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December 22, 2016
Document Release Date: 
December 19, 2011
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March 12, 1985
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PDF icon CIA-RDP90-00965R000100280007-7.pdf125.3 KB
Declassified and Approved For Release 2011/12/19 :CIA-RDP90-009658000100280007-7 ~;~.SEII:VUTO:~ TI^lES 12 `larch 19ts~ 1RTICLIS APPEARED Oii PAGL~ / -~D ELMO ZTTMWALT /WORTH BAGLEY The funding debate he passionate debate about Nicaragua reflects the two main points of view about American security policy- making in the Third World. Adherents of the White House view that the :Marxist Sandinistas are fair game argue from the real- ities of Soviet doctrine and action. No Communist regime is thought to be committed to peaceful change in the world order and they should not be treated as if they were. THE R'HITE HOUSE VIEW President Reagan's defense pro- gram has deterred the Soviets from the type of direct aggression they initiated in Afghanistan under Carter policies. A possible conse- quence of Mr. Reagan's success, however, is Moscow's increased i emphasis on indirect aggression fashioned to avoid confrontation with the United States. That Soviet strategy is evident in Nicaragua and in El Salvador, both objects of Soviet and Cuban military assistance designed to spread armed terror and subversion in Central America. If America does not respond with non-military and militar}~ aid, then the Soviets will be able to accom- plish their aggression objectives despite costly U.S. rearming. Should our response not be timely, resisting the Sandinistas and the Salvadoran rebels when they are vulnerable, then our expensive politico-military Elmo Zumwalt and Worth Bagley, retired Navy admirals, are nation- ally syndicated columnists. campaigns might not succeed. The White House recognizes that the enveloping, indirect Soviet strategy in the Third World could force major U.S. arms transfers, delaying American rearming and drawing U.S. power from other key ? regions, where direct Soviet aggres- sion might then become attractive. In that event, our allies would lose confidence in LT.S. defense abilities and might seize that pretext to refuse to coordinate in planning Opponents of the White House views downplay the realities (in Nicaragua). defenses in regions such as the Per- sian Gulf, where U.S. arms alone would be stretched thin under the best of circumstances. 'Ib defeat those aims of Soviet Third World strate~v, the president would prefer to use covert measures where practical to minimize the demands on our central defense resources. Opposing Soviet armed transgressions in the Third World both protects the free choice of exploited peoples and gives them hope for a peaceful existence. That . American response is not inconsis- tent with the less-violent U.S. reac- lion to authoritarian states which do not conform with L'.S. ideas of aemocracy, but which resist Com- munist subversion. Whatever our differences with Chile, South Africa, and the like, the instrument for showing L'.S. dis- pleasure is diplomac}?,not arms. The White House believes the United States has enough urgent security problems without creating more on its own volition. TfiE OPPOSING VIEW Opponents of these White House views downplay the realities, emphasizing what they say are the moral imperatives of American behavior. We should not intervene single- mindedly in Third World rebellions, regardless of Soviet involvement, because oppressed people are seek- ingtheir own idea of a better life. If, in the future, those states fall under Soviet influence and host Soviet bases or forces that threaten the United States, we should act then to end that threat. Instead of L'.S. intervention in the .Third World, opponents say we should devote our energies to changing authoritarian regimes that pose no threat to the United States but which affront American values. There may be a chance that promot- ing change in these countries could result in Marxist governments opposed to the United states, but that risk is seen as worth taking. These VPhite House opponents reiect using covert assistance to destabilize a Communist govern- ment or to aid its opponents. They' impl}? that anv covert U.S. operations are unacce to a ma -tn sure, through the Congress, that those o erations become ublic owledge. They prefer economic aid, no matter whose hands it will pass through to reach oppressed peoples, and they argue that mili- tary aid should be limited so that non-military measures are allowed to have effect. Cara~RUed Declassified and Approved For Release 2011/12/19 :CIA-RDP90-009658000100280007-7 Declassified and Approved For Release 2011/12/19 :CIA-RDP90-009658000100280007-7 THE ISSUES RAISED Several issues are raised by these contrary policies. President Reagan uses U.S. power to avoid or head off confrontations with the Soviet Umon so that the risks of nuclear war are kept low. His opponents would delay, limit, or prevent U.S. responses to Soviet transgressions, accepting conse- quencesthat could ensure confron- tations in the future. President Reagan would treat admittedly ambiguous threats and situations in the Third World for what they are, managing U.S. mili- tary and non-military responses to clarify uncertainties and then directing actions that best satisfy U.S. interests. His opponents prefer quick, explicit objectives. that limit what the United States might do and inform the Soviets what they need to do to succeed. By placing explicit limits on what the United States would do to nurture democracy in the Third World, they allow the Sovi- ets to raise the price of victory for Free World influence to a level the U.S. public generally will not sup- port. In response to each signal of Soviet politico-military aggression, either direct or indirect, President Reagan warns the Soviets of the risks of proceeding. The Reagan opponents see each threat of an expanding Soviet influ- ence as apretext for not responding, arguing that the situation is ambigu- ous and a U.S. reaction more likely to be provocative than to deter. The president would resist the inroads of Soviet subversion in the Third World to prevent the cumula- tive erosion of American strategic positions around the world. His opponents would accept that strategic erosion until the So~zets chose to exploit it by direct threats to the United States. It is these issues which should preoccupy the Congress and the American people as the funding for U.S. policies in Nicaragua and in El Salvador are debated in this year's budget. Declassified and Approved For Release 2011/12/19 :CIA-RDP90-009658000100280007-7