Join Date: Nov 2003
[larval AL did not like communists. not one little bit.]
[opinion published in Pomona College's The Student Life, Friday, October 2, 1987]
Aid Contras, Not Communists
By Alex Linder
I want to convince you of three things: 1) The National Directorate running Nicaragua is made up of communists; 2) communists are to be taken seriously; 3) American interests as well as those of the Nicaraguan people require the overthrow of the Sandinistas.
In winning you over, I will quote the leaders of the Sandinistas regarding their ideology and the course they want their country to follow. I will then bring in historical examples of policies followed by other communist countries. Finally, I will discuss the reasoning behind point three as well as a framework for achieving the actual overthrow.
Why should one believe the Sandinistas are communists? First, consider what various members of the nine-man National Directorate have said. In 1978 Defense Minister Humberto Ortega said that the "vanguard Sandinista nucleus should use the scientific doctrine of the proletariat, Marxist-Leninism, as an absolute and unquestionable guide in the action undertaken for the transformation of society." Two years later he said, "Remember well that our elections shall be to strengthen revolutionary power, not to raffle it off."
Could anybody seriously think that such men would ever allow themselves to be voted out of power? Hardly sounds like a commitment to political pluralism. Imagine the furor were President Reagan to make such a declaration!
Another National Directorate member, Bayardo Arce, had this to say: "The time will have to come to think about a single party. Why should we communists go on wearing different shirts?" He speaks further of "putting an end to all this artifice of pluralism."
Still another member, Minister of the Interior Tomas Borge, has publicly admitted that the one thing Reagan was right about is the "revolution without borders" bit. Borge believes that unless the Nicaraguans can spread their revolution throughout Central America, it will eventually be crushed at home.
Finally, listen to National Directorate head Daniel Ortega on revolutionary tactics: "we avoid the possibility of the bourgeoisie becoming the political leader of an anti-Somoza front. . . we assign a tactical and temporary character to that front."
More important than words, however, are actions. And the actions taken by the nine-man directorate are in accord with the communist views of its members.
Consider the course of the eight-year revolution in comparison with the promises Nicaragua made in 1979 to the Organization of American States. Chief among these were guarantees of political pluralism, nonalignment, freedom of expression, a mixed economy, respect for human rights, and a truly national (as opposed to private) army. The most cursory examination belies these promises, leading to one conclusion: the main goal of the National Directorate has been the entrenchment of its power through suppression of political opponents and the centralization of all significant decision-making capabilities in the hands of its own bureaucracy.
Point by point, let's go down the list:
- Political pluralism: this hasn't existed since National Directorate took control. Opposition parties exist in name only.
- Nonalignment: Nicaragua has thousands of Cuban, East German, and Bulgarian advisers. Votes pro-Soviet in U.N. inevitably.
- Freedom of expression: severe press and radio censorshop. La Prensa has been shut down more times in eight years under the Sandinistas than in forty-three under Somoza.
- Economy: still mixed, but trend is toward complete government control.
- Human rights: forcible relocation of over 20,000 Miskito Indians; over 5,000 prisoners (not counting roughly 2,500 ex-members of Somoza's National Guard) held for purely political reasons (i.e., they don't like the way the National Directorate is running the country).
- National Army: like Somoza, the Sandinistas have their own private army which approaches 100,000 in number.
There are other convincing indicators of the communist ideology of the Sandinista ruling elite. In 1980 when the U.S. gave the Sandinistas more money than any other country, the Sandinistas sent a delegation to Moscow. A friendship treaty was signed. Taken in conjunction with subsequent Nicaraguan refusals to condemn neither the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan nor its shooting down of KAL flight 007, the signing of this treaty represents the coup-de-grace to the pollyannaish notion that the Sandinistas are or indeed ever were anything less than a dedicated band of hard-core Marxists utterly incapable of being driven into Soviet arms for the simple reason that they grew up there.
Having convinced you, I hope, that the ruling elite running Nicaragua is made up of communists, I turn to point two: convincing you that communists are to be taken seriously.
James Burnham once said that a communist is a liberal who knows what he's doing. Liberals almost without exception underrate the power of ideology. When confronted with hard-line Marxist statements by Daniel Ortega or Fidel Castro or Mikhail Gorbachev, liberals tend to reply that "One has to take such statements with a grain of salt." This type of attitude reveals A) the thick strand of condescension running through liberal politics, and B) the reasons for the failure of the foreign policy of the liberal politicians. Thus we get an FDR who says "I can deal with old Uncle Joe." We get a James Carter to whom Afghanistan was a great surprise, an act which totally changed his conception of the nature of the intentions of the Soviet Union. And today we get the John Kerrys and the Christopher Dodds whose attitudes regarding Ortega reveal a similar paucity of vision.
