Cato Policy Analysis No. 74 June 24, 1986

Policy Analysis

U.S. Aid to Anti-Communist Rebels:
The "Reagan Doctrine" and Its Pitfalls

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter is a foreign policy analyst with the CatoInstitute.

Executive Summary

A critical change in U.S. foreign policy toward world communism has begun during the past year. In marked contrast to the established cold war doctrine of "containing" Soviet expansionism, the new strategy envisions American moral and material support for insurgent movements attempting to oust Soviet-backed regimes in various Third World nations. Initial hints of this "Reagan Doctrine" surfaced in the president's February 1985 State of the Union Address when he affirmed, "We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives--on every continent from Afghanistan to Nicaragua--to defy Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense."[1] Administration rhetoric on this theme increased dramatically thereafter. In a speech on February 16, 1985, President Reagan reiterated his assumption that a kinship exists between this country and anti-communist liberation movements:

Time and again we've aided those around the world struggling for freedom, democracy, independence and liberation from tyranny. . . . In the 19th century we supported Simon Bolivar, the great liberator. We supported the Polish patriots, the French resistance and others seeking freedom. It's not in the American tradition to turn away.[2]

The implication was obvious: the United States has an obligation to aid the latest generation of "freedom fighters." Secretary of State George Shultz expanded on this embryonic policy assumption in a February 22, 1985, speech before San Francisco's Commonwealth Club. There and in a subsequent Foreign Affairs article, Shultz asserted that a wave of democratic revolution was sweeping the world. He contended that for years the USSR and its proxies have acted without restraint to back insurgencies designed to spread communist dictatorships. Wars of national liberation "became the pretext for subverting any non-communist country in the name of so-called 'socialist interationalism."' At the same time, the infamous "Brezhnev Doctrine" proclaimed that any victory of communism was irreversible. According to Shultz, the Soviets were saying to the world: "What's mine is mine. What's yours is up for grabs."[3]

Although for a time Moscow's strategy seemed to be working, Shultz stated, such Soviet "pretensions" have provoked a wave of democratic rebellions in the 1980s. In Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Mozambique, Angola, and elsewhere, forces have arisen to challenge Marxist hegemony. This change was of momentous importance, according to Shultz:

Where once the Soviets may have thought all discontent was ripe for turning into communist insurgencies, today we see a new and different kind of struggle: people around the world risking their lives against communist despotism. We see brave men and women fighting to challenge the Brezhnev doctrine.[4]

America has a long tradition of supporting the struggle of other peoples for freedom, democracy, and independence, the secretary of state emphasized. To turn our back on that tradition would mean conceding that communist revolutions were irreversible, something the Reagan administration would never countenance. "So long as communist dictatorships feel free to aid and abet insurgencies in the name of 'socialist internationalism,'" Shultz asked, "why must the democracies, the target of this threat, be inhibited from defending their own interests and the cause of democracy itself?"[5]

Initially, the Reagan administration's rhetoric was considerably more universal than its actual policies. Indeed, even Shultz conceded that the "nature and extent" of U.S. support "necessarily varies from case to case."[6] In practice, this proviso meant that Washington was willing to provide material assistance to Afghan resistance fighters facing Soviet occupation forces and to Nicaraguan contras seeking to oust the Sandinista government. The Reagan administration seemed considerably less responsive to the aid requests of insurgent movements in Cambodia, Angola, and Mozambique. Particularly in the latter two cases, embracing the rebel cause conflicted with other foreign policy objectives, most notably the promotion of regional political stability.

If the administration assumed that it could confine support for anti-Marxist insurgencies to the realm of rhetoric, translating words into concrete action only in selected cases such as Nicaragua, it miscalculated. The Reagan Doctrine fired the enthusiasm of the conservative movement in the United States as no foreign policy issue has done in decades. At last, said conservatives, there was a strategy that transcended the sterile, defensive containment doctrine and offered the possibility of helping to liberate nations already suffering under communist domination. r 71

Existing conservative organizations and a proliferation of new ones have rushed to promote the cause of Third World "freedom fighters." Some have raised funds or provided direct material assistance (medical supplies, clothing, and sometimes military hardware) to specific rebel movements.[8] In the summer of 1985, Lewis Lehrman, chairman of Citizens for America, even organized a conclave of four insurgent leaders in Jamba, capital of rebel-held Angola, to form the Democratic International.[9]

Conservatives who embrace the Reagan Doctrine express outrage that the administration's actions have not always matched its rhetoric. Ironically, Shultz, who initially articulated aspects of the doctrine, has become the principal target of rightist wrath for not implementing its objectives with sufficient zeal.[10] Throughout 1985 and early 1986, conservative pressure mounted on the administration to translate its rhetorical support for anti-communist rebellions into sustained and consistent action. There are unmistakable signs, most notably with respect to Angola, that this criticism is having an effect.

