ENERALS AND PRESIDENTS by Edwin Lieuwen
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ENERALS AND PRESIDENTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Subtitled ""Neomilitarism in Latin America,"" this brief volume is somehow as comprehensive, and certainly as solid, as anything yet published on this problem which ""is going to plague Washington for years to come."" Without ranting or sloganeering, Mr. Lieuwen describes and dissects the recent army coups in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Brazil, and also the ""rather unique"" positions of the armed forces in Venezuela and El Salvador. His ""key assumption"" is hardly to be questioned--that ""the entire area is in the throes of a painful process of social, economic, and political transformation"" -- and once this much has been granted, the findings are as incontrovertible as the purpose is clear. Each of the nine examples is put before us in concise form, then they are compared and contrasted, and finally the conclusions are drawn. Few in number and cautious in language, these conclusions are basic to the whole issue without being either vague or over-simplified. Final chapters consider the intentions and achievements of the Kennedy Administration's policies; and while the author admits that these did not ""succeed in furthering the cause of democracy in Latin America,"" he believes we must seriously consider whether the Johnson Administration has ""committed an error in apparently abandoning."" them in favor of the so-called Mann Doctrine, which is scarcely more than a return to the ""hard-nosed pragmatism"" which got us nowhere whatsoever under Elsenhower.

Publisher: aeger