Conservatives, conversely, recognize that, as Russell Kirk said, ideas have consequences. Communists must be regarded as serious, purposive, committed people. The consequences of communist ideas as evidenced in lands under the imposition of such ideas demands that those professing communist beliefs be taken seriously.
And now we get to the heart of the matter. Communists should be taken seriously because they are engaged in a worldwide attempt to destroy anyone who doesn't believe as they do. One of Marx's tenets was that the communist revolution had to be an international revolution. In my East German textbook on dialectical materialism it says very clearly that there is no peace until socialism is established throughout the world. Although the advent of nuclear weapons has made less rational an outright military battle for control of the world, communists fight on every lower level -- from Third World proxy wars, to terrorism, to the funding of ideological fellow travelers in the democracies.
It is exactly this infectious, "spreading" nature of communism that forms the basis for American foreign policy. As Senator Fulbright once said, "The United States has no problems with the internal policies of any nation, as long as it doesn't seek to export them." Nicaragua does -- and that is the reason we must treat it differently than, say, South Korea, which also has a form of government inconsistent with American ideals.
If you're with me so far, then you should find that your acceptance of the need for the overthrow of the present government of Nicaragua (my third goal) follows logically and inexorably. If the rulers of Nicaragua are communists, which they are, and desire the extension of their revolution throughout the Americas, as they do, then it is necessary that we stop them. All remaining questions center on methodology.
Speaking at CMC last year, William Buckley stated that we ought to declare war on Nicaragua because that term most accurately describes the relationshipp between our two countries. I agree. A declaration of war would form the basis of a much more honorable and forthright policy than we have followed since Reagan took power.
History and geography offer compelling secondary bases for cleaning house in Nicaragua. We used to have a thing called the Monroe Doctrine. This doctrine said that we wouldn't allow foreign powers to mess around in the western hemisphere, as our national interests were centered there. All that went out the window with John Kennedy in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. In his agreement with Khrushchev ending the crisis, Kennedy promised never again to attempt to overthrow Castro as he had in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. In so doing Kennedy made the western hemisphere safe for communism. With the exception of Johnson in 1965, it wasn't until Reagan in 1983 that any serious attempt was made by Americans to stop the spread of communism throughout the hemisphere. The destruction of the communist government of Grenada was, incidentally, the only time a firmly entrenched communist government has ever been overthrown.
Recently much noise has been made over the Arias Peace Plan for Central America. This plan has been greeted with much fanfare by liberals and others who persist in deluding themselves that the Sandinistas will liberalize their totalitarian state for reasons other than those occasioned by physical force. Under this plan the Sandinistas will supposedly liberalize their government, that is, live up to some of the promises they already made to the OAS several years ago. About the only thing the Sandinistas have done so far is to promise to reopen La Prensa, as long as that paper is "responsible." Obviously, the Sandinistas will be the ones who determine what is responsible. In return, they hope to get the Contras to lay down their arms. As has been shown, the Sandinistas are communists. Communist governments never become democracies. If you don't believe me, give me an example of one that has. Communists have to be physically forced to give up power -- they never do it of their own accord. There is no reason to believe, and about twenty-three reasons not to believe, that the Sandinistas are serious about allowing political pluralism in the true sense -- fair elections in which they themselves could be voted out of office. Nevertheless, many people continue to believe in the empty promises of the Sandinistas. To these people I can only say, why would men who truly believe in freedom of expression and political pluralism ever have felt the need to hide behind a mask of Marxist rhetoric? . . . On the other hand, I consider it self-evident why Marxists would hide behind a mask of freedom and pluralism.
Our tool in ending the Sandinistas is the contras. Making an outright declaration of war, besides being the right thing to do, would have the added effect of galvanizing the American public against the threat posed by the Sandinistas. It is Reagan's job to inform the public about the need to aid the contras. Judging by public opinion polls, he hasn't been very effective. Increased public support channeled through Congress would result in higher levels of military aid for the Contras. Some people such as Pat Buchanan have recommended amounts in the neighborhood of $500 million. This is reasonable. If we were to provide this much over a period of five to ten years, I suspect the Contras would eventually destroy the Sandinistas. If, however, the Contras are not effective after a given period of time, it will be necessary to use American troops. I don't believe this will prove to be necessary, though, provided the necessary aid is forthcoming.
In conclusion, I hope I have convinced you. I believe I have successfully shown that not only are the members of the Sandinista National Directorate communists, but that communists anywhere pose a threat to freedom and democracy. As citizens of the sole guarantor of freedom, the one country with which all free nations of the world are allied, I hope you will accept my conclusion that the communist government of Nicaragua must be replaced before it has a chance to subvert surrounding countries and further threaten world freedom and democracy.
Last edited by Alex Linder; December 6th, 2013 at 11:01 PM.