Since the Reagan Doctrine promises to become a program with far-reaching foreign policy implications, it is vital to examine its assumptions and probable consequences. Before the U.S. government decides to encourage and endorse anti-communist insurgent movements--much less provide material assistance to them--some serious questions must be addressed. First, is there an underlying theme to the struggles, or are the dynamics of each "revolutionary situation" radically different? Second, would U.S. support essentially counteract existing intervention by the Soviet bloc, or would it constitute egregious interference in the internal affairs of other nations? Third, is the administration correct in its perception that the various insurgencies are animated by democratic, pro-Western, and anti-Soviet values? Fourth, can the United States assist these rebellions without risking either a direct clash with the USSR or a gradual escalation of commitments that may culminate in a disastrous military entanglement? Finally--and most important--is supporting anti-communist insurgencies in the Third World essential to American security?

There are no easy answers to any of these questions. The strength of the case for U.S. support of rebel movements varies markedly from country to country, but the preponderance of the evidence suggests three important, general conclusions. First, in only some instances do the circumstances warrant an official U.S. endorsement of the insurgency and (perhaps) diplomatic recognition. Second, in no case is the situation sufficiently compelling to justify aid programs--especially military assistance-- on the part of the American government. Third, private individuals and organizations wishing to support foreign movements compatible with their own ideologies should be able to do so without governmental restrictions or harassment. Indeed, privatizing the Reagan Doctrine is the most attractive and feasible alternative to existing policy.

Five Revolutionary Environments

One of the more dubious assumptions held by some Reagan Doctrine proponents is that the new Third World insurgencies are manifestations of a general anti-Soviet uprising. This theory holds that the rebel movements are essentially similar in their objectives and that the nations involved are just "battlefields" or "fronts" in the war against Soviet hegemony.[11] The reality is considerably more complex. An examination of the conflicts in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, and Nicaragua reveals a varied array of circumstances that precipitated the fighting or continue to sustain it.[12] There is also a considerable difference in the nature and magnitude of direct Soviet-bloc interference. All-encompassing generalizations, therefore, have little meaning in this context.


The struggle in Afghanistan is the clearest case of blatant external aggression. Not only was the Soviet Union implicated in the 1978 coup that initially brought a communist government to power, but Soviet intervention has been massive since the USSR poured troops across the border in December 1979 to preserve the Afghan Communist party's tenuous control. Today, at least 110,000 and perhaps as many as 150,000 Soviet soldiers occupy Afghanistan. This domination extends beyond the military sphere. Soviet administrators were in charge of every department of Babrak Karmal's puppet regime, and they continue to direct the government of Karmal's replacement, former secret-police chief Najibullah. Moscow has also embarked on a concerted campaign to indoctrinate Afghans in the virtues of Marxism-Leninism, even going so far as to remove thousands of children from their parents to be "educated" in the USSR.[13]

Arrayed against this massive Soviet presence are the mujaheddin, who comprise a loose confederation of seven rebel organizations. Despite rampant factionalism, especially between Islamic fundamentalist and more moderate groups, and a shortage of military hardware, the mujaheddin have mounted a ferocious resistance. Although the Soviet invaders control Afghanistan's cities and-- at least in daylight--the principal roads linking them, a majority of the countryside remains in rebel hands. The fighting has been devastating, with an estimated 50,000-100,000 mujaheddin fighters and almost 1 million Afghan civilians having perished under relentless Soviet aerial bombardment. Another 2-3 million, victims of a deliberate Soviet scorched-earth policy, are now homeless refugees.[14]

The military and political situation in Afghanistan is essentially at a stalemate. Despite covert U.S. military assistance estimated at $250 million per year channeled through neighboring Pakistan, the mujaheddin lack the power to expel the Soviet invaders.[15] At the same time, the Soviets seem no closer to subduing the country now than when they first embarked on their intervention more than six years ago. It is a foregone conclusion that the puppet government in Kabul would collapse in a matter of days if its overlords withdrew. Afghanistan is both a blatant example of Soviet aggression and an instructive lesson on the limits to what can be accomplished through military intervention.


