Other Regional Issues
US—European differences over Central America during the early and mid-1980s resembled the earlier Vietnam experience in several respects. In both cases, the United States had far stronger strategic interests (or at least commitments) at stake as compared to Europe which, coupled with European security dependence on the US through nato, set practical bounds to European dissent and independence from American policies. Both cases involved the direct or indirect use of American military power to effect or prevent change in Third World situations, thus invoking the issue of US political judgement and morality in the use of force against less-developed societies. Relatedly, with respect to both Vietnam and Central America, there was a European tendency to identify American policies with opposition to the expression of indigenous nationalism (Vietnam) or with efforts to prop up or advance the cause of governments or groups which were not genuinely committed to fundamental political, economic and social change (for example, South Vietnam and El Salvador).
KeywordsMiddle East Reagan Administration European Government Arab State Palestine Liberation Organisation
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