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doctrine of national security that regards any independent government in Central America as fundamentally vulnerable to Soviet subversion and therefore a threat to vital U.S. national interests. This erroneous belief that Latin American governments will fall to communism in a domino-like rush toward our borders is the root of what Fagen believes to be a series of grave errors in U.S. Central American policy. In Forging Peace, he sets out a vision of an alternative to this erroneous thinking. The book outlines the dimensions of the U.S. policy of containing communism in Central America by pursuing low-intensity conflict in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Fagen calls the policy disastrous for Central Americans and bad for the U.S. itself. In 12 brief chapters, he examines the U.S. record in Central America, the roots of the region’s crises, and proposes developing new programs to promote U.S. security through diplomacy and promoting development in the region. He includes one chapter on each of the five Central American nations, outlining major historical features and current problems. Fagen concludes that to rescue U.S. policy from its errors and to save Central America from its deepening disaster the U.S. must adopt a new foreign policy that and anti-American nationalism in the Third World as not necessarily harmful to U.S. interests. He recommends that the U.S. adhere to the standards of international law that it helped to forge over decades, rather than flaunt such principles by waging covert war on Nicaragua. This book is incisive, provocative, and contentious. For those among the majority of Americans opposed to continued U.S. aid to the Nicaraguan contra rebels, this book will provide background material and a rationale for continued opposition to U.S. intervention in Central America. For conservatives who support President Reagan’s Central American policies, I recommend consulting a physician about their cardiovascular fitness before reading Forging Peace; it is certain to arouse anger. The book brings considerable data on Central America together into one easily readable and reliable source, but it is strongly committed to convincing the reader that the President has blundered badly in the region. Though they were written before the Arias Plan was signed in August of 1987, Professor Fagen’s recommendations for forging peace have lost no currency. Indeed, the Arias Plan was gutted by the fierce U.S. pressures and powerful domestic political pressures that Fagen describes so well. The continuing fight over U.S. aid to the contras reveals how very likely it is that the war that has already taken 25,000 Nicaraguan lives since 1981 will continue indefinitely. Richard Fagen’s call for the U.S. and other international actors to employ diplomatic rather than military means in pursuing their security, for promoting equitable economic development in the isthmus, and for respect for Central American sovereignty are, if anything, more valid today than before the stagnation of the Central Continued from Page 2 negro” Gary Hart but says nothing about their similar treatment of black negro Jesse Jackson. Both Hart and Jackson are unwanted outsiders in the Democratic party, and it would take a miracle for the American public to elect either one President next November. Hart’s crime in the eyes of most voters is not his sexual activity but his dramatic mishandling of the scandal that activity gave rise to. Jackson’s crime, on the other hand, is that he is black. That the Democratic machinery would penalize a candidate for public mistrust of his ability to handle a crisis is not a particular shame. That it would penalize a candidate for public dislike of his race is shameful indeed. I’m disappointed to see which of these party outcasts receives Rick Ryan’s sympathy. Prentiss Riddle Galveston Low-Budget Psychoanalysis Speaking of scurrilous slop, Richard Ryan’s, little number on Jackson rates high on both the slop and scurrilous scale. This Alexander Cockburn-imitator, with half of his wit, a quarter of his humor, and none of his sociological insight, psychoanalyzes Jackson for far below scale and concludes that Jackson bears “a striking psychic resemblance to Gary Hart.” Whatever that means. But he continues. Jackson hiding from a racist lunatic turns into Jackson “cowering in the courtyard below.” This is slop. But believe it or not, it gets worse. Blacks, we learn, are bedazzled by charisma, while the wiser Ryan wishes they’d be more interested in issues. Of course, he evidences no real regard for issues as he leaves his slander of Jackson for an ad hominem attack on Bob Elder. But what of his charge? In 1984, when I volunteered to work in the Jackson campaign in San Antonio, my first impressions were strikingly similar to Ryan’s. Feeling somewhat superior, for I had volunteered because of Jackson’s stand on Central America and the Third World, I kept to myself. But time and hard work tend to break down whatever barriers we American peace process. The public debate over Nicaragua, contra aid, and Central America in general would be greatly improved were it informed by the clarity of this book. erect to guard our ignorance and ego. I came to know that their understanding of Jackson and what he stood for was far deeper than mine. They weren’t interested in isolated issues but the full sociological and, to borrow a hackneyed word, psychic meaning of working for a campaign that promised to point this country in a different direction. Ryan’s belief is, I think, ultimately a product of class, racial, and educational bias. It evinces a sociological perspective that is backward, not progressive. Kenneth Wheatcroft-Pardue Austin Ryan’s “Foggy Sophistry” As a loyal reader of your journal, I feel it is incumbent upon me to express my feelings about your Washington correspondent, Mr. Richard Ryan. In my humble estimation, the smarmy Mr. Ryan is far beneath the high standards of the Texas Observer. I was in complete agreement with Ms. Nancy Folbre’s letter. protesting Mr. Ryan’s exclusion of Jesse Jackson from his article about Democratic presidential candidates. Mr. Ryan’s reply \(TO, to Ms. Folbre’s letter is particularly revelatory. Mr. Ryan says Jackson is not qualified because he has never held public office. \(I would like to add here that not only is this a typical escape hatch used by white politicians and businesses to discriminate against women and minorities, but also history shows that experience in public office should disqualify more historical reasons, obvious to almost everyone but Mr. Ryan, why black leaders do not have the access to public office that white \(I have a hard time calling them power structures available to black leadership is the ministry. To my mind, being a black minister is tantamount to holding public office, though it is an office based on moral and spiritual, as well as social, values. But that’s not the half of it. When Mr. Ryan is not busy saying Jesse Jackson has no experience, he is diminishing your magazine by labeling Jesse Jackson a virtual pimp, in the kind of racial stereotyping never before seen on your pages \(except, of course, when Mr. Ryan DIALOGUE 20 MARCH 11, 1988