Like the Afghan government, the current government of Cambodia is a puppet regime, installed by a Soviet-bloc invader. The Cambodian situation is more ambiguous, however. The Vietnamese army that entered Cambodia in the final weeks of 1978 expelled an indigenous government, but the ousted Pol Pot regime had amassed a record of brutality comparable only with that of the Third Reich or Stalinist Russia. In less than four years, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge had systematically exterminated one- fifth to one-third of Cambodia's population. Not surprisingly, the survivors initially welcomed the Vietnamese as liberators, in spite of longstanding racial and cultural hostility.[16]

It soon became evident, though, that Hanoi did not launch the invasion out of any noble desire to terminate the Cambodian genocide. Rather, the invasion was merely another step in Vietnam's relentless drive to control all of Indochina. Unlike Laos, which had tacitly accepted Vietnamese domination since the fall of its noncommunist government in 1975, the Khmer Rouge repeatedly refused to accept Hanoi's dictation. The Vietnamese leadership therefore decided that Pol Pot's regime had to be replaced by a more "cooperative" (i.e., compliant) government. Today, 160,000 occupation troops remain to enforce Hanoi's writ. The Phnom Penh "government" is entirely subservient, and, as in Afghanistan, the invader dominates virtually all key decision-making posts. Moreover, some 600,000-700,000 Vietnamese "settlers" have taken much of the best land.[17] The USSR has supported Hanoi's occupation through extensive military and economic subsidies.

Two important differences exist between the revolutionary environments in Afghanistan and Cambodia. Unlike the mujaheddin, the three Cambodian rebel organizations have thus far been able to mount only a feeble resistance, largely along the Thai border. Furthermore, one of those insurgent groups--and by far the most significant militarily--is the Khmer Rouge, which continues to receive financial and military aid from China.

Western attempts to influence the course of events in Cambodia have been relatively modest. A diplomatic front led by China, the United States, and the five-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has succeeded in blocking UN recognition of the Phnom Penh quisling regime. The UN and many individual nations regard a coalition composed of representatives from the three rebel organizations as the legitimate government of Cambodia. China has provided some military aid-- primarily to the Khmer Rouge--and ASEAN directs efforts to provide a modest amount of economic and humanitarian assistance. Such involvement in Cambodian affairs, however, pales in comparison to the massive Vietnamese intervention.

Until mid-1985, the United States remained aloof from the struggle, although Washington has consistently supported ASEAN's diplomatic initiatives and humanitarian-aid programs. During the past year, however, a more activist policy consistent with the Reagan Doctrine seemed to be emerging. CIA director William Casey toured the region in the summer of 1985, apparently to assess the military capability of the rebel coalition. The administration also responded cautiously but favorably to a congressional effort led by New York Democratic congressman Stephen Solarz to provide $5 million in military aid to the Cambodian insurgency. The measure passed both houses of Congress in December 1985.[18] Such events, combined with an increasingly mili- tant ASEAN stance and continuing Vietnamese intransigence, suggest that the level of external involvement in Cambodia is likely to escalate rather than diminish.


The current conflict in Angola began as a three-cornered struggle for power during the waning days of Portuguese colonialism in the early and mid-1970s. When a new revolutionary government in Lisbon sought to jettison Angola and other remnants of Portugal's once extensive empire, three competing left-of-center Angolan factions maneuvered for political and military dominance. The U.S. government, with customary acumen, backed the weakest organization--the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA)--led by Holden Roberto, who was a relative by marriage to Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, a longtime American client. The FNLA was a significant force only in the provinces along Angola's northern border with Zaire. A second group, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), was the dominant power throughout the western portion of the country, including the crucial capital city Luanda. Moscow threw its support to this faction. The third element in the struggle was the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), most active in the southern and eastern provinces, and backed initially by both Communist China and South Africa.

