Until recently, Gen. Manuel Noriega was an asset of the CIA, relied upon for assisting U.S. counterinsurgency operations in Central America. He has consistently been repressive and corrupt. Yet, only when he became a liability for U.S. policy in 1987 did the U.S. government turn against him.
Now President Bush--who as CIA director was aware of our relationship with Noriega--authorizes the invasion of Panama to impose U.S. foreign (and internal political) interests once again. In stark contrast to the dramatic peaceful changes sweeping throughout Eastern Europe, Bush's use of military force to overthrow Noriega sets a very bad profile for the United States.