CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY: US Policy in Central America and the Caribbean by Mark & Robert Royal--Eds. Falcoff

CRISIS AND OPPORTUNITY: US Policy in Central America and the Caribbean

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Thirty diverse essays, assembled and edited at right-wing hands, that demonstrate how facts lose out to interpretation in politics. But the range of opinion here also speaks well for those responsible. (Falcoff, who served as a consultant to the Kissinger Commission on Central America, is a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute; Royal is a researcher at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.) The sillier stuff includes Reagan's 1983 speech to Congress outlining American policy against the guerrillas in El Salvador, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and Soviet/Cuban subversion generally--followed by a Castro speech denouncing US subversion. (That, say the editors, proves there really is an East/West struggle going on.) In his own essay, Falcoff takes the peculiar position that the US failed to move pre-Sandinista Nicaragua toward democracy because it didn't put enough pressure on the Somoza regime. Richard H. Ullman (Princeton) says that ""the Reagan Administration is at war with Nicaragua,"" preventing the formation of a democratic regime there today. He discounts the Soviet/Cuban conspiracy theory, but UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick is here to expound it. Room is also made for Guillermo M. Ungo, political head of the Salvadoran guerrillas, to claim that Salvador's problems are internal, exacerbated by the US. A Sandinista leader, Tomas Borge Martinez, denies the Soviet/Cuban connection; a defector, formerly in counterintelligence, claims the contrary. And so on. The weight, in volume, is toward the culture-of-violence and necessity-for-US-intervention side; the weight of arguments is less clear. With contributions by Robert E. White, Carter administration Ambassador to El Salvador, Wayne B. Smith, who represented American interests in Havana, and ex-Sandinista Eden Pastora Gomez (as well as many journalists): a valuably eclectic anthology to have around.

Pub Date: April 26th, 1984
Publisher: Ethics & Public Policy Center (1666 Connecticut Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20009)