Massive external interference was the hallmark of the final stages of Angola's drive for independence in 1975. The CIA funneled money and arms to the FNLA and, to a lesser extent, to UNITA until Congress, fearful of another Vietnam-style quagmire, passed the Clark Amendment terminating all aid. South Africa not only backed UNITA with funds and equipment but sent its own armored units into the fray. The Soviet Union and its principal client state Cuba more than matched this assistance. Moscow equipped MPLA forces with sophisticated weapons and brought in more than 20,000 Cuban troops, backed by tanks and rockets. The combined MPLA-Cuban force smashed the FNLA while driving back UNITA and its South African allies, and the MPLA was able to proclaim itself the legitimate government of Angola.[19]

In the subsequent decade, the level of external interference in Angola's affairs has scarcely diminished. The USSR continues to pour economic and military aid into the country, a subsidy that now approaches $2 billion annually. Equally important, a Cuban combat force of some 30,000 soldiers is crucial to keeping the Luanda regime in power. Thus, while not as blatant as in Afghanistan and Cambodia and not on the same scale, the level of communist-bloc intervention in Angola remains high.

It is pertinent to note that the Soviet bloc is not the only source of interference in Angola. Since the passage of the Clark Amendment, the United States has not--at least until very recently--been an active participant in the struggle. Both the Carter and Reagan administrations pursued a policy of accommodation toward the MPLA government, including encouraging private U.S. investment in Angola, while pressing for the removal of Cuban forces. Repeal of the Clark Amendment in mid1985 and President Reagan's increasingly vocal support for UNITA suggest a major shift in policy, but heretofore the United States has adopted a strategy of minimal involvement.

South Africa has not exercised the same restraint. Pretoria continued to fund and equip Jonas Savimbi's UNITA forces, now numbering 50,000-60,000, following the initial 1975 setback. On more than a few occasions, South Africa has also used its own troops in combat operations inside Angola. An MPLA offensive against UNITA in the autumn of 1985 failed when South Alrican planes provided Savimbi's beleaguered troops with air support. Pretoria's military activities in southern Angola are so extensive that several provinces have virtually become occupied territory.[20] Such action counterbalances most of the Cuban intervention and has contributed in no small measure to UNITA's ability to establish control over nearly one-third of Angola's territory. The civil war in that country drags on with both domestic factions receiving extensive support from their foreign patrons.


The same collapse of Portuguese colonialism in the mid-1970s that sparked the Angolan civil war also brought a rabidly leftist government to power in Mozambique. The dominant political organization, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), had begun in the early 1960s as a broad-based nationalist organization seeking independence from Portugal. Marxist-Leninist elements purged their noncommunist rivals, however, and when independence came in 1975, FRELIMO established a socialist dictatorship.

The Soviet Union promptly exploited this development by providing extensive economic and military aid to the new regime. Bulgaria, East Germany, and Cuba sent in military advisers to train FRELIMO security forces. As in Angola, the noncommunist elements were outmaneuvered but not destroyed. Regrouping under the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) banner, they launched a guerrilla struggle against the government. Rhodesia and later South Africa provided funds, equipment, and logistical support to RENAMO, much as Pretoria was doing with UNITA. Then, in March 1984, Mozambique and South Africa concluded the Nkomati accord, whereby each government pledged to stop supporting each other's internal opposition. If Pretoria had honored that agreement, RENAMO might have been finished, but aid in fact continues to flow quite freely.[21] As a result, the rebels have been able to exploit the Maputo regime's manifest military and eco- nomic incompetence to attain substantial strength, making siz- able portions of Mozambique largely ungovernable.

The political and military situation in Mozambique is especially complex. Although FRELIMO continues to receive Soviet-bloc aid, the bulk of its direct military assistance comes from such nonaligned (albeit left-leaning) African states as Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. Those three nations now station several thousand troops in Mozambique who openly engage rebel forces. Meanwhile, the United States seeks to exploit the Maputo government's mounting disenchantment with Moscow's wretched economic advice and imperialist pretensions by offering its own package of economic and military assistance. There is ample evidence of external interference in Mozambique's affairs, but it is hardly limited to the communist bloc.


