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'Making It Tough for Peace'

October 08, 1987

The eminently sensible article on Central America by Prof. Abraham Lowenthal (Op-Ed Page, Sept. 23) concludes by asking whether U.S. security requires eliminating Nicaragua's Sandinistas once and for all. Except for those who choose to be ill-advised about that region, like Reagan, the answer has to be no.

As to the notion that Nicaragua might become a Soviet offensive base threatening our territory or strategic interests, the tacit understanding that grew out of the 1962 Cuban missile confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union obviously applies to Nicaragua as well. Our armed forces could easily obliterate any credible offensive threat from Nicaraguan soil.

The five presidents who signed the Guatemala accord seem not to be unduly worried about Nicaraguan aggression or subversion in the region. Nicaragua's military posture is essentially defensive; in any case, its almost nonexistent air force deprives it of any real threat to its neighbors.

Reagan is hardly alone among recent Presidents in violating the nonintervention principle that all Latin Americans see as the core of the inter-American system, but he is singularly stubborn in refusing to recognize that Central America yearns to be rid of our tutelage.

MARSHALL PHILLIPS

Long Beach

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