Tag Archives for CIA

Below are all Moments in U.S. Diplomatic History tagged with, "CIA".

A Tale of Two Countries — and One Bizarre Hostage Situation

If you think your relationships are complex, consider the convoluted ties among Ghana, Guinea, and the United States in the mid-1960s. The friendship between Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah, and Guinea’s first President, Ahmed Sékou Touré, proved problematic for the United States, and even led to the first U.S. diplomatic hostage situation, years before Iran. […]

The U-2 Spy Plane Incident

On May 1, 1960, an America U-2 spy plane was shot down in Soviet airspace, causing great embarrassment to the United States, which had tried to conceal its surveillance efforts from the USSR. In 1957, the U.S. had established a secret intelligence facility in Pakistan in order to send U-2 spy planes into Soviet airspace […]

The Coup Against Iran’s Mohammad Mossadegh

Mohammad Mossadegh became Prime Minister of Iran in 1951 and was hugely popular for taking a stand against the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British-owned oil company that had made huge profits while paying Iran only 16% of its profits and often far less. His nationalization efforts led the British government to begin planning to remove him […]

The Death of Ambassador Arnold Raphel

U.S. relations with Pakistan have often had a disproportionate importance. In the 1980’s, they were again front and center in U.S. foreign policy as Washington ramped up its support for Afghan mujahedeen in their fight against the USSR. On August 17, 1988, matters took a stunning turn when the plane carrying Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq, […]

“Walking Close to the Edge of the Law” — Honduras and the Contras

In the early 1980s, Contra militant groups in Honduras engaged in guerrilla warfare in an attempt to overthrow the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in Nicaragua. The United States saw the FSLN as a threat to America’s interests in the region, and in turn supported the Contras with financial aid and military training. However in […]

Nixon vs. Khrushchev — The 1959 Kitchen Debate

It was undoubtedly one of the most unorthodox – and therefore memorable – settings for a major political debate. On July 24th, 1959, the United States opened the American National Exhibition at Sokolniki Park in Moscow. The Soviets and Americans had agreed to hold exhibits in each other’s countries as a cultural exchange to promote […]

A First-Class Spy Flap: CIA Agents Compromised in Ghana

Relations between the United States and Ghana were strained in the early 1980s. Its leader, the enigmatic former Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, had seized power in a coup in 1979 and installed the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), a military-led government. Just when bilateral relations began to improve, it was discovered that a clerk for […]

The Art of China Watching During the Great Leap Forward

From 1958 to 1961, following the anti-rightest crackdown of the Hundred Flowers Campaign, Mao Zedong and the Communist Party launched the Great Leap Forward, an economic and social campaign meant to achieve rapid industrialization through collective development of the agricultural and industrial sectors. The plan included moving farmers to industrial work, setting up “backyard furnaces” […]

The Seychelles – Gangsta’s Paradise

A country of white sand beaches and palm trees, the Seychelles is an exotic tourist destination. It also happens to be a haven for international criminals. Ambassador David Fischer describes his time there like something out of “an Eric Ambler novel, where an innocent character suddenly stumbles on something, and he becomes involved in a […]

The Iran-Contra Scandal

One of the biggest foreign policy scandals of the last half-century was the Iran-Contra affair, in which the Reagan Administration, prodded by CIA Director William Casey and NSC Advisor Oliver North, secretly arranged for an arms-for-hostage deal with one of its bitterest enemies in the Middle East. Put simply, Israel would sell weapons from the […]