Richard P. Sybert's letter (Jan. 17), "Reagan's Foreign Policy Record," provides a clear example of the simplistic view of the world held by far too many Americans today.
In his defense of the Reagan Administration's foreign policy, Sybert describes a world in which every conflict is a reflection of the U.S.-Soviet conflict, and matters are decided primarily by the actions of these superpowers.
He gives credit to the Reagan Administration for the "re-emergence" of democracy in Argentina and Brazil when, in fact, the United States had little to do with this. Likewise, he cites the beginning of negotiations between the combatants in El Salvador as evidence of the Administration's foreign policy success. Might not the credit for this go to the Salvadorans themselves?
Sybert even claims that "America's change of direction under Reagan" is responsible for the Soviets' problems with their own satellites. I guess the Afghans and Poles had just been waiting for the right U.S. President to come along to give them their cue.
This chauvinistic view of the world, in which the Americans and the Soviets are the players and all others are the pieces, has been the earmark of Democratic and Republican administrations alike. It's time to realize that these countries have indigenous conflicts of their own. We can no longer choose sides in these conflicts solely on the basis of ideology, nor even on the basis of our own economic interests. We must consider the "vital interests" at stake for the people of these countries as well.
When we can show the masses themselves in a Third World country, and not just their government, that America is on their side, we will have a huge advantage over the Soviets without a single shot being fired.
It was with amazement that I read Sybert's letter in The Times. It was such a clear and accurate description of the Reagan foreign policy, as I see it, that I couldn't believe The Times would have published it.
MRS. B.M. HALFYARD