The article by Walter Truett Anderson (Editorial Pages, Sept. 6), "How Did America Become an Opponent of Revolution?" touches on some important points, but it fails to follow through. The policy of the present Administration to aggressively support the status quo, no matter how odious--albeit "anti-Communist"--has created a peculiar and dangerous situation in which the repressive totalitarian regime of the Soviet Union may style itself the champion of anti-colonialist movements throughout the Third World.
Through the inept bungling of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, we allowed ourselves to be lumped together with the reactionary minority in Angola, which even our own CIA knew was doomed to defeat. Our support of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines has forced the anti-dictatorship forces to take on a pinker and pinker hue, although only a small minority of the movement holds to Marxist-Leninist precepts. We withheld desperately needed aid from Nicaragua during a time when the moderates were trying to rejoin the community of nations, and now we confront the Communists in ascendancy there as well.
The tragedy of the South African situation is that we refuse to learn from our mistakes. "Constructive engagement" is merely a smoke screen for inaction while the issue of apartheid is being decided, massacre-style, in the streets.