United States had been responsible for destroying democracy in Iran in 1953 and thereby for the entire twenty five year tyranny of the Shah. People in Iran knew this, and that's why the embassy was invaded.


You've discussed the perhaps emotional consequences of the hostage crisis in 1979, but what were the policy consequences? How did the US embargo happen?


The US embargo was just part of a steadily ratcheting up of pressures on Iran that started at the time of the hostage crisis and has almost continually intensified since then. Think about the immediate results of that 1979 revolution when mullahs took over and when the hostage crisis was underway.


The United States was so angry at Iran for overthrowing our Shah and then for capturing our diplomats that we cheered on Iran's biggest enemy. That was Saddam Hussein in next door Iraq.


We supplied intelligence and weapons for Saddam when he invaded Iran in 1980 and launched that horrific Iran-Iraq war that lasted for eight years, that, in fact, President Reagan sent an envoy to meet with Saddam twice to ask him, what can we do to help you defeat the Iranians? And why was no one other than Donald Rumsfeld later to become secretary of defense who led the invasion of Iraq? So here is the United States in its love embrace with Saddam Hussein that led us to all our trouble in Iraq.


Why did that happen, because we were so angry with Iran. I'll give you another result of that 1979 uprising that was the long term result of our intervention. It has to do with the Soviets and Afghanistan. The Soviets were terrified by the 1979 revolution in Iran.


They thought it would empower Muslim radicals all along their borders, causing all kinds of trouble in their country. It was one of the main reasons they invaded Afghanistan, and that's what brought us into Afghanistan and brought us into the quagmire that we are still in. It all goes back to our hostility toward Iran.


So we have a bit of a convoluted brew here. We have strong anti-communist sentiment. We have strong suspicion and even hatred of the Iranians and a punitive policy that forbids trade with Iran. But this all sets the stage for a bit of a reversal in the Iran Contra scandal. Soon enough, we turn to the Iranians to finance our covert actions to fight communism, not in the Middle East, but in Central America. How might this new embrace of Iran have happened when the Iran Contra scandal broke?


I was covering the Contras. I at that time was the New York Times bureau chief in Nicaragua.


And on the very day that the Iran-Contra scandal became public, the day that newspaper in Lebanon broke the story, I was in San Jose, Costa Rica, at a meeting of the contra leaders and there was a break in the meeting and suddenly people were shouting and pointing at the TV. Everybody fell silent and the news came that the money that the Americans had been given, the Contras, was coming from, of all places where Iran and I tell you, all the contra leaders were there.


They looked at each other shocked. They couldn't believe it. They had no idea. All they knew was they tried to get some money and some money was finally forthcoming. They had no idea that Iran had anything to do with this. And really, they were just as incredulous as the whole rest of the world. The stories about the cake and the trips is so convoluted and crazy, I think it can only be explained by one thing. And that was the intense passion within the Reagan administration for crushing the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.


The Sandinistas were an obsession for Reagan and a group of the people around him. And I think they believed that anything you could do to help the Contras was vital. You'll remember that, of course, Congress had cut off funding for the Contras, that Reagan had asked Oliver North to try to keep them together, body and soul, and that was enough. But had it not been for Reagan's impassioned love, really, of the Contras, it never would have happened.


It was was not possible for Reagan to say, well, listen, if Congress has banned aid to the Contras, that's the law of the United States, it's not going to be any aid to the Contras. If he had just done that, this never would have happened.


But his passionate hatred for the Sandinistas and his fantasies about the possibilities of a contra victory allowed him to go so far in search of resources for the Contras that he would even reach out to our so-called arch enemies in Iran.


Well, we've mentioned certainly the how the coup on the 1953 coup in Iran set the stage for this scandal. Let's go back and talk a little bit about the coup in Nicaragua, what was happening and what was the United States involvement in it.


In 1979, a group of armed leftist revolutionaries called the Sandinistas seized power in Nicaragua. This was a shattering event. It had been 20 years since Castro seized power in Cuba and now it was happening again. Another Marxist oriented movement led by people who greatly admired Fidel Castro's Cuba had seized power in Nicaragua. Now, in the beginning of the Sandinista period, they took over.


