Regime” has a nasty ring to it. We hear about Saddam Hussein’s regime, the North Korean regime, Fidel Castro’s Communist regime, the radical clerical Iranian regime, or the Syrian dictatorial regime. You get the idea. A foreign government that is repressive, and that U.S. leaders would like to see eliminated, will get branded in the United States as a “regime.”

That is why the idea of an “American regime” seems so strange to Americans, who have been conditioned to think of regimes as bad governments somewhere else. Have you ever imagined the term can be applied at home? Maybe not, but the dictionary makes clear that the term applies to any “system of rule,” at home or abroad. Europeans, Africans, Latin Americans, ...

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