The Elusive Political Solution

  • John David Orme


If reformist intervention is not attempted or is not successful, the time may come when the opposition can no longer be appeased or weakened by changes in policy but can only be satisfied by a fundamental alteration of the regime itself. The past performance of the United States government in these situations has been bitterly attacked both by critics on the left and critics on the right. The experience of the recent past, however, has provided little support for either view.


York Time Armed Force Political Instability Reagan Administration American Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Warren Cohen, America’s Response to China (New York: Wiley, 1980), pp. 175–7;Google Scholar
  2. Paul Varg, The Closing of the Door (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1973), pp. 156, 168;Google Scholar
  3. Richard Thornton, China: The Struggle for Power (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973), pp. 156–7, provides an alternative account.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Tang Tsou, America’s Failure in China (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963), pp. 317–23; Cohen, America’s Response to China, p. 185.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Earl E. T. Smith, The Fourth Floor (New York: Random House, 1962), pp. 20–1;Google Scholar
  6. Hugh Thomas, Cuba: Or the Pursuit of Freedom (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1971), p. 946;Google Scholar
  7. Philip Bonsal, Cuba, Castro, and the United States (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1971), pp. 17–21;Google Scholar
  8. Ramon Bonachea and Ramon San Martin, The Cuban Insurrection (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1974), pp. 174–5.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Earl Smith, Fourth Floor, pp. 69–75; Wayne Smith, The Closest of Enemies (New York: Norton and Co., 1987), pp. 21–3; ‘Memo of Conversation’, 8 March 1958; Deptel 479, 5 March 1958, quotes Rubottom’s expression of this before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    ‘Memorandum for Mr Snow’, written by William Wieland, 7 March 1958.Google Scholar
  11. 24.
    US Congress, Senate, Subcommittee on Internal Security of the Senate Judiciary Committee, State Department Security: The William Wieland Case, 86th Congress, 1st Session, 1961, pp. 542–4; also ‘Conversation with Nunez Portuondo’, 1 April 1958. In ‘Memorandum of Conversation’, 8 March 1958, Smith asked for permission to make ‘some noncommittal statement’ in support of the National Harmony Commission (NHC) initiative ‘along the lines that we have not intervened in the affairs of Cuba and that we do not intend to intervene’ but that ‘the people of the US earnestly desire and hope for a peaceful solution to this problem’. Rubottom agreed, but added that it ought to be made only after something had already taken place. On 1 April, two middle-level State Department officials met with Nunez Portuondo. The former Prime Minister asked them if the US could announce that it would refuse to recognise any Cuban government that did not come to power through proper elections. Nunez was told ‘while it was an ingenious suggestion, it ran counter to basic elements of US foreign policy toward Latin America in general and Cuba in particular’. ‘We reminded him’, they recall, ‘of our commitment, especially since 1934, not to intervene.’ (Memo of Conversation, 1 April 1958) Finally, the Draft White Paper concludes with the observation that the ‘policy which the US has followed in Cuban internal affairs has been widely recognised and approved of throughout the Western Hemisphere and within Cuba itself. In spite of many problems, provocations and pressures the US did not intervene, and an internal Cuban conflict has been resolved by the Cubans themselves. It has also enhanced its stature within the inter-American community’ (p. 115).Google Scholar
  12. 25.
    Bonachea and San Martin, Cuban Insurrection, pp. 232–3, 262; Theodore Draper, Castro’s Revolution: Myths and Realities (New York: Praeger, 1962), p. 14; Thomas, Cuba, pp. 990–1, 996–8; Draft White Paper on Cuba, pp. 55–6; ‘Cuban Army Push Reported Halted’, New York Times, 10 July 1958; ‘New Offensive Expected’, New York Times, 20 July 1958; ‘Army Repulsed, Castro Reports’, New York Times, 20 August 1958.Google Scholar
  13. 26.
    Embtel 182, ‘Policy Paper on Cuba’ by Ambassador Smith, 8 August 1958.Google Scholar
  14. 28.
    John Dorschner and Roberto Fabricio, The Winds of December (New York: Coward, McCann, and Geoghan, 1980), pp. 158–9;Google Scholar
  15. Mario Lazo, Dagger in the Heart (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1968), pp. 160–2.Google Scholar
  16. 34.