In the summer of 1979, Jimmy Carter was president of the United States. He was trying to work out some kind of a cooperative relationship, which would have been difficult under any circumstances. But the United States actually provided aid to Nicaragua at the beginning of the Sandinista government. That all changed when Reagan came into office. He said that he considered the Contras to be the equivalent of the founding fathers and the brave fighters of the French Resistance. And he said, I am a contra to even identify himself with them that closely.


So he ignored all reports of contra abuses and all reports on the military weakness of the Contras and made crushing the Sandinistas one of the top priorities of his foreign. Policy, he was willing to go to all extremes and portrayed the Sandinistas as an imminent threat to the United States, had to be crushed, otherwise the security of our country would be in danger.


He exaggerated the threat so greatly that it made it seem that anything would be justified to combat it. And it was in that mindset, I think, that he went along with the Iran idea.


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The Kaisers web is available now. Wherever audio books are sold, start listening. Let's talk about U.S. involvement in coups, not just in Iran and Nicaragua, those were decades ago. How has the U.S. attempted coups internationally since that Iranian coup of 1953? And what is our country's posture towards fomenting revolution overseas?


The United States first overthrew an established foreign government in Hawaii in 1883.


So it's been more than a hundred years since the U.S. has been in the regime change business now for a long time, essentially up until the Second World War, we didn't need covert interventions.


We just intervened overtly. We send in the troops or we have the ambassador deliver an ultimatum and we do it quite openly. You can't mistake the fact that we're overthrowing your government.


But after the Second World War, things changed. And the big change was that there was a new force in world affairs and that was the Soviet Union. There was the Red Army. So you never knew if the United States were to invade a country X in order to overthrow the government, if the Soviets might not send the Red Army to defend the government. And the next thing you know, you're spiraling into a confrontation that could lead to nuclear war.


So landing the Marines is no longer an option. In nineteen forty seven, the CIA was created.


It was immediately used for covert interventions. But the first president during the CIA era, Harry Truman, drew a line at overthrowing governments.


He would intervene in politics in other countries, but not overthrow governments.


That line disappeared with Eisenhower, and the 1953 coup in Iran was the first of the CIA coups that wound up overthrowing governments in decades to come.


It's been calculated that during the Cold War, so from nineteen forty five to 1989, more or less, there have been about 64 American interventions in foreign countries and only six have been overt.


I can't name them all off the top of my head, but there was Libya in the 80s.


There was Grenada, there was Panama, there was the Dominican Republic. There were one or two others.


But that's it. Almost all of our interventions became covert during the Cold War and they remain that way. So we have, first of all, the check on using military force.


It's no longer so well seen in the world. And then we also have the the lure of having this agency, the CIA, which has so many tentacles and which has now handed off many of its responsibilities to other agencies of the US government. We're so experienced in covert action that we feel we have a very valuable tool since we believe that it is the right of the United States to shape the course of all governments in the world. It's very handy to have a covert service that has offices in every US embassy in the world.


And it's through that network that the CIA promotes movements that lead to efforts to overthrow or influence governments in other countries.


You mentioned Hawai was the first U.S. overthrow of a government. I'm interested in what the first CIA operation was. Perhaps not an overthrow, but where did the CIA cut its teeth in meddling in foreign powers?


The first major CIA operation overseas came the very next year after the CIA was created. It was created and being put together at the end of nineteen forty seven as the early CIA officers sat around and decided what to do first. They immediately focused on one country. It was Italy. There was an election coming up in Italy, the first one since the Second World War. Meanwhile, Italy was very poor. The Communist Party was very strong. Communists had been at the center of the resistance movement during the war.


They were very prestigious. The traditional powers were weak. The Americans were terrified that a country in Western Europe would voluntarily vote in a communist government. We saw this as a real danger. So the CIA took on a major multifaceted project to influence the election in Italy. This involved breaking up the communist coalition. It involved funneling money to the Christian Democrats, our favored party. It involved placing advertisements and phony news columns in newspapers all across Italy. It even involved a campaign to get Italian Americans to write home to their relatives in Italy, telling them if you vote in the communists, the Americans are going to cut off all aid to Italy.


