In This Review

Crossroads: Congress, The Reagan Administration, And Central America
Crossroads: Congress, The Reagan Administration, And Central America
By Cynthia J. Arnson
Pantheon, 1989, 275 pp.

A comprehensive, informative and clearly written account of the Washington politics of policymaking toward Central America in the 1980s, with a particular focus on the seemingly endless struggle between President Reagan and Congress. Herself a participant in the debate as a foreign policy aide to Congressman George Miller (D-CA), the author details how the stakes rose until the repeated votes over military aid and other aid to the Nicaraguan contras became the touchstone both of foreign policy prerogatives and of competing worldviews. "In both its ideological orientation to Nicaraguan policy and its practical attitude toward congressional involvement in policy formation, the Reagan administration operated without regard for a domestic consensus over the ends and means of policy and without exercising the restraint that should have been warranted by the absence of consensus." An illuminating study.