The Ethics of Regime Change

Two detailed accounts have appeared recently of cloak-and-dagger operations undertaken by Western intelligence agencies to effect the defection of high-level officials of governments targeted for regime change. In his new book, Assad or We Burn the Country: How One Family’s Lust for Power Destroyed Syria, journalist Sam Dagher recounts how, in 2012, French agents spirited high-ranking Syrian general Manaf Tlass out of Syria. The other account is Anthony Faiola’s recent report in The Washington Post of how U.S. agents persuaded Venezuelan spy chief Gen. Manuel Ricardo Cristopher Figuera to side with the…