Don't do it. Millions of these letters were sent this massive.


Multipronged effort in Italy was successful in the 1948 election, the Communist Party was defeated by the Christian Democrats who have been greatly promoted in the United States. Even the Christian Democratic leader had been put on the cover of Time magazine as a great hero of freedom. So the 1948 election was considered a triumph at CIA headquarters, and it left the CIA officers looking around at each other saying, if we can do this, we can do anything.


Well, it certainly wasn't the first time that America meddled in elections towards the end of the Cold War. The CIA had its hands in Russian elections.


Tell us about that after the Gorbachev era and the collapse of the Soviet Union.


The new leader who emerged in Russia, as we all remember, was Boris Yeltsin.


Well, Boris Yeltsin turned out to be not only an alcoholic and an incompetent, but perfectly willing to sell off all the valuable assets in his country to a tiny group of super rich kleptocrats. Those are essentially what we call now the Russian oligarchs and to submit himself to the foreign policy of the United States. We decided we wanted a neoliberal regime in Russia.


OK, Yeltsin said that was fine. We decided the foreign policies we wanted Russia to follow. Yeltsin loved that Yeltsin was doing everything we wanted and when he came up for re-election in 1996, was quite clear that he was going to lose in the public opinion polls.


He was in the single digits. People have told me stories about life in those days. You had to get up before dawn and stand in line to get bread for your family. People have just horrible memories of Yeltsin. So it was no surprise that Yeltsin seemed to be finished at the end of that term and for that 1996 election. But Bill Clinton was determined to have Yeltsin re-elected. He told his aides, I want that guy to win so bad it hurts.


American advisers turned up in Moscow with all kinds of modern sampling techniques, the understanding of focus groups, the manipulation of advertising and television imaging, things that had never been seen in Russia before. A whole series of concepts for Yeltsin's campaign were developed by these American analysts. A lot of money was poured in. And then Clinton even went over there and announced that he had arranged for the World Bank to give hundreds of millions of dollars to Russia thanks to Yeltsin all that money.


Yeltsin then turned over to the kleptocrats who then happily pushed his re-election and amazingly, Yeltsin was reelected. This interference in the Russian election was so obvious that it actually appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The next week's issue of Time magazine showed a picture of a victorious Yeltsin with a big smile waving an American flag. There was even a movie made about this, so it was very direct and open American interference in the election that produced Yeltsin. And of course, an interesting footnote.


Yeltsin was so out of it by this time, he couldn't even make it into the office. And soon, because of what was described as health problems, he finally had to quit. He had to resign from being president of Russia. And his last act was to name his successor. And his successor was this little known former intelligence agent named Vladimir Putin. So it was all through the guy who we put into power in nineteen ninety six in Russia that we're dealing with Vladimir Putin today.


So we've taken a bit of a survey course here of of U.S. intervention in foreign countries, which should probably bring us to today. What is America doing in other countries now? Is it is it still as invasive? Absolutely.


The United States is working relentlessly to weaken governments around the world that we don't like. This is really the the litmus test. Is it a government that will do what we want when push comes to shove, or is that a defiant government?


America essentially considers the whole world outside of Russia and China to be our sphere of influence. We believe we should have ultimate say over the direction of all the countries in that sphere of influence, which is a pretty large sphere. Therefore, when a country defies us, say in Latin America, it's Cuba or Venezuela. If it's in the Middle East, it's Syria or Iran. We decide we can't tolerate this and we design a set of intensifying pressures to try to weaken and overthrow those governments.


All those countries near Russia are our targets, too. We're especially eager to create unhappiness and disorder and instability in places like Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus. We would like to read. Place governments that are sympathetic to Russia with governments that are favorable to the United States and the ultimate goal, of course, would be to bring down the government of Russia and make Russia once again submissive to the United States. So it's with this expansive vision that the United States sets out into the world to punish all countries that refuse to accept their place in our sphere of influence.