    Dorschner and Fabricio, Winds of December, p. 534; Bonachea and San Martin, Cuban Insurrection p. 322; Rufo Lopez-Fresquet, My Fourteen Months with Castro (Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1966), pp. 34–5.Google Scholar
  17. 35.
    Bernard Diederich, Somoza (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1981), pp. 144, 197;Google Scholar
  18. Richard Fagen, ‘The End of the Affair’, Foreign Policy, 36 (Fall 1979), p. 183;Google Scholar
  19. Paul Sigmund and Mary Speck, ‘Virtue’s Reward’, in US Congress, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs), Latin America, 95th Congress, 2nd Session, 4 October 1978, pp. 211, 213.Google Scholar
  20. 36.
    Fagen, ‘End of the Affair’, pp. 183–4; Diederich, Somoza, pp. 154–5; Shirley Christian, Nicaragua: Revolution in the Family (New York: Random House, 1985), pp. 47–9.Google Scholar
  21. 37.
    John Booth, The End and the Beginning (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1982), p. 158; Diederich, Somoza, pp. 159, 165, 170–1, 184, 188; Sigmund and Speck, ‘Virtue’s Reward’, p. 211. See also President Carter’s response to President Perez of Venezuela quoted below in section II.Google Scholar
  22. 38.
    William LeoGrande, ‘The Revolution in Nicaragua: Another Cuba?’, Foreign Affairs, 58 (Fall 1979), p. 33–4; Booth, End and Beginning, pp. 160–1; Diederich, Somoza, pp. 168, 172; Christian, Nicaragua, pp. 56–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 39.
    Diederich, Somoza, pp. 198–202; Christian, Nicaragua, pp. 61–6; Robert Pastor, Condemned to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), p. 93; This Week (1978), pp. 195, 200.Google Scholar
  24. 45.
    Anastasio Somoza Debayle, as told to Jack Cox, Nicaragua Betrayed (Belmont, Massachusetts: Western Islands Publishers, 1980), pp. 143–8, 219–20, 318; Diederich, Somoza, p. 208.Google Scholar
  25. 47.
    Barry Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), pp. 213, 216.Google Scholar
  26. 48.
    ‘Reading Iran’s Next Chapter’, New York Times, 13 December 1978, p. 1; Gary Sick, All Fall Down: American’s Tragic Encounter with Iran (New York: Penguin, 1986), pp. 109, 117, 129–30.Google Scholar
  27. 50.
    Sick, All Fall Down, pp. 3–4, 74–80, 87–8; Zbigniew Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of a National Security Advisor 1977–81 (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1983), p. 364.Google Scholar
  28. 53.
    William Sullivan, Mission to Iran (New York: Norton, 1981), pp. 201–3, 224–5; Brzezinski, Power and Principle, pp. 380–10.Google Scholar
  29. 55.
    Michael Ledeen and William Lewis, Debacle: The American Failure in Iran (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1981), pp. 178–80; Sullivan, Mission to Iran, pp. 235–6; Brzezinski, Power and Principle, pp. 383, 386–9, 396; Sullivan correctly anticipated Bakhtiar’s fate, but would his own plan have worked any better? It seems unlikely that the Iranian armed forces would have been any more willing to defend Bazargan than Bakhtiar, and Bazargan later showed little of the fortitude one would have needed to stand up to the Ayatolloh.Google Scholar
  30. 62.
    Raymond Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator (New York: Times Books, 1987), pp. 61–2;Google Scholar
  31. Lewis Simons, Worth Dying For (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1987), pp. 114–15.Google Scholar
  32. 75.
    Bryan Johnson, The Four Days of Courage (New York: Free Press, 1987), pp. 97–100, 241–2; ‘Marcos Loses Support’, New York Times, 23 February 1986; ‘Going into the Streets’, Time, 127 (24 February 1986), pp. 30–2; Bonner, Waltzing with a Dictator, p. 436.Google Scholar
  33. 79.
    Paul Laxalt, ‘My Conversations with Ferdinand Marcos: A Lesson in Practical Diplomacy’, Policy Review, 37 (Summer 1986), p. 5; Simons, Worth Dying For, pp. 298–9.Google Scholar
  34. 82.
