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McFarlane on the Contras

September 29, 1987

Does The Times recycle months- or years-old Robert McFarlane articles ("The Contras Are What We've Got," Op-Ed Page, Sept. 21)? If not, what world does he inhabit?

Six weeks into the peace process initiated by the five Central American presidents, we read a quarter page of McFarlane's speculations on the contras ' prospects with nary a mention of peace, with no acknowledgement of the steps the Nicaraguan government has taken toward liberalization.

Indeed, the main obstacle to the eventual success of the peace process has thus far been maneuvering by the U.S. Administration. Nevertheless, even President Ronald Reagan has acknowledged that the process exists, however little to his liking it may be that it does not require Managua to cry "Uncle."

If anyone is interested, as McFarlane professes to be, in bringing the American people to understand and support U.S. policy toward developing countries, I would suggest that the first challenge is for our government to develop a policy that is worthy of such support. This means one that has a healthy respect for the self-determination of people and that is tolerant of diversity in the political and economic realm. Thus far, this has not been the case, and our rule-or-ruin policy in Central America has earned the Administration the scorn of many of its own people and of much of the world. The contempt for reality McFarlane shows is a manifestation of what brought us to this pass in the first place.

LAMAR HOOVER

Ojai

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