Looking back then, what do you think are the lessons we should learn from our coup attempts? How do you think the US will change its approach going forward, if at all?


Those are two very separate questions. How will the United States change its approach? I actually don't see much of a prospect for that. For us to stop intervening in other countries would mean a tremendous psychological shift. It would mean abandoning the whole idea of American exceptionalism.


That idea tells us that although other countries have to follow rules, the United States doesn't have to, because as our Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, put it, we stand tall or and we see further than other countries.


If you stop intervening means you abandon that. You think, actually, I don't know what's best for Bangladesh. I don't know what's best for Bolivia or Bhutan or Belgium or Burundi or any other country that starts with a, B or any other letter. This will be very difficult for Americans to do. So I think it would require such a huge mind shift for Americans to say the world knows pretty well how to deal with itself or Middle East countries will have to work out themselves what's going to be their security arrangement.


We're not putting our thumb on the scale. It's not up to us. This would be something very difficult, I think, for the United States to do. I hope it does. And I think each time we see a disaster like Iraq or before that, say, Vietnam, we do pull back for a while.


But the temptation is so strong, it's sort of built into our national DNA. As for lessons, I'd say that there's one overwhelming lesson to learn and it has to do with long term consequences.


Many of these interventions seem successful at the time. After all, the United States has such overwhelming power. If it sets out to overthrow the government of, say, Guatemala, it can do it quite easily. But there's a cliche in writing that says every story is either happy or sad, depending on where you end it.


If we could have ended the story of the Guatemala coup the next week, that might have been a success for us. But in the long run, the fact is history doesn't stop happening. Days keep unfolding, and the horrors that come from these coups over the long run are the real lesson. We often strike out at other countries to resolve an immediate problem, and we care. But in the long run, that brings us even greater problems.


When you intervene violently in the internal affairs of another country, you're doing something like releasing a wheel at the top of a hill. You can let it go, but you have no idea how it's going to bounce or where it's going to end up. So many of these interventions have wound up not only devastating the target country, but undermining American security. That's what's the most frustrating aspect of them. These these coups and these interventions are not only bad for the target countries and bad for the world.


Most of them are bad for the United States in the long run. But when you use that phrase in the long run, you've already lost a lot of people in America.


Americans are not. People like to understand things. We like to do things when we have a problem. We want an immediate resolution. And I think that's a great deal of the psychological pull that leads us to push the CIA and regime change button.


Stephen Kinzer, thank you so much for talking to me today. Thanks for doing it. I enjoyed it. That was my conversation with Stephen Kinzer, a former foreign correspondent, international policy expert and author of books including Overthrow and All the Shah's Men. Next on American Scandal. In 2008, Americans were shocked to learn about one of the largest scams in the country's history. It was a complex financial scheme, and as it unraveled, it would harm everyone from teachers to charities to blue collar workers.


The scam was perpetrated by Bernie Madoff. And as details about his Ponzi scheme trickled out, onlookers were left to wonder how did Madoff get away with it for so many decades? From Andre, this is Episode six of our encore presentation of Iran-Contra for American Skin. If you like our show, please give us a five star rating and leave a review. Be sure to tell your friends to subscribe on Apple podcast Spotify or wherever you're listening right now.


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Be sure to listen to my other podcast. To American history tellers and business movers. American Scandal has hosted, edited and executive produced by me, Lindsey Graham for Airship Audio Editing by Molly. By this episode was produced by Susan Valent, our senior producers gave Rezvan executive producers are Stephanie Gen's, Jenny Lour Beckman and Hernan Lopez for wondering. Beauty industry, mega companies Estee Lauder and L'Oreal both started small but had to play dirty to claim customers ripping off products, stealing counter space and copying ads.


Hi, I'm David Brown, the host of Wonderings Show Business Wars. We go deep into some of the biggest corporate rivalries of all time. And in our latest series, two competing innovators are on a mission to make women feel beautiful while raking in the profits.


Join us for Estee Lauder versus L'Oreal. Listen on Apple podcasts, Spotify or listen ad free by joining Sundari Plus in the Wonder App.