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Democratic Rule in Senate

November 28, 1986

Richard P. Sybert (Letters, Nov. 12) states that the Democrats' new majority in the Senate is a victory for the Soviet Union and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.

According to Sybert, the Senate will now serve only to "interfere" in foreign affairs. Some Democrats may act with restraint, he argues, but, "no such hope can be held out in the case of Alan Cranston."

Perhaps Sybert does not believe in the constitutional guarantee of a system of checks and balances. Undoubtedly, he would prefer to let President Reagan institute all foreign policy through uncontested executive orders, without the "interference" of the Congress. Then the Administration would be free to pull off strategic coups analogous to the stationing of U.S. Marines in Lebanon, commemorative ceremonies at Bitburg, West Germany, or the recent arms transfers to Iran.

As for American policy in Nicaragua, more than one poll has clearly shown that public opinion runs contrary to Administration actions in the region. That disagreement undoubtedly affected the recent Democratic electoral success.

Further, the controversial arms buildup President Reagan instigated with the help of a Republican-controlled Senate has certainly done nothing to stem what Sybert refers to as the "Soviet drive for military and nuclear dominance."

Senate Democratic leaders such as Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Alan Cranston of California have stated that they will work with the President when he is right and inform him when they feel he is wrong. The Reagan Administration itself has vowed that it will work with the new Senate in an attempt to keep its programs on track. Perhaps Sybert could learn something from these realistic attitudes on foreign policy. After all, it is the freedom to disagree or even "interfere" that separated our system from those of the Soviet Union or Daniel Ortega.


Newport Beach

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