Diatribe Against American Left

Dinesh D'Souza has some facts garbled and chooses to ignore others in his anti-liberal diatribe (Op-Ed Page, Jan. 8). First of all, the "deafening outcry" protesting U.S. sanctions against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan didn't come from the American Left, as D'Souza seems to believe. Rather, it came from farm interests over the loss of wheat sales. D'Souza seems also to have forgotten that it was the more liberal Carter who instituted the sanctions, while the conservative Reagan--for all his talk of the "evil empire"--hastened to assure American farmers that the sanctions wouldn't be repeated.

D'Souza decries the thaw in relations between the United States and the Soviets with heavy sarcasm and cannot see why South Africa should be condemned while we pursue detente with the Soviets. Yet the South Africans are our allies--and our embarrassment. We aren't subsidizing the civil rights violations of the Soviet Union but trying to avoid a nuclear war. D'Souza conveniently forgets that black American taxpayers have to foot the bill for military aid we give to South Africa.

Nobody urging detente has any illusions about its form of government. The reason people from all points of the political spectrum are relieved at the opening of relations between the superpowers is their belief that sharing the world with the Soviets beats trying to survive nuclear winter. There is no hypocrisy in hoping the United States and Russia will bury the nuclear hatchet while, at the same time, condemning apartheid.

TIM CALLAHAN Pasadena Congratulations on printing Dinesh D'Souza's eloquent explanation of the other side of the Krugerrand. The American Left does have a perverse habit of punishing our friends and rewarding our enemies. With our help Rhodesia became a Marxist state, and its citizens can now truly understand oppression. Dozens of African states have ruling classes that oppress the populace. Are we concentrating our efforts on South Africa just because the power is held by whites?

Do we really want the responsibility of promoting revolution with the strong likelihood of eventual Communist takeover? Is it morally defensible to bully our small friends because they are not as enlightened as we profess to be while on the other hand we make allowances for and promote trade with a power that continues to exterminate Afghans and shoots down unarmed airliners?

F. S. RUSSELL Burbank Dinesh D'Souza's article qualifies for the "cheap shot of the year" award, even at this early date.

He argues that "the American Left," whatever that is, judges the Soviet Union and South Africa by a double standard, apologizing for the Soviet Union while condemning South Africa.

For one thing, it would not that difficult to find people throughout the whole political spectrum who advocate the same responses to both Soviet and South African oppression--either equal tolerance or equal condemnation.

More important, however, D'Souza ignores highly significant differences between the two nations that not only justify but demand differential treatment.

Russia is the other nuclear superpower on this planet. We simply have no choice but to find some way to get along with it and even to become more friendly to it, for the alternative is nuclear war and the likely extinction of the human species.

Also, Soviet oppression is rooted in ideology and policy. While that fact is cold comfort to the current victims of that oppression, it's nevertheless worth noting that ideology and policy change all the time, sometimes quickly. Therefore, it's quite reasonable to hope for a liberalizing of Soviet oppression, especially since there has been periods of liberalization in several Communist countries in the past. Furthermore, dissidents in the Soviet Union at least have the option of obedience and comformity and so can escape or avoid the worst abuses of their government. That is, one can change or hide one's political or religious beliefs.

But one can neither change nor hide one's race .

Nor can a government whose oppression is rooted in race be flexible or easily changed. For the question is one of "yes" or "no": Is a Black a human being or not? There can be no gradations of humanity as there are of "left" and "right".

And D'Souza's comment on Schlemmer's public opinion poll is beneath contempt. As if 551 urban Blacks could represent 24 million, most of whom are rural and dispossessed! As if a poll taken under those circumstances could mean anything anyway. (If Simon Legree had taken a poll of the Blacks in the South in 1860, all the slaves would have said they loved to sing and pick cotton!)

And, yes, there will be pain in disinvestment and in civil strife, perhaps, even in the establishment of a Marxist regime. But even that horror will be worth it when the Blacks in South Africa become human beings in their own land. They will never be so while apartheid exists.

JOHN JUNOT Los Angeles The article by Dinesh D'Souza is the best I have read in your newspaper within recent memory because it is the unvarnished truth. Liberals will cheerfully accept and even exploit the misery of black South Africans who can only suffer by disinvestment in and sanctions against South Africa.

They will consider that suffering a small price to pay in achieving their grand design--the failure of President Reagan's foreign policy in southern Africa.

No matter that the inevitable result is a communist takeover similar to that in Rhodesia and the loss of an important strategic ally.

ARTHUR HANSE Pacific Palisades Dinesh D'Souza symbolizes everything that is wrong with American foreign policy today.

Russia is the head of the Communist world; South Africa, on the other hand, is out of step with the rest of the world and wields little influence. Therefore, it is important that we keep up relations with Russia, even if it means putting up with some of their atrocities for the sake of world peace.

But South Africa is a potential hot spot that could explode at any minute. If we do not show the world and, most important, South Africa itself, that we disapprove of how blacks are treated there, then this country will surely find itself standing at the wrong end of the spectrum, as it has in the past.


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