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U.S. Policy in Nicaragua

April 29, 1986

Henry A. Kissinger's article on U.S. policy in Nicaragua (Opinion, April 13) is the latest example of the former secretary of state's ignorance, arrogance and chauvinism, especially regarding Latin American affairs.

Kissinger also displays a great insensitivity to the outcome of the invasion scenario for Nicaragua when he states, "It (Reagan Administration) can seek to overthrow the Sandinista regime. This is impossible without direct U.S. military intervention. At the beginning of the Reagan Administration, and even as late as the invasion of Grenada, the costs of such a policy might have been sustainable." According to the Kissinger formula, I wonder how many dead and wounded equals "sustainable"?

Finally, when Kissinger discusses negotiation and pressure as successive phases of policy in Nicaragua he states, "In Korean and Vietnamese negotiations unilateral American restraint at the outset prolonged the wars and increased U.S. casualties." Kissinger seems to suffer from a selective, self-serving amnesia. Does he forget that it was Richard Nixon, in 1968, who skulked into the White House behind a "secret plan to end the war"? And with Kissinger as secretary of state the "negotiations and pressure" dragged on, the horror continuing until seven years later the last American helicopter lifted off the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

GEORGE E. MASTERS

Venice

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