Some scholars have shown how the U.S. has deployed several traditional, imperial strategies to maintain global power, including military interventions, support for proxy governments, economic coercion, and the exercise of hegemony. In many countries, though, these strategies cannot effectively work. Some countries have elected leaders that defy U.S. influence, and, in middle‐income countries, the U.S. cannot use economic coercion. The U.S. also cannot militarily invade all countries that possess anti‐American governments. How, then, does the U.S. aim to confront and control anti‐American governments in the contemporary world? I examine U.S. foreign policy towards Venezuela under Hugo Chávez, who recurrently challenged U.S. global power during his time in office. Through interviews with U.S. state elites, who developed policy towards Venezuela, and through analysis of U.S. diplomatic cables, I show how the U.S. has moved away from traditional, imperial modalities and towards new imperial techniques aimed at frustrating political processes within particular countries, as well as containing their global influence. These techniques include pressuring the federal judiciary, utilizing state agencies to fund and support opposition political parties and NGOs, seeking to terminate particular pieces of legislation, and eliminating eligibility for global leadership positions. These efforts do not immediately aim to displace existing governments, but, in the least, they aim to frustrate the domestic efforts of particular governments, and ultimately cultivate conditions favorable for the political opposition to eventually attain political power.
- 'Journal of Historical Sociology, EarlyView. '