CONDEMNED TO REPETITION: The United States and Nicaragua by Robert A. Pastor

CONDEMNED TO REPETITION: The United States and Nicaragua

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

As Director of Latin American affairs for the National Security Council under President Carter, Pastor was at the center of the US decision-making that helped overthrow Nicaraguan dictator Somoza and set the course of US-Sandinista relations. Though his book reads like a State Department briefing, and often lapses into preachy prose, it nevertheless illuminates the many components that go into Washington's making of history. Pastor begins with a history of US-Nicaraguan relations (including little-known information about the extent to which Panama and Venezuela forced the US' hand in the overthrow of Somoza), takes it through the Sandinista triumph, and brings it up-to-date with an overview of Reagan's tough stance. To his credit, Pastor believes the US should find a way to bring its power in line with its principles. He shows how Reagan's obsession with ""strategic concerns"" in Nicaragua has led him--according to Pastor--to flout both international and US law. Arguing for a pragmatic, regional policy, Pastor thinks that the ""big stick"" will lead the US to repeat its past mistakes. Meticuously detailed, this insider's account, despite its dry tone, provides a vital document in recent US history and offers an excellent case study for anyone interested in the labyrinthine byways of Washington's foreign-policy-making.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press