    John R. Beal, Marshall in China (Garden City, New Jersey: Doubleday, 1970), pp. 25–6, 253–5, 264;Google Scholar
  35. Carsun Chang, The Third Force in China (New York: Bookman Associates, 1952), pp. 113–15, 184–7, 195, 224, 229, 235; United States Relations with China (Washington D.C.: Department of State, 1949), pp. 213–16, 234, 688;Google Scholar
  36. James Sheridan, China in Disintegration: The Republican Era in Chinese History, 1917–49 (New York: Free Press, 1975), pp. 279–83.Google Scholar
  37. 88.
    Edmund Clubb, 20th Century China (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972), pp. 254–5; US Relations with China, p. 311, 313.Google Scholar
  38. 99.
    ‘A Troubled Iran Gauges Level of Shah’s Control’, Washington Post, 15 September 1978; Sick, All Fall Down, p. 103; Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions, p. 219; Fereydoun Hoveyda, The Fall of the Shah (New York: Wyndam Books, 1980), pp. 165–6.Google Scholar
  39. 100.
    Sharif Arani, ‘Iran: from the Shah’s Dictatorship to Khomeini’s Demagogic Theocracy’, Dissent, 27 (Winter 1980), p. 18; Sick, All Fall Down, pp. 98, 164.Google Scholar
  40. 103.
    Keith Richburg, ‘Our Haitian Meddling Worked’, Washington Post, 23 February 1986; also ‘Schultz’s Words Heeded’, Washington Post, 10 February 1986; ‘Duvalier Flies into Exile’, Washington Post, 8 February 1986. Against this, one could cite evidence that the army was refusing to continue to do the dirty work by early February and that the regime was left holding only the capital with the pre-Lenten carnival approaching, which would put large numbers of people in the streets. (James Ferguson, Papa Doc, Baby Doc: Haiti and the Duvaliers [Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987], pp. 112–17.) But although the army was not following orders, it was also not preventing the Tontons Macoutes, who were twice as numerous, from attacking the crowds, and the state of seige declared on 1 February did appear to be working. (Ferguson, Papa Doc, Baby Doc, p. 114.)Google Scholar
  41. 105.
    Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Answer to History (New York: Stein & Day, 1981), p. 167.Google Scholar
  42. 114.
    Arthur Schlesinger, The Bitter Heritage (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1967), pp. 112–13.Google Scholar
  43. 115.
    Mark Falcoff, Small Nations, Large Issues (Washington D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1984), p. 62; LeoGrande, ‘The Revolution in Nicaragua’, pp. 34–5.Google Scholar
  44. 120.
    Charles Stevenson, The End of Nowhere, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972), pp. 40–5, 116–17;Google Scholar
  45. Martin Goldstein, American Policy toward Laos (Rutherford, New Jersey: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1973), pp. 142–3, 150–3, 158, 175–7, 209–11, 255–6;Google Scholar
  46. Arthur Dommen, Conflictin Laos (London: Pall Mall, 1964), pp. 127, 159–66, 170–81, 187, 206–8;Google Scholar
  47. Roger Hilsman, To Move a Nation (New York: Doubleday, 1964), p. 127.Google Scholar
  48. 121.
    Goldstein, American Policy toward Laos, pp. 255–6; David Hall, ‘The Laotian War of 1962 and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971’, in Barry Blechman and Stephen Kaplan (eds), Force without War (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1978), pp. 145–6, 173; Stevenson, End of Nowhere, p. 150.Google Scholar
  49. 125.
    Sir Robert Thompson, Peace Is Not at Hand (New York: David McKay, 1974), pp. 125–6;Google Scholar
  50. George Herring, America’s Longest War (New York: Wiley, 1979), p. 245;Google Scholar
  51. Allen Goodman, The Lost Peace (Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 1978), p. 173.Google Scholar
  52. 130.
    Xan Smiley, ‘Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, and the Rise of Robert Mugabe’, Foreign Affairs, 58 (Summer 1980), pp. 1065–7. Lord Carrington stressed the importance of this in a conversation with the author at the Southern Center for International Studies, Atlanta Georgia, 3 April 1987. He also mentioned the pressure put upon Mugabe by the front line states, to be discussed shortly.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 131.
    Richard Hill, ‘Rhodesia and Her Neighbors’, Current History, 73 (December 1977), pp. 133–4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John David Orme 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John David Orme
    • 1
  1. 1.Oglethorpe UniversityAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations