Xi Jinping in His Own Words
What China’s Leader Wants—and How to Stop Him From Getting It
Thirty years ago this October the United States "lost" China. When Mao Zedong and his followers came to power, the new regime seemed to represent not only communist control of the largest single country in the world but the embryonic formation of a massive Sino-Soviet bloc, cemented by the treaty signed in Moscow in February 1950. And almost at once there followed the Soviet-backed North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950. American ground forces were nearly thrown off the peninsula, recovered dramatically, and then were hit on their way to the Yalu by the massed forces of China, which inflicted the worst single defeat in American military history and, with the North Koreans, were only driven back to the area of the original 38th parallel boundary in bloody fighting that went on until the armistice of July 1953.
The internal political debate that accompanied these events soon took the nastiest possible form. Republicans charged that Democratic administrations, in power continuously since 1933, had been directly responsible for the communist victory in China and for the Korean War. President Truman and Secretary of State Acheson became, in the words of a Congressman just turned Senator named Richard Nixon, the professors at a "college of cowardly Communist containment," a cry taken up by many other Republican Senators led by William Knowland and supported by Robert Taft. And, in fairly short order, these leaders condoned (or more) the accusations of still another Republican, Senator Joseph McCarthy, that the "loss of China" was due to the disloyalty of key individuals who had participated in policy decisions regarding China and to the toleration (or worse) of top officials for such individuals. The depredations of the Senator persisted for nearly five years, from early 1950 to late 1954, attaching his name to an era in American politics.
The story remains vivid both to those who lived through it and to later generations. Almost all historians-not to mention recent writers on their own experiences-have joined in condemning what happened at that time as one of the blackest episodes in our history. But the chorus of shame and regret has always had to compete, in the practical arena where foreign policy decisions are made and elected officials have to weigh their own survival, with the moral that it is mighty dangerous to be "on watch" (in naval lingo) when any country in the world comes under communist control-or, in the language of the 1940s and 1950s, moves from the orbit of the "free world" to that of the Soviet Union or, for a long time, that of Communist China or of the two together.
So the legacy of 1949-50 clearly went beyond the harm to individuals and to national ideals and cohesion; political fears cast a dark shadow over successive administrations' decisions and contributed heavily to policies that treated the cold war on a global basis going well beyond the centers of industrial power that had formed the core of George Kennan's original containment proposals. The advent of Castro to power in Cuba in 1959 must in any event have touched an exposed nerve; but the lengths to which Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy went in the next years to oust him, at the Bay of Pigs and in covert operations both before and after that disaster, surely owed much to the felt pressures of public opinion. In particular, the debates on Cuba in the 1960 campaign between Kennedy and Nixon read today like a competition in machismo.
In East Asia, similar concerns accounted heavily for the 1950s policy of wide commitments that in turn led directly to the Vietnam War. Some would attribute the key Vietnam decisions of 1964-65 very largely to the sense that a President who did not stand up to communist expansion there would surely be subject to a massive backlash of popular feeling at home; others (including this writer) felt at the time that domestic political factors virtually canceled each other out, with the memory of the public reaction reflected in the 1952 election and its slogans, against an Administration that got itself involved in a long and painful war in East Asia. But there can be no doubt that the backlash factor affected the policy of hanging on in Vietnam (including the invasion of Cambodia in 1970) pursued by President Nixon from 1969 to 1973-and operated also to restrain the growing congressional opposition to the war until public opinion had manifestly and overwhelmingly turned against it.
Then, briefly, the cold war receded into history, in a period of détente proclaimed by the same Mr. Nixon and his chief adviser, Henry Kissinger. Although the argument over basic decisions and the conduct of the Vietnam War has raged widely elsewhere, there has never been, at least in the political arena, any inquisition as to who "lost" Vietnam. Candidates at all levels who had supported the war at the times of decision were able to proclaim their disillusionment in varying degree (Governor Jimmy Carter, for example), and to join in a tacit consensus that decisions over a long period of time, under Administrations of both parties, were inextricably intertwined, and that any partisan advantage was simply not possible over a matter the nation preferred to put behind it.
With the post-Vietnam syndrome, the pendulum then swung in the opposite direction. Revelations in 1974 of Mr. Nixon's use of the CIA in Chile in 1970-73 against the Allende government (especially the abortive attempt to foster a military coup in the fall of 1970 through the so-called Track II effort) were roundly attacked-to the point where these operations were assigned a much greater role than they actually played in Allende's largely self-inflicted downfall. Myths of the Right gave way to exaggerations from the Left. A major wave of recrimination, with the CIA as scapegoat for activities almost always undertaken on the clearest sort of presidential direction, washed back to condemn anti-Castro operations of the mid-1960s and to throw a harsher light on well-publicized earlier CIA operations that had restored the Shah to power in Iran in 1953 and had thrown out Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Defenders of any of these actions, or of any continuing CIA role in the range of American policy options, were for a time either silenced or outgunned.
What appeared to be taking shape was, if not a consensus, at least a dominant opinion that tended to limit critical American security interests to the strategic balance with the Soviet Union, treaty commitments in the NATO area, Japan and Korea, and the long-standing moral commitment to Israel. On this view, the advent of new governments in other areas of the world was an issue to be addressed carefully and selectively, even if the results included the overthrow or defeat of governments or groups friendly to American policy and interests and the coming to power of hostile forces of a menacing or communist coloration.
Angola in 1975 started the pendulum moving back toward its cold war position. A Democratic Congress acted to block the attempted covert intervention set under way by President Ford and Secretary Kissinger, and the upshot was a Soviet-oriented government in Angola, a precedent for later use of Cuban forces in Ethiopia, and a new sense of Soviet threat throughout black Africa. By 1976, détente was a dirty word within the Republican Party at least for the duration of the campaign, and the same Mr. Kissinger was attacked from the Right by wide segments of his own party. Increasingly, congressional and public opinion were becoming gravely concerned at the Soviet buildup of strategic and conventional forces, and at the demonstrated ability of the Soviet Union and its allies in Cuba and Eastern Europe to take advantage of opportunities in Africa and the Middle East.
These concerns were far from being aberrations of the American public's imagination; they were indeed widely shared among our NATO allies. And, of course, they coincided with the growth in the power of the oil-producing countries made dramatic in the events of 1973-74, and with a general sense of malaise at the inability of the nation to get on top of its economic and energy problems. Plainly America's power had diminished, at least in relative terms, and this was something much of the country was not readily prepared to recognize or accept. Conditions were ripening for a return to the old American (and democratic) tendency to blame leaders harshly for their real or presumed failures, and for that tendency to apply once again to adverse changes in the Third World.
Jimmy Carter was, in hindsight, leading with his chin when he ran for office on a proclaimed policy along the lines of the 1974-76 "dominant position" just described, and especially when he emphasized the advancement of human rights as an American policy objective to a degree that went beyond either the proclaimed or actual policies of his Democratic predecessors. The contrast with the Realpolitik of Mr. Kissinger was, and was intended to be, stark-and could hardly have failed to make Republicans generally eager to pounce on cases of failure or alleged weakness in the Administration's handling of Third World problems.
Through the first two years of the Carter Administration the debate was muted and glancing; older historical memories dominated the Panama treaties issue, and Senate Republican leaders in the end joined to support ratification. But party lines were being drawn increasingly, and the Republican Party was moving toward a viewpoint that went well beyond attacks on the Administration's coherence or tactical competence. A major part of the hardening Republican position has to do with defense policy and the generalized theme of weakness abroad. At some point, if the Administration's policies toward the Arab-Israel dispute and the crisis in southern Africa should founder, these might become targets-even though in both cases the Administration's policies (in practice if not in rhetoric) have had a considerable degree of continuity with the immediate past.1
But there are today two potential issues that have overtones of 1950, 1952, and the Cuba discussions of 1960, and that could become, key Republicans apparently believe, the "sleepers" of the 1980 campaign. These are the Administration's handling of the events in Iran that culminated in the Shah's overthrow and of the Nicaraguan civil war that has just ended in the ouster of Somoza. The grave consequences of the former are already with us on every hand; by next year the latter may seem terribly damaging (and much nearer to home). They are indeed the stuff not merely of a replay in 1980 of the campaign charges of overall American weakness and loss of prestige that John Kennedy used to telling effect in 1960, but of something resembling the disgraceful donnybrooks of 1950 and 1952.
This article is emphatically not a brief either for the Carter Administration or for the burying of foreign policy issues in American political debate. Nor is it a plea for a return to the tradition of bipartisanship that established itself, at the time to great constructive purpose, from 1947-48 through the 1960s-aided by the fact that for much of that time the President and Congress were controlled by opposing parties and had to get along if the nation was to have an effective foreign policy at all. Any such brief or plea, apart from falling on totally deaf ears, would ignore the genuine differences in approach that do exist both between and within the Republican and Democratic parties today. And the general sense of competence and wisdom, as between an Administration and its challengers, is an inescapable issue in any campaign.
But the cases of Iran and Nicaragua, in particular, do now appear likely to raise once again the issue of what sort of debate is useful and reasonable and honest-or conversely may be destructive and debilitating in the same manner as the debate of the McCarthy era. And it is this issue that needs airing and careful thought. In what sense, if any, were Iran and Nicaragua "lost" and with what possible consequences? To what degree can the Carter Administration be fairly held responsible, as compared with its predecessors or with the hypothetical policies of a Republican Administration if Mr. Ford had squeaked through in 1976? And what range of American policies toward political change in the Third World might responsible political leaders, regardless of party, put forward?
In the case of Nicaragua, domestic political controversy has attended every move the United States has made since early 1977. To be sure, that controversy has been far more acute on Capitol Hill than among the public at large; President Somoza was far from being a popular hero, but over the years he and his supporters had appealed shrewdly and effectively to those in positions of influence who tended to view stability in a volatile Central America as paramount. The result was a Somoza bloc in Congress that was in a position to put strong pressure on the Administration not to try to oust him directly, and in any event to avoid the coming to power of a new radical regime. With the Administration dedicated only to the latter objective, there is great force to the argument advanced by William LeoGrande elsewhere in this issue that conflicting pressures led the Administration to act always behind events. Thus the moderate forces U.S. policy was intended to support were disappointed, placed in an impossible position and replaced at the head of the revolution by more radical elements. On this view, the Administration acted too diffidently and ended up with the worst of both worlds. It was right to seek to get rid of Somoza, or alternatively to force him to change the character of his regime drastically. But the means and tactics were wrong.
The opposing thesis challenged the policy objective itself. It argued that the Administration should not have started something it could not finish, and specifically should never have put pressure on an already embattled Somoza regime unless it had a clear and workable program and prospect that his successors would be moderate and "pro-U.S." "Sure, Somoza is an SOB," ran the argument, "but at least he is our SOB!" It would belie all past experience if this view was not held and strongly advanced at the intermediate levels of the Pentagon and CIA, and perhaps by some in the State Department. Outside government, it was not only urged by the Somoza bloc in Congress but in a more muted fashion by several Republicans. In the last week of the Somoza regime, the possible shape of things to come was clearly suggested by the comment of Richard Nixon, on a visit to Mexico, that "the choice we face is not between . . . Somoza and somebody better, but between . . . Somoza and somebody much worse.2
In the face of this line of argument, the Carter forces will not be likely to make headway in next year's campaign by blaming their tactical difficulties on the pressures of the Somoza bloc. The two most prominent leaders of that bloc, both Democrats, were in committee chairmanships from which they could affect the passage and substance of legislation properly deemed vital by the Administration, above all the legislation to fund and carry through the Panama Canal treaties ratified by the Senate in April 1978. It was indeed bad luck that the final House votes on this legislation coincided with critical choices in Nicaragua, and thus gave the bloc special leverage; the situation reflected the disastrously diffused power structure in Congress today and the endless opportunities for irresponsible action thus created. But the point is that in the political terms of a presidential campaign it just won't wash to argue that "we could have got a moderate government in Nicaragua if our hand had not been joggled at every turn by a group of Congressmen led by two Democrats!"
Conversely, Mr. Carter's opponents are not likely-for different reasons-to argue that the proper course, once the civil war had reached a serious stage (say, by September 1978, or at latest by early 1979), would have been to follow the example of Lyndon Johnson in 1965 by landing American forces, with or without the approval of the Organization of American States. Such forces could have policed a cease-fire and held the ring until an election could be arranged. Reports from Latin America suggest that this, or something like it, is what many in the area (both of the Right and Left) expected from Uncle Sam. They would have denounced it from the housetops, but key leaders might well have tacitly welcomed the United States once again acting as umpire.3
But any Republican candidate for President who argues that this should have been done would have to make clear whether the objective would have been a fair election-in which case Somoza could hardly have survived-or propping up Somoza at all costs, which would have turned the clock back to 1912 and 1926 in far riskier circumstances. The first choice repudiates Somoza and in effect endorses the case against him; the second is, to put it mildly, unattractive. It is too early to say that the United States has passed beyond the type of intervention the 1965 Dominican episode represented. But the campaign of 1980 is not likely to contribute to a revival of such actions.4
No, in terms of the 1980 campaign, the issue has to come back to fundamentals, and it is a fair issue. If Gerald Ford had been elected in 1976, almost certainly his Administration would have continued the aloof posture it had adopted toward Somoza in its last year. But even such a posture would have avoided the affirmative pressures applied under President Carter and would probably have inhibited the Nicaraguan opposition of all stripes from the degree of action necessary to get up revolutionary momentum. A Democratic Congress would have fussed and insisted on human rights reports by the State Department, and would perhaps have cut off any form of U.S. aid to Nicaragua. But in purchasing his military needs, Somoza had already begun to turn elsewhere-to Israel notably-and his own economic empire would have remained intact (or growing). So it seems a safe bet that Tacho Somoza would still be in charge in Managua and his amiable brother-in-law still extending abrazzos to all and sundry in Washington as dean of the diplomatic corps.
That the issue is fair does not mean that it will not be argued in phony ways. Whether the United States should have gone on supporting Somoza or turned to the policy of pressure followed by President Carter was emphatically not an issue of "not intervening" as opposed to intervening. Perhaps more than any other single ruler in the world, Somoza (like his father before him) was the creation of American policy and action going back 50-odd years; he acted accordingly, brandishing his support from the United States on all sides. This history and the very weight of the "colossus of the North" made any pretense of "nonintervention" a transparent fiction to all Nicaraguans. The Carter policies were, in the Nicaraguan context, no more or less interventionist than the previous condonation of Somoza's practices had been.
But, when such underbrush is stripped away, there remains a fundamental issue on which serious and responsible leaders can differ in high degree and with a measure of vehemence. On the one hand, there is the argument that democratic values have never been deeply rooted in Latin America and certainly cannot be imposed by an external power; that for the United States to act against any ruler of established legitimacy is to invite a wave of unforeseen political convulsions and changes elsewhere, including possibilities of Cuban and Soviet alignments and interventions; and that the U.S. posture toward any regime should be guided by whether it is conducting its external policies on lines supportive of U.S. interests. On all counts, it can be argued, to shift from the historic U.S. support of Somoza was playing with fire, and the risks were compounded by inept tactics that helped bring about a potentially radical government now threatening the stability of its neighbors and the spread of Cuban and Soviet influence to the grave detriment of U.S. interests in the Hemisphere.
It is not for this writer to weigh the appeal of this argument to the American electorate. Twenty or even 15 years ago, it would have been almost impossible to counter; in 1960, John Kennedy was impelled by both political sense and personal conviction to outflank Richard Nixon on the hard side of the Cuba issue-even though it was hard to accuse the Eisenhower Administration of being "soft" on Castro, let alone of having contributed to his coming to power by a hostile posture toward Batista.
Today, however, a generation of North American scholars has carried the tide of revisionist thinking a long way in relation to Latin America, especially among those under 40. The Linowitz Report of late 1976 reflected what might be called the new liberal consensus, which coincided with the basis of Mr. Carter's policy toward Latin America even before human rights were so stressed as a general and overarching theme.
In relation to Nicaragua, the pro-Administration argument will doubtless be that there is a basis in Latin American tradition and ideals for the spread (with whatever ups and downs) of democratic practices and civil liberties, that in any event a corrupt dictatorship like Somoza's is "stable" only in a limited short-term sense and at immense cost to human welfare as well as to the reputation of the United States if it had gone on supporting it, and that in the longer run it is just such regimes that sow the real seeds of radicalism and even cause it to take on totalitarian forms.
These are the opposing lines of argument that may be joined in the 1980 campaign, with each side drawing heavily on how events unfold over the next year. Much will depend, too, on the public image of the new Nicaraguan leaders-and of Somoza himself in exile; it is self-evident that individual incidents such as the killing of ABC's Bill Stewart in June by Somoza's National Guard can be immensely damaging to either side.
If Nicaragua settles down, if new radical regimes do not appear elsewhere in Central America, if the influence of Cuba and the Soviet Union appears muted, the Nicaragua issue may not bulk large. But if developments seem adverse, it could indeed be the sleeper of the campaign. Central America is only a shade less sensitive than the nearby Caribbean to Americans, and in the wake of the Panama treaties debate-with many Republican presidential candidates on record against the treaties and with the polls still showing a slight majority of the American public opposed to those treaties despite their ratification-the scope for reargument is enormous. If Panama itself should be affected by a radical tide stemming arguably from Nicaragua, hold your hats.
But, to repeat, the issue is a fair one. Somoza is as good a symbol as could have been found of past U.S. policies in Latin America and of the arguments that can be made for not moving precipitately away from those policies. And the Carter Administration chose deliberately, through its human rights policies, to change the thrust of U.S. policy in the Hemisphere. Whichever side may be the gainer, the debate will be worth having.
What then of Iran? Is there a fair issue of policy raised by the Carter Administration's handling of the Iranian revolution?
On the face of it, one would conclude that there simply must be. The revolution happened on Jimmy Carter's watch, with no serious indication prior to January 1977 that an early upheaval was likely. The United States was enmeshed in the affairs of Iran to a greater degree than anywhere else in the Third World except for wartime South Vietnam and perhaps South Korea in the 1950s. And, whereas the Nicaraguan revolution has not had any significant adverse consequences to this point, that in Iran has already (to simplify only very slightly):
(1) precipitated a second crisis in world oil prices and supply balance;
(2) by its example, affected the long-run policies of oil-producing countries so that they will almost certainly reduce their development plans, and in any event limit their output and exports so as to keep the oil market perennially tight;
(3) threatened the stability of neighboring nations all around the vital area of the Persian Gulf, the more so coming as it did on the heels of communist takeovers in Ethiopia, South Yemen and Afghanistan;
(4) reversed Iran's policy on the Arab-Israel front, encouraging the Palestinians and redoubling their pressures on the moderate Arab states, while at the same time scaring the Israelis and making them tougher bargainers.
To which some would add a fifth consequence, that the Islamic character of the revolution could drastically affect internal political forces in other Muslim countries or tend to create some new Islamic bloc of nations.
In short, barely a year after Camp David coincided with the first big riots in Tehran (September 8, 1978), it is a safe guess that the historian of the future will find the latter-the Bastille Day of the Iranian revolution-to have been by far the bigger event. Iran's revolution may well have doomed the crucial second phase of the Camp David agreements by its impact on both sides. Certainly it set off a vicious circle of political, economic and oil decisions that could amount to the gravest threat to world peace and the interests of the United States and other Western nations since the end of World War II.
And the revolution in Iran is far from having run its course. In the storehouse of history, the model of a swing back to a conservative law-and-order regime (the Directory in France in 1795) seems somewhat more likely than a radical Left takeover (analogous to the Kerensky-to-Lenin fate Mr. Kissinger wrongly thought would befall the Socialist government in post-1974 Portugal). But nothing can be ruled out except an early return to anything resembling orderly administration or external and oil policies congenial to the United States.
So it is not surprising that, in the private meeting places of Washington, and occasionally in print, one sees the testing and stirring of arguments that might be embellished in a campaign. Surely, it is argued, there must have been some crucial moment when the Shah could have used his armed forces to put down the revolt once and for all, or when the Iranian military might have launched a successful coup even after the Shah had left. Or perhaps the CIA, still allegedly possessing a powerful mystique in Iran, might have been unleashed despite the crippling attacks to which it had been subjected (by a Democratic Congress, of course). Those who make such charges do not have to specify what the moment or form of action should have been-a rhetorical question is enough, and in the right setting perhaps a reference to what the Eisenhower Administration was able to bring off in 1953, without bloodshed and with years of apparent stability and progress thereafter under the restored Shah.
Nor do they have to explain why they did not speak out at the times of decision. The debates within the Administration on how to save the Shah or at least a constitutional monarchy in Iran-intense as they may have been within the limited circle privy to policy-were never aired in public, discussed with congressional leaders, or made the subject, apparently, of the quiet continuing consultations with such Republican leaders as Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger that have played some part in limiting the field of argument on SALT II and the Arab-Israel negotiations.
Rather, the Administration acted throughout in secret and on its own. The plain fact is that in cases like Iran there really is no way to form a bipartisan policy unless there is not only broad policy agreement on the objective (as there was here), but also a very high degree of agreement on the type of measures to be employed, and unless these measures are overt and subject preferably to congressional approval.5
Most important, the Administration's statements and tactical handling of the situation certainly left an impression of some floundering. Until December, it held to a public posture of firm support for the Shah, but there were leaks of contrary views within the State Department that served, or so it can be argued, to leave the Shah in doubt where the United States stood. And American representatives on the spot seem to have stuck to a hands-off policy, not offering the Shah any clear-cut advice. It appears that the Shah, even before September, gave a lot of thought to announcing a transition to a constitutional monarchy; in the spring and summer of 1978 such a move might have defused the revolution and certainly delayed it. By the fall, Khomeini's position seemed too strong, apparently, for any Iranian leader to be prepared to step in as prime minister in such a transition. Conceivably, if the United States had foreseen the extent of what was coming, it might have acted (perhaps with the British) to urge the Shah strongly in this direction.
But this is a "might have been" for the historians; it is not the stuff of red-blooded politics. Rather, any Republican campaigning in 1980 is far more likely to argue that the Administration was to blame for not pulling out all the stops, at all levels, in support of the Shah and above all for not encouraging him to act with maximum force, some time from September on. The fact that just this policy appears to have been urged within the Administration by Mr. Brzezinski, at least at intervals, lends the argument added weight.
True, the Administration's position did nothing to prevent the Shah from doing just this; on the contrary, the repeated statements of support from the White House clearly implied that he would be backed whatever he decided to do. The one thing the Administration did not suggest-and probably would have declined if it had been asked-was the direct support of American military forces if Iranian forces sought to subdue the revolt and then ran into trouble. But surely this is a question that would have been raised by the Shah if he himself had ever taken the option seriously-as he apparently did not (unlike his ambassador to Washington). And any critic of the Administration should be forced to be clear how it should have been answered.
Or is it enough to argue that the reason the Shah did not seriously contemplate the use of military force was some generalized feeling that the United States was weaker in the area?6 I think not. For the United States to get him to screw his courage to the sticking point would surely have taken some fairly direct assurances of contingent military support.
As for the idea of a coup by the Iranian military, the Administration sent a senior general, Robert Huyser, Deputy European Commander, to Tehran in January to maintain contact with the Iranian high command. Apparently his line was to "cool it," or at any rate to plan with the utmost care any action taken. A contrary American position at that time-after the Shah left and before Prime Minister Bakhtiar fled and Khomeini arrived-might well have led to what an advocate of such a course has described privately as a "real throw of the dice." But what would the chances have been? And, again, would the military have acted without some assurance of more than moral U.S. support?
In short, those who argue that "there must have been a way" should be made to explain very carefully just what that way was, and what risks it would have entailed for U.S. forces themselves, including the possibility of a Soviet counter-intervention.7 Any honest proponent of the hard-line course must also acknowledge that, for good or ill, it would surely have involved the United States far more deeply and visibly in the political future of Iran. The memory of what happened after the overthrow of Diem in Vietnam in 1963 can hardly be confined to Jimmy Carter and his moderate advisers, who apparently gave this consideration great weight in their hands-off policy.
Finally, one thing that cannot be claimed is that some neat CIA-backed operation would have done the trick. By mid-1978 there were no pro-Shah mobs there for the organizing, while the opposition was, as the event has conclusively demonstrated, almost universal. The Shah himself knew all along that there was no chance of reenacting the events of 1953. Putting down the revolution could only have meant military force in large doses, undertaken by an army whose willingness to fire on its own countrymen was suspect long before its final collapse in January and February.
In what may already have been an overlong discussion of the issues of "crisis management" in Iran, it should not be necessary to dwell on the much-bruited claim of serious intelligence deficiencies.8 No doubt these existed, but the policies that limited American unilateral intelligence operations in Iran and thus made American appraisals heavily dependent on the Shah's own SAVAK sources dated from long before Jimmy Carter. Republicans are hardly in a position to throw stones at that particular pane.
Here one hits a basic point on the whole Iran experience. If the issues of crisis management seem very "iffy" and hard to sustain, it is at least clear that the Carter Administration must take responsibility for this aspect. But were not the underlying conditions that had grown up over the years in Iran far more responsible for the revolution? What was the degree of American responsibility for those conditions, and how should it be apportioned as between the Carter Administration and its predecessors?
In 1949-50 Republicans could get away with the claim that Democratic policies "lost" China in very large part because Republicans had not been in power since 1933. But in the case of Iran, Republican and Democratic administrations alike had supported the Shah for more than 30 years; even the Shah's debt to Eisenhower for the 1953 restoration could have been paired with his debt to Truman for helping to get the Russians out of Azerbaijan in 1946. Not only the American quasi-commitment to Iran (embodied in a 1959 executive agreement rather than a treaty) but the details of American military and economic aid programs were accepted and approved over the years on a bipartisan basis, and to an overwhelming degree the administration of policy was left to professionals.
In short, with only two exceptions, anyone who lived with American policy in Iran from 1949 to 1979 would be hard put to point to any major American policy or practice that would plainly have been different if the other party had been in power. The first of these exceptions was the policy of all-out and unquestioning support for the Shah followed by the Nixon Administration from 1972 onward; not even private advice, apparently, was ever offered to the Shah on such blatant issues as the corrupt practices of his family, and the policy was symbolized dramatically by President Nixon's blank check of May 1972 for the Shah to buy any U.S. military equipment he wanted regardless of its sophistication or the judgment of military experts as to Iran's needs and capacities. Any Democratic administration in that period would probably have behaved differently on both counts.
And equally, a hypothetical Ford Administration after 1977 would surely not have adopted the Carter human rights policy. Even though the application to Iran was muted, and counterbalanced by Jimmy Carter's overcompensating toast in praise of the Shah in Tehran on New Year's Eve of 1977, there was unquestionably an impact in Iran.
So it is natural that Henry Kissinger has put his finger on the human rights policy (as well as the Administration's alleged lack of general firmness), while George Ball, in reply, has attacked the "blank check" Nixon military sales policy.9
But is either point really significant? Certainly the Shah was enabled by Mr. Nixon's generosity to acquire sophisticated military systems way beyond Iran's capacity; large numbers of American technicians in Iran were, on almost any analysis, a disturbing political factor. Vast resources and high-quality manpower went into a bloated defense effort and were thus conceivably denied to development programs, housing, and so on, and some American secrets were endangered.
But suppose another American President had been more standoffish. Would the Shah have changed his priorities or would he simply have bought less sophisticated equipment elsewhere? Leave aside the U.S. balance of payments, or the teasing question whether unlimited arms sales gave the United States any special influence on the Shah's oil price actions and votes in OPEC. The question is whether the internal situation in Iran would have evolved any differently. I doubt it.
As for the Carter human rights policy, those who knew the Shah best do not assert that his own very limited liberalization moves in 1977-78 were significantly affected by American pressure. At that stage the Shah acted, it would appear, from his own sense that it was time to let up a bit, and apparently with the idea of a possible future transition to a constitutional monarchy that he believed could not sustain itself through continued drastic repression. Later, when the crisis was visible, his limited concessions were in response to his own tactical sense.
It is less clear to what extent the human rights policy, by the simple fact of its being enunciated, encouraged the opposition to come out in the open and start pressing hard. Responsible Iranians claim that there was such an impact, even though nothing in the American posture-even before the Carter toast-suggested a U.S. turning away from basic support of the Shah. But not even an analysis of the revolution from a conservative viewpoint sympathetic to the Shah assigns the human rights policy more than secondary importance in the complex of factors that led to the revolution and the Shah's downfall.10 The tide of opposition to the Shah that revealed itself in the fall of 1978 was far too vast to be attributable to any such single factor.
So much for the principal arguments now evident.11 What they confront, basically, is the central fact that it was the policies of the Shah himself that were his undoing. And, whereas the United States, through its aid programs, commitment and close association, had very marked direct leverage on those policies through roughly the late 1960s, thereafter its influence was much reduced for the simple reason that the rise in oil prices made the Shah increasingly independent. Thus, in his last years he tended more and more to act on his own and to resist advice that was even slightly critical of his central policies.12
No American should bemoan, in principle, that a once-dependent country became able to stand on its own feet. But Iran's post-1970 independence was more than that-it both reduced specific American influence over the Shah's policies to nearly nil, and symbolized a major shift in power away from the oil-consuming countries and in favor of the oil producers. And if one asks what American Administration was responsible for that shift, one becomes bogged down hopelessly. Neither party, nor for that matter any set of individuals or groups, is in a position readily to blame others for the sea change.
So in the end the argument that any American Administration "lost Iran" seems to me a feckless and essentially irresponsible one. Iran (like China) was never ours to begin with. To the extent that there was ever substantial American influence on Iranian internal politics or the Shah's policies, that influence had dwindled by the early 1970s for reasons that had to do overwhelmingly with oil and its economics.
Up to this point we have been discussing the danger that either Nicaragua or Iran might lend itself to the kind of reckless charges of past responsibility that attended the communist takeover in China in 1949-50. And we have been talking in terms of the arguments that might be used between a Republican candidate (or those seeking the nomination) and either Jimmy Carter or some other Democratic candidate almost necessarily running within the confines of this Administration's record.13
The tone of the campaign and the relative fairness of arguments used on this point are important, especially at a time when the nation needs badly to pull itself together. A deeper question may be what effect a debate might have on the conduct of foreign policy during and after the election, whoever won. In the case of China, and later in the debate on Cuba in 1960, the upshot-as we have seen-was to cement American policy into a hard-line mold that took years to shake off, with results that certainly did not advance the national security. And while words spoken in a presidential election year were only part of each of these waves of national feeling, they did a great deal to build them to tidal proportions.
In the cases of Nicaragua and Iran, the first casualty could be observance of an old and classic rule of statesmanship: not to compound an adverse or potentially adverse situation by trying to hit it head on (in golfing terms to "play them as they lie"). This is always hard in a democracy, and American policy breached the rule in both China and Cuba, dealing with each of the incoming regimes almost from the start on the basis of worst-case assumptions about its true-red communist nature and above all its ties to the Soviet Union, and ignoring evidence that the new regime might be, if not less Marxist than its noises, at least so nationalist that it would in practice follow a path away from Soviet direction if given the chance. Such worst-case assumptions then became self-fulfilling; in each case, hostility toward the United States that might have been limited or even outgrown in, say, a five- or ten-year period, hardened into a generation of virulent enmity.
The present regime in Iran is not remotely communist, nor is there persuasive evidence that it was brought to power with significant Soviet help. But it is stridently anti-American and seems at times to be spoiling for a quarrel; American enthusiasm for Khomeini was never widespread, and feeling toward him is already highly critical. Conversely, the Shah's errors and repression tend to recede into history; he looks better as Khomeini looks worse.
So some Americans are not only replaying what happened and the Carter Administration's role, but are suggesting American preferences for the future. In an exceedingly volatile Iranian political climate-with a long habit of reading and misreading supposed American actions and intentions, whether by the CIA or others-this can only be dynamite.14 Any hint that the United States is exerting, or seeking, political influence in the unfolding drama in Iran has about a 99 percent chance of working against American interests. If the Republican Party should appear to be talking in this direction, the damage would be doubled-and if the Democrats tried to defend themselves by playing the same game, doubled again.
Almost certainly both sides, in their more relaxed moments, realize this, and almost all the comment to date has been prefaced by "hands off" disclaimers. But in the heat of political battle total restraint is not the rule. It has simply got to be this time.
In Nicaragua, the same problem is even more acute. There are radical elements in the new regime; the rebellion (unlike Iran's) did have substantial outside material help and advice, specifically from Cuba, and what Cuba does in the Hemisphere cannot be dissociated from the policies of its sole supporter, the Soviet Union. But to recognize these facts is one thing, to talk loosely or simplistically about them in public debate, at any responsible level, quite another. It would be the easiest thing in the world for Republican candidates to paint themselves (if they won) into a corner, and almost as easy for the Administration's supporters to seek to counter by showing how much they too are "on the ball" on the issue.
Yet, if the differences about past policy, especially human rights versus stability, are honest and valid subjects for debate, is it utterly unrealistic to seek to limit the debate in the ways this analysis would suggest? Can Republicans conceivably argue their case without depicting the new regime in the harshest light? Is it conceivable that Republicans could argue that their party could not have got us into this bind, but that the only thing to do now is to play it cool?
These questions will be tested well before the campaign, as the Carter Administration presents to Congress, in some fashion, the substantial aid and reconstruction programs it is apparently planning for Nicaragua. The tone of debate at that time could go far to set the tone for the campaign itself. Alas, unlike the largely temporary damage inflicted by acerbic Senate comments on Panama in the Panama Canal treaties debate, we are not dealing with a Torrijos who is in firm control of his country and, in that special case, wanted the treaties badly enough to accept indignities for the sake of getting them ratified. Both moderates and radicals in Nicaragua will be listening intently to the thrust of American comment from the Hill. If the United States seems to be "giving them hell," their response could easily be (in the words once used by Sukarno of Indonesia) "the hell with your aid"-and the inevitable result would be a turn to Cuba and the Soviet Union and an accompanying turn to the radical Left, the very results both U.S. parties should be anxious to avoid.
So we face a stern test of the discipline of debate in the American political system. And the test will get tougher as 1980 unfolds.
But the gravest consequence of all, for the long term, could be the impact of a heated and intemperate debate in 1980 on the whole American approach to changes in the Third World. Whether there is some Soviet tide sweeping over the Third World is bound to be debated, even if Iran and Nicaragua are not as central as I have suggested they may be. So, at the risk of moving increasingly into the realm of personal opinion rather than attempted dispassionate judgment, let us look at broader issues and possibilities.
First of all, such a debate could tend to revive what an astute British observer, Denis Brogan, once called "the illusion of American omnipotence." Mr. Kissinger, in attacking the Carter human rights policy, has noted that: "We cannot keep proclaiming that we learned the dangers of universal intervention in Vietnam and then elaborate a doctrine which amounts to universal intervention."15 The Carter Administration plainly saw major gains from its decision to make human rights a worldwide element in American policy-in giving the American people a renewed sense of idealistic purpose and in enhancing the American image abroad. But in so doing it risked confusions that would have unforeseen consequences and give ammunition to its opponents.16
However, suggestions that the United States can readily engage in covert or even military operations to affect the political outcome in individual countries run in the same direction even though on a more selective basis. Either a policy of preaching or one of manipulation implies a far greater American role than in fact exists today in almost all Third World situations.
In Iran and Nicaragua, when one comes right down to it, it was internal forces that were decisive. The great majority of the people in both countries had turned against their rulers, and change was inevitable at some point, though not necessarily in the form of the new governments of Khomeini and the Sandinista-dominated group respectively. And this was equally true, I would argue, in Chile in 1973 and certainly in Portugal in 1975, where the changes were, in simplistic terms, from radical regimes to right-wing or democratic socialist ones.
Misgovernment breeds opposition, and the results in all these cases conformed to a felt sense of the people that what was going on was intolerable. The amount of misgovernment in the world today is monumental, particularly in Third World countries, often in the first generation of independence, that face enormous economic and social problems. And the direct involvement of the United States worldwide is a fraction of what it was ten or 15 years ago, for reasons that are mostly sound and by now solidly accepted by both political parties. For the United States to act, or for American leaders to talk, as if the United States had great direct influence on the process of political change in the Third World would be to play the part of King Canute on a big scale.
Yet there are cases where the United States may have to consider action, notwithstanding the difficulties. Today, the concept of "spheres of influence" is rightly in disrepute: to attack Soviet activities in Africa as outside the "historic" sphere of Russian policy is to invoke nineteenth-century criteria that would hardly sustain an active U.S. role in that area, let alone in the Middle East. Whether U.S. and Western interests are critically affected by change in the Third World must always be weighed, for each nation or area, in terms of present realities. And these may take in a complex of factors that include access to oil as well as the classic elements of grand strategy in the past.
But if the United States is to respect the integrity of the political process among Third World nations, as I believe it must, it can act only in defense of that process, that is when other nations hostile to American interests-notably the Soviet Union or its allies-are themselves intervening to impose governments or create disruption by force or subversion. In such cases, the United States (and other Western nations) may have to respond-very judiciously, as sparingly as possible, only when truly important interests are involved-but still to act. This, I take it, is the consensus that has evolved on the specific issue of CIA covert operations. The same kind of guideline concerning external intervention from other quarters seems to have been laid down in recent Administration statements on the possible use of force in response to threats in the Middle East in the wake of Iran.17
If such action, therefore, is even to be considered in the future-as I believe it must be-the criterion of clear-cut and demonstrable hostile foreign intervention is basic. No one in France or Italy doubted in 1947-48 that the Soviet Union was backing the disruptive and anti-democratic tactics of the local Communist Parties to the hilt; what the United States did, to counter Soviet activity, through scarcely covert means, was in the truest sense pro-democratic and in tune with the will of the French and Italian people. That the criterion was invoked in later cases on shakier evidence (for example, in the Dominican Republic in 1965) does not invalidate it; it simply means that the evidence must indeed be clear, especially to the people involved.
In the Iranian revolution and Nicaragua, there has not-to date-been any such persuasive evidence. To exaggerate the external role in campaign debate can only operate to blur an essential distinction that must continue to guide American action. Here, too, of course, times have changed, and there will always be the additional question whether the United States or Western nations are in a position to be effective. Soviet backing for the forces of Agostinho Neto in Angola in 1975 was plain enough, but I would argue that Secretary Kissinger did exactly what he now accuses the Carter Administration of doing in a different way in Nicaragua-starting something he could not finish, or certainly could not finish once he invoked, or condoned, the cooperation of South Africa. In grand strategy, as in chess, one does have to choose the terrain on which to stand and fight; no "lesson of Vietnam" should be clearer than that one.
And this in turn suggests a third aspect of American and Western policy in the Third World. American intervention in Chile in 1970-73, as in Angola in 1975, was based explicitly on the argument that any gain for the Soviet side was bound to have grave repercussions not only in the region or in kindred nations elsewhere, but in terms of the perceived global balance between the Soviet Union and the West, above all the United States.18 Against this "globalist" line of argument stands a more "regionalist" view, that the people of the region affected are today, if not the best, the inevitable judges of what kind of political change should be prevented or assisted. This view does not dismiss the existence of Soviet threats, but it does insist that to act in the face of dominant regional opinion-as the United States was doing in Angola once the South African role became evident-is foredoomed to failure. Rhetoric aside, the policies of the United States and Britain on the issue of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia from 1977 to the present have rested on a Realpolitik version of "regionalism"-that is to say, on hard practical judgments of what key black African governments would oppose or support.19
The "regionalist" view also seems to have been a supporting factor in the Administration's persisting on its anti-Somoza course in Nicaragua. The Sandinistas were assisted not only by Cuba but by Costa Rica, Panama and other neighboring nations; Somoza had few friends in the region, even though leaders of some key nations such as Mexico may have been decidedly skeptical of the outcome.20 As to Iran, on the other hand, the shoe was on the other foot: moderate Arab governments in the area, in Saudi Arabia above all, were appalled at the United States standing by and letting the Shah go down; whether they assessed the practical possibilities of action realistically is, of course, another question, and their ultimate judgment would surely have depended on what emerged from any American intervention-whether we "pulled it off." (The parallel to the attitudes of East Asian non-communist governments toward Vietnam is very much in point: from early strong encouragement they moved in the end to criticism and regret as the American effort foundered.)
So the Administration has not been wholly "regionalist" in its actual decisions. Nor have its "globalist" critics tried to argue that every case should be met with action regardless of the local balance of forces or regional norms and attitudes. When Ethiopia came under a Soviet-oriented regime and then defeated a Somali invasion and put down a revolt in Eritrea in 1978, there was a good deal of sniping at the Administration's alleged ineptitude, but no serious suggestion that the United States should have got itself directly involved other than to manifest more clearly a posture of concern and readiness to meet future more promising situations.
But there is a real issue here, at least of degree, and ample room for fair debate. A Republican Administration would almost certainly have been less influenced by black African opinion on Zimbabwe-Rhodesia; the issue should be whether treating the situation primarily as one of Soviet threat would have produced better results-or might have invited the very Soviet intervention it opposed, and in circumstances where the United States, as in Angola, had no real follow-through unless it was prepared to engage American forces directly. My own bias is evident, but the issue is an honest one and can be debated as such. Sometimes the globalist-regionalist debate will overlap with the stability-human rights one, but not always.
In such a debate, the differences will of course extend far beyond questions of U.S. diplomatic tactics or political options. It is already being argued not only that the increased strategic and conventional military strength of the Soviet Union, and its new-found ability to make use of Cuban or East German proxies, have created a shift in the whole global balance of power, but that this is having a drastic effect on what happens in Third World situations. The proposition is unquestionably correct in at least the narrow sense that Soviet military actions in Angola and Ethiopia would not have been possible ten years ago. And it is now common ground between and within American political parties (at least at the leadership level in the Democratic Party) that the United States and the West must redress the military balance by increased military budgets. One can argue that the emphasis in such increases should be more on the conventional side than now appears likely from the Senate's debate on SALT II. And the issue of who was responsible for the drop in relative American military power can go on endlessly.
But the connection to Third World change is far from being a blanket or indiscriminate one. The Soviet Union sought opportunities to expand its influence in the Middle East (and elsewhere) long before the West had lost unquestioned military superiority; obviously its leaders believed that they could go a long way without running into possible military confrontations. Most of the difficult issues in the Third World today, it cannot be repeated too often, have come about for local and regional reasons that would have operated irrespective of the global military balance. Military factors are certainly relevant, but to emphasize them unduly is both untrue to the complexities of particular cases and runs the risk of inhibiting Western actions that are entirely possible still. And, whether by express "linkage" or otherwise, the United States and its Western allies still have a great many nonmilitary cards to play in ways that can affect direct Soviet or proxy interventions.
There is one final point about the possible range of debate in the 1980 campaign on Third World changes adverse to U.S. interests. Even if it is confined to the genuine differences of approach I have tried to suggest in the body of this article, it will have left out something very important that badly needs saying about American policies in the Third World.
Up to this point, we have been discussing issues of American political policy and possible American "intervention"-using the term in its broadest sense to include both supporting and opposing established governments or forces of change. But to confine the discussion to the political/military sphere glosses over a whole vital area of American policy, namely, what we should be doing about the basic economic and social pressures and problems that beset Third World countries almost universally.
One does not have to go all the way, by any means, with Robert McNamara's thesis that such pressures correlate overwhelmingly with the incidence of violence and instability in the world today.21 Nor need one accept all or even the bulk of the elements of the New International Economic Order for which the Third World has been clamoring with varying degrees of vehemence since 1974. But misery does breed violence (as does disappointing progress), and there are, I believe, not merely the humanitarian arguments usually advanced for more forthcoming U.S. policies on this front, but concrete arguments of long-term national security.
This was, I think, well understood by Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy (to name but two); if either were to survey the present mix of American actions affecting the Third World, I surmise that almost his first questions would be: "What have you done to the economic side? How did you come so drastically to reduce foreign aid, without replacing it with any adequate program for trade and technical assistance?" And the explanations offered-domestic political opposition, cases of error and disappointment, and latterly our own economic difficulties-would not have persuaded them. For both, I believe, were convinced that it mattered for the United States to be in the forefront of what is now called the North-South relationship, not only so that we could (in Dean Acheson's phrase) "look ourselves in the mirror in the morning" but so that we could be perceived as a nation that cared and identified with the valid and deepest concerns of the Third World.
And they believed, too, from my experience, that such an effort tied in integrally to our national security interest that change in the Third World take place without the excessive violence that goes with desperation and rejection. What was done on the economic front was never explicitly weighed against the defense or military assistance budgets, in terms of contribution to the nation's true national security, but if it had been they would surely have felt that it was at least as cost-effective (and usually a lot less wasteful). What Eisenhower said in his 1960 farewell speech on the dangers of the "military-industrial complex" taking possession of our politics and our minds at least suggests what his reaction might be to our present composite of actions bearing on the Third World.
So it is not visionary idealism to hope that a similar note will be struck in the 1980 campaign. Without it, and actions flowing from it, whatever political policies the United States pursues in the Third World will lack a crucial dimension. Of course such policies are important: there are Soviet and other extremist threats in the Third World, and what is done to counter them is an inescapable basic part of the overall agenda. But unless Third World countries are again persuaded that the United States is a caring nation, day in and day out and even if there is not an Arab-Israeli crisis or some other specific reason for American aid, what we do in particular situations will always tend to be regarded as naked power politics of the kind to which the world is increasingly allergic.
The tendency in any political campaign is to "view with alarm," to attack what was done or not done. But on a broader historical view we may well be blamed by future American generations even more for what was not even attempted. The power, as well as the population, of the countries styled as members of a Third World is growing steadily and inevitably. How the United States relates to them, on all fronts, would indeed be an issue worth serious airing in 1980.
1 Mr. Kissinger would doubtless dispute this statement. In a recent interview and elsewhere, he has argued that the Carter Administration has paid undue deference to the role of the radicals in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and has even attributed the intransigence of the radicals at Geneva in late 1976 to the outcome of the election and the sense that policy would change under President Carter. See The Washington Post, July 3, 1979, p. A17. But the commitment to clear-cut majority rule in that country expressed in his Lusaka speech of April 27, 1976 went a long way to change basic U.S. policies (and certainly reversed the previous policy associated with NSSM 39 of 1969). The suggestion that the radicals and their African government supporters would have been any less difficult if President Ford had won seems far-fetched; the issue would have had to be faced as one of the many unsolved problems the outgoing Administration bequeathed to its successor, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's recent agreement at the same Lusaka suggests that a Ford Administration would have had a hard time sticking to the line Mr. Kissinger appears to be suggesting.
Likewise, in the Arab-Israeli dispute, the Palestinian issue would have had to be faced in some form by an incoming Administration, and Mr. Kissinger's previous tendency to deprecate that issue would have had to be altered before there could have been any hope of negotiation with Sadat. He may and does dispute the means the Carter Administration used to dramatize its position on the centrality of the Palestinians, but again he would have had to meet the same problem in some fashion. In the event, of course, Mr. Kissinger has roundly applauded the Camp David agreements; that he would have reached such agreements sooner is not evident from the lack of progress of 1975-76, even in opening up the key issues.
3 The Dominican intervention of 1965, though a favorite liberal target within the United States, particularly in university circles, had not looked so bad over the years of Balaguer's rule, and the willingness of the Carter Administration to raise its voice to ensure honest elections in 1978-and thus Balaguer's defeat-has helped not only its own standing in Latin America but the reputation of the 1965 action.
4 Mr. Kissinger has recently suggested a variant of this-implying, inter alia, that he too does not see political mileage in backing a replay of the Dominican use of U.S. military forces. He says that he would have understood it if the CIA had been used to overthrow Somoza and install the moderates forthwith. The Washington Post, July 3, 1979, p. A17. The notion seems a neat way of avoiding the appearance of Mr. Kissinger's backing Somoza no matter what, but hardly more than that, given the evident difficulties of any such enterprise.
5 The sharing with the Congress of proposals for CIA operations is now of course required by law. But Angola in 1975 showed how this can run into immense problems and, if anything, accentuate later controversy.
6 Thus, Henry Kissinger has contended that reverses in Ethiopia, South Yemen and Afghanistan, "plus the general perception of American geopolitical decline, had the consequence of demoralizing those whose stock in trade was co-operation with the United States, undermining their resolution towards potential revolutionaries." In context he was obviously referring to the Shah. The Economist, February 10, 1979, p. 31.
7 The Soviet reaction to an attempted military coup, without the presence of U.S. forces, might well have been restrained; the Soviets played a cool hand throughout what actually happened, and would probably have calculated that even a successful military coup would be only temporary and that a failed or inconclusive one would only improve the eventual chances of a genuinely radical or even Soviet-oriented government. But if U.S. forces of any kind whatever had come in, the Soviets could, and almost certainly would, have invoked the 1921 treaty that expressly gave them the right to send in their own military forces in such a case. The least they might have done would have been to seize one or two northern provinces and hold them for bargaining or even retention.
9 The Economist, February 10, 1979, p. 32, and February 17, 1979, p. 4.
11 I leave out, deliberately, a whole host of figments of the fertile Iranian imagination as to what the United States was doing, or not doing, at the time of the revolution. Some of these are perhaps catching on among the already-converted, on either side. And there will be more such "emigré talk," from the Shah on down. But with even minimum care and sorting by the American media, I doubt if any of it will assume any serious importance.
13 Even if President Carter should be denied his party's nomination, the alternative candidates mentioned, notably Senator Edward Kennedy, would be most unlikely to repudiate what Carter has done, and certainly not from the Right.
14 In my own view, this is the truly decisive reason why it would be most unwise for the Shah to be given asylum in the United States, at least as of today. One may, as I do, have considerable sympathy for him as a person, and regard him as a tragic figure whose high aims for his country were fatally undermined by his methods. And there is the old American tradition of political refuge. But the plain fact is that if the Shah were to settle here, politically minded Iranians of all stripes would draw the totally unwarranted conclusion that the United States was in some way looking to his restoration. The Left in Iran could ask no stronger propaganda argument, and it would have a lot of takers.
15 Washington Post interview, loc. cit., footnote 1.
19 This interpretation is spelled out persuasively in a paper by William Foltz delivered at the Bilderberg Conference in Baden in the spring of 1979, and about to be published by Politique Étrangère, Autumn 1979, under the title, "Les Tendances de la Politique Africaine des Etats Unis, et les Conflits au Sud de l'Afrique."
20 Although the Latin American nation involved is not directly identified in William Safire's column making this point, the context makes Mexico a sure assumption. The New York Times, July 5, 1979, p. A17.
21 See his speech at the University of Chicago on May 22, 1979, "Development and the Arms Race," available in pamphlet form from the World Bank.