Reviews

National Insecurity

"Diplomacy is utterly useless where there is no force behind it."
—Theodore Roosevelt

From the elevation of arms control to the opening of talks with the PLO, the course of American foreign policy in recent years has led some to wonder why Ronald Reagan was once considered such a contrast to Jimmy Carter. The cycle is best seen in Central America. In 1980, the question was whether El Salvador could survive a Communist insurgency. The Reagan Doctrine's support of the contras shifted the strategic balance. The question then became could Nicaragua survive an anticommunist insurgency. But these days, leftist demonstrators once again chant, "Nicaragua is now free. El Salvador soon will be." Soviet aid flows to the Sandinistas (and on to guerrillas, terrorists, and drug runners throughout the region), while the contras starve.

Reagan's defenders blame the Democratic Congress. The Boland amendments and Speaker Wright's plots with the Sandinistas come readily to mind. Yet the most powerful enemies of President Reagan's policies were within the executive branch at the Department of State. Reagan tolerated George Schultz as secretary of state, a man who in championing the appeasement policies of the Foreign Service worked tirelessly to subvert the President's policies—and in the last two years, succeeded.

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