The United States government has been involved in the overthrow of foreign governments without the overt use of U.S. military force. Often such operations are tasked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Many of the governments targeted by the US are democratically elected, rather than authoritarian governments or military dictatorships. In many cases the governments toppled are replaced by dictatorships.
In 1953, the CIA works with the United Kingdom to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran led by Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh who has attempted to nationalize Iran’s petroleum industry, threatening the profits of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.
Declassified CIA documents show that Britain was fearful of Iran’s plans to nationalize its oil industry and presses the US to mount a joint operation to depose the prime minister and install a puppet regime.
Mohammad Mossadegh is arrested, tried in the military court and convicted of treason. The 72 year-old Mossadegh endures three years of solitary confinement and is kept under house arrest for the rest of his life.