Is it naive to expect honest, ethical foreign policy from the United States in today's world? Daniel Schorr's Dec. 3 column ``What did the President not know?'' prompts the question. Its thesis is that many Presidents have implicitly demanded covert ``dirty tricks,'' but most have managed to avoid responsibility. The over-zealous Reagan duplicity continues the practice.
Isn't it hypocritical of the US to preach democracy but to use totalitarian methods to force it upon others? Is it honest, or even practical, to deal deceitfully with any nation?
Should a president expect his staff to violate a law in his behalf? Norman Walter Red House, W. Va.
I have lived and worked in various countries but have never seen any nation's media run down their own government in international eyes. It looks as though the United States press is an exception.
An important country like the US can have no permanent friends or enemies in the international arena, but only permanent interests. During World War II, Russia was our ally against Germany, whereas now West Germany is our friend and ally against Russia.
Similarly, Iran, our enemy today, can become our friend tomorrow against Russia and help the free world send the necessary men and materials to freedom fighters in Afghanistan, to prevent Russia from reaching the warm waters of the Arabian Sea.
It was mainly with this end in view that the Reagan administration started having secret contacts with Iran.
Not everything in the international sphere can be achieved by open contacts - after all, it was a secret visit by Henry Kissinger to China that helped to break the ice and establish diplomatic and business relations with that country. Kim Israni Des Moines, Iowa
It seems unfair that the United States government changes its policy toward Syria and Iran in order to free hostages. These lives are no more precious than the many thousands that were given for this country and the many others of whom such a sacrifice is still expected. In the long run it weakens the US externally and internally, as families and friends of hostages now know that it is only a question of making enough noise in order to make our government cave in. Henry Frank E. Lempster, N.H.
Whether the President's advisers were at fault and whether the State Department knew of this strange policy are immaterial. The fact is that the President himself was responsible. As President Truman once said, ``The buck stops here.''
I wonder what new revelations are in store. Robert L. Boehm New York
It is the President's prerogative to initiate foreign policy, and the National Security Council has done nothing illegal in implementing this policy. It is the moral duty of both to promote the security of the US. Colonel North should not be cut loose to defend himself alone, if mistakes have been made.
Let us close ranks behind the President and all involved and go forward in unity to seek better solutions for all mankind. Nora Marie Lewis Basin, Wyo.
The military emphasis of our present government has been no secret at all. We are aware of how it has produced the largest national debt in history, and preempted concerns for the poor, the elderly, and the unemployed.
We hardly stop to think of how military ``solutions'' to problems seem to be the first resort now, instead of the last. Only when someone asks, ``Why send arms to Iran rather than food?'' do we notice what has happened to our country's priorities.
Our country, with its freedom, its honesty, its high ideals of law and truth, its commitment to justice, is too precious a possession to allow such values to take over.
There is much talk today about ``repairing the damage to the nation.'' Nothing short of admitting that our leaders have taken wrong paths, and then absolutely reversing those paths, will save us. Let us rebuild upon the sound and lasting foundations of honesty and truth, of openness rather than secrecy, and of gentleness rather than violence. Our nation can once again bless the world. H. R. Woodruff Huntington, W.Va.