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Nicaragua is not Grenada

On this page two days ago I was arguing the case for US military intervention in Grenada. It seems to me that if Cubans were as extensively deployed in Grenada as current evidence indicates, then it would follow that the United States successfully prevented a regime being imposed on the Grenadians which was definitely not of their choosing.

But the logic that would justify US interference in Grenada does not apply to Nicaragua.

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The United States is in fact engaged right now in an undeclared war on the present government of Nicaragua. It is training antigovernment Nicaraguan irregulars in neighboring Honduras, providing them with weapons and expert military advice, and sending them across the border into Nicaragua, where they have done extensive damage to the economy and to the people of the country.

This is an act of war without a declaration of war by the US Congress, which alone under the Constitution has the right to declare war. This war is being waged through the agency of the US Central Intelligence Agency - the CIA. It is supposed to be clandestine and covert, but it is the least covert ''covert'' operation on record. Its every deed is reported and noted the world around.

This war is not being waged to prevent the imposition of a foreign regime on the people of Nicaragua. It is being waged to try to bring down a government which, in its 1979 beginning, was the result of a bona fide revolution and which probably still represents the preference of a substantial majority of the people of Nicaragua.

The regime in Nicaragua has failed to provide the free elections it originally promised. The hard-line Marxist element in it has steadily increased its influence in the ruling junta until it is now dominant. But this regime was not imposed upon the people of Nicaragua from outside. It may have been captured by the hard-line Marxists from inside, but it was done from inside. The outside help it has had from Cuba and the Soviet Union was requested from inside Nicaragua by Nicaraguans, not imposed upon them from outside.

The armed forces being used by the CIA against the Nicaragua government are made up of emigre Nicaraguans. The strongest element among them are the former members of the former national police force, the National Guard. If the counterrevolution being supported by the US through the CIA were to be successful in their undeclared war, the result would be the reimposition on the people of Nicaragua of the very poeple they threw out in the revolution of 1979.

In Grenada, US intervention prevented the imposition of an outside force on the people. Never have those people given the slightest indication that they wanted such a new regime imposed upon them.

In Nicaragua, US ''covert'' intervention would, if successful, impose a regime of US choice, made up of the old regime of repudiated Nicaraguans, upon a people who show not the slightest general desire to have their clock turned back for them from outside.

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It is one thing for the US to protect a people from having a foreign regime imposed upon them. It is quite a different thing for the US to attempt to impose upon Nicaragua a regime of Washington's choice.

The US has not imposed a regime of US choice on the people of Grenada. There is no refugee or emigre group on the outside to use. Provided that the US withdraws its troops as soon as a provisional regime can be set up and can take over the maintenance of law and order, the US will not have imposed its politics in the internal affairs of Grenada. It will have allowed the Grenadians to manage their own affairs.

But if the war being waged ''covertly'' on the government of Nicaragua should be successful, the US would have intervened in the internal affairs of Nicaragua.

There is a question about how Marxist the regime in Nicaragua actually is. There is certainly a strong Marxist element. But to make war on it because it is Marxist would be to adopt a US equivalent of the Brezhnev doctrine.

Does the US intend to impose anticommunism on its Latin neighbors just as Moscow imposes pro-communism in its neighborhood?

To impose ideological conformity in the US neighborhood would be intrusion in the domestic political affairs of the neighbors. It would violate just about every set of international rules and regulations that exists. It would also widen the gap between Washington and the European allies.

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