Intervention is the interference of one country in the internal affairs of another or in its relations with other countries. As contrasted with simple influence (intercession), intervention is aimed at deciding the domestic or foreign affairs of another country in the interests of the intervening country. Intervention may be overt (armed intervention) or covert, such as: the imposition of an alien political, economic or social system; the organization of conspiracies coups d'etat, and civil wars to achieve such aims; the dispatching of spies, terrorists, and saboteurs; financing and supplying armaments; making loans with strings attached; and the use of radio, television, and press to conduct hostile propaganda. Although intervention is outlawed in numerous international treaties and agreements, including the UN Charter, it is employed by the major industrial powers leading to continual mistrust and covert activities.
Large countries may threaten or enact military, economic or political action against smaller nations with the primary justification either that the smaller state was unable to guarantee the safety of its foreign residents (in other words, the citizens of the intervening power), or that the smaller state was unable to govern itself and possibly posed a threat to the region. Such situations may arise from civil war or other disturbances of the peace, economic collapse, or other domestic disorder; and the circumstances for intervention may be engineered, or construed from a very distorted perspective in order to justify aggression and colonization or economic dominance through forced treaties and agreements.
The USA criticized the USSR for intervention in Warsaw Pact countries, Afghanistan and Vietnam, while the USSR denounced the USA for her prior intervention in Vietnam, Libya and Central America. Following the 1990 intervention in Panama, the USA indicated that it reserved the right to intervene in other countries to facilitate the democratic outcome of an electoral process.
In 2000, the USA publicly apologized to Iran for its complicity, together with the UK, in the overthrow of the government and establishment of the Shah in the 1950s. In the same year, Belgium apologized in Kigali for the country's failings during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, notably its involvement in the killing of the Rwandan President. Other recent examples of foreign government interference are the presence of Israel in Lebanon and the Nicaraguan role in El Salvador.
[Former socialist countries] According to Lenin, national frontiers should be delineated democratically, in accordance with the will and sympathies of the population. This elastic definition and ambiguous recognition of the principle of sovereignty allowed for the real socialist goal - the fusion of states into one communist supra-nation. In practice, sovereignty was not strongly respected by some socialist countries and intervention into the internal affairs of a weaker socialist country by a stronger one was a repeated occurrence. Interventions in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland were most recent examples.