The United States and Nicaragua: which policies?
I am puzzled by David Newsom's reference to a ``brilliant political strategy'' with regard to Nicaragua, particularly since he goes on to express an entirely justified skepticism about the efficacy of the American embargo [``How to fight communist regimes,'' May 3]. Nicaragua is not Vietnam, and the Indochina experience has produced no ``lesson'' pertinent to our policy in Central America, unless it be the consequences of hiding truth from the public. The analogy is rather with Cuba.Skip to next paragraph
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A Marxist-Leninist Nicaragua would pose no serious threat to American security until the moment it provided a base for Soviet military activity in the Western Hemisphere. Why not define clearly for Nicaragua and the other members of the OAS the limits of our tolerance? (1) No Soviet or other hostile military presence in Central America. (2) If such limitations are respected, no country need fear American intervention. And (3) though the US would stand ready to supply economic help that would encourage progressive social justice and stability, ideological interference is of no interest to the US, or to the OAS, with which we should fully cooperate. John Bovey Cambridge, Mass.
David Newsom was speaking for me, one who opposes military assistance to the Nicaraguan contras. I agree with those who want aid about the ``abhorrent character of the communist system.'' But we disagree on the best way to get rid of it. It is so important that we stay out of the internal affairs of a country, and leave the people free to work out their own government. Frances G. Gibson Cleveland
To argue whether economic sanctions against Nicaragua would deepen the relationship among Managua, Moscow, and Cuba is straining out gnats and swallowing camels. The Sandinistas were trained in Cuba long before the revolution occurred. But imposing economic sanctions is moving in the right direction. Since World War II, over 200 million people have been murdered at the hands of communist ``liberators.'' Between 1970 and 1980, Western democracies have given over $200 billion to communist regimes.
Take Nicaragua specifically. During the Carter administration over $70 million was given to the Sandinista communists, more than Somoza received in 20 years; $14 million for the contra freedom fighters is peanuts. Eileen E. Hendrickson New Wilmington, Pa.
If Joseph C. Harsch would suggest to the Reagan administration that it forget Vietnam, perhaps we could follow his advice and not relate the issue of contra aid to Vietnam [``Nicaragua is not Vietnam,'' April 30].
Unfortunately, this administration continues to make the same strategic and tactical mistakes in Central America [the US] made in Vietnam. Principal among them are: seeing all conflicts as East-West struggles instead of national or regional conflicts stemming from historic causes peculiar to the nation or region; supporting armed forces that do not and cannot gain popular support; confusing the interests of the people of the US with the interests of capitalist/multinational powers; belief that technical superiority in arms and economic incentives can overcome the commitment to freedom, self-determination, and justice of those who fight on the other side.