Fruitless Policies of U.S.?

How many more times must the United States engage in fruitless attempts to prevent the rise of Marxist governments in the Third World?

How many more tyrants must we prop up in the name of anti-communism before it becomes clear that our approach is not only immoral and hypocritical, but also is inherently doomed to failure?

It is apparent that U.S. foreign policy has for decades dictated that our nation lend its blind support to virtually any regime, regardless of how oppressive, racist or tyrannical, provided the ruling order fervently denounces communism and agrees to give us what we want in the way of economic and military concessions.

A succession of dictators have reaped the harvest of American-backed exploitation of their own peoples. Some, like Fulgencio Batista in Cuba and the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua, we helped hold on to the reins of power for decades before they fell.

Others, such as Chile's Augusto Pinochet, Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos--who has been commended by Vice President George Bush for his adherence to democratic principles--carry on the tradition today, while at the same time U.S. officials selectively condemn violations of human rights by our adversaries.

Like those in Cuba and Nicaragua, time will eventually run out for these dictatorships as well, again frustrating our attempts to achieve our goals, and leave the world with another generation of fledgling governments that justifiably resent the United States and look to the Soviet Union for much-needed aid.

The time is long overdue for the United States to acknowledge the fact that our misguided support of repressive regimes has failed to lead the people of the Third World down the path toward democracy, and instead has nudged revolutionary governments into the welcoming arms of the Soviet Union.

It would better serve the interests of the United States to re-evaluate our relations with dictatorial allies, and begin to recognize those who oppose them as nationalists first, and Marxists second. The cause of democracy would be carried further if we could overcome the ideological tunnel vision that mistakenly pigeonholes every revolutionary who espouses Marxist doctrine as a puppet of the Soviet Union--a mistake that sadly has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

JOHN AUSTERMAN

Mission Viejo

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