While there is little argument among Americans that Soviet-bloc intervention has been substantial in the four nations examined thus far, no such consensus exists for Nicaragua. Many advocates of aid to the contra rebels insist that the Sandinista regime is little more than a puppet kept in power by Soviet money and several thousand Cuban military "advisers." Some even contend that the Sandinistas could not have ousted the Somoza government in 1979 without Cuba's assistance--combined with the foolish U.S. decision to abandon a longtime ally.[22]

It is difficult to sustain the latter contention. Havana unquestionably assisted the Sandinista insurgency with both money and arms, but the revolution was an indigenous Nicaraguan affair. The repressive and corrupt 40-year dictatorship of the Somoza family inexorably alienated democratic elements and eventually impelled them to make common cause with the Marxist-dominated Sandinista front. This powerful, although inherently unstable, alliance overthrew Anastasio Somoza in 1979 to the acclaim of the overwhelming majority of Nicaraguans.

The degree of Soviet-bloc interference since the Sandinista victory is more debatable. Since 1980, Moscow has provided the revolutionary regime with at least $500 million in military aid plus several hundred million dollars in economic assistance. This largesse has constituted more than a minor factor in the buildup of Nicaragua's army to more than 100,000 troops--by far the largest military establishment in Central America--and the equipping of that force with an array of tanks, combat helicopters, and other sophisticated weapons. More disquieting is the presence of some 2,000-3,500 Cuban military advisers. There is increasing evidence that these so-called advisers in fact direct Nicaraguan combat units and even fly the lethal Hind (M-24) helicopters in missions against the contras.[23]

Nonetheless, the degree of Soviet-bloc interference in Nicaragua is significantly lower than in Angola and Mozambique and nowhere near the suffocating level in Cambodia and Afghanistan. Cuba and the USSR may have played--and continue to play-- a role in the Nicaraguan revolution, but their involvement scarcely constituted the determining factor. Moreover, the Reagan administration has also adopted a meddlesome policy. By the time Congress terminated military aid in early 1985, the administration had provided nearly $100 million in assistance to insurgent forces over a four-year period. There is considerable evidence that the CIA helped organize and finance the initial contra organization, composed of ex-Somoza National Guard officers. CIA operatives have been involved in plotting rebel strategy and on several occasions, especially the notorious harbor-mining incident in 1984, participated directly in combat operations.[24]

Such episodes are consistent with an ongoing U.S. policy to destabilize the Sandinista government. The Reagan administration has imposed an economic embargo against Nicaragua and continues to orchestrate a military buildup in neighboring Honduras. American forces repeatedly conduct maneuvers in that country as well as in Gulf waters off Nicaragua's coast, conveying a none-too-subtle message of intimidation. U.S. leaders also have pressured the Honduran government to allow contra units to use border provinces as staging areas for operations inside Nicaragua, despite evidence of mounting Honduran uneasiness about doing so.[25]

As in Angola and Mozambique, there is serious external intervention in Nicaragua, but once again it is not exclusively, or even primarily, confined to Soviet-bloc machinations. Yet even with ongoing U.S. encouragement and assistance, the two principal contra forces, the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) and the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE), have been unable to offer a serious challenge to the Sandinista regime. With the possible exception of Cambodia, Nicaragua seems the least propitious arena for a military victory by anti-Marxist rebels.

The Diversity of Revolutionary Environments

There is a tenuous theme linking these various insurgencies, in that they are all directed against radical leftist dictatorships backed by the Soviet Union. But here the similarity ends. The Afghan and Cambodian rebels confront blatant quisling regimes installed and sustained entirely by a Soviet-bloc invader. In Afghanistan, the insurgents have mounted a ferocious resistance and are receiving modest but significant amounts of Western, including U.S., military aid. The Cambodian rebels have obtained substantial diplomatic support from China, the United States, and ASEAN, but military assistance has been meager and the insurgency poses little more than an annoyance to Vietnamese occupation forces.

Both the Angolan and Mozambican struggles are ongoing civil wars that began during the initial post-colonial period in the mid-1970s. The Soviet Union and Cuba have provided extensive economic and military assistance to Marxist factions, including a direct Cuban combat role in Angola. At the same time, South Africa has assisted noncommunist rebel forces in the two countries and on occasion has become a direct participant in military operations. Complicating matters even further in Mozambique, nonaligned African regimes aid the existing government by providing 'expeditionary" forces to fight the rebels. Insurgents in both nations control significant amounts of territory and pose serious, although not yet lethal, challenges to the current regimes.

The conflict in Nicaragua remains essentially a post-revolutionary power struggle. While Soviet-Cuban military and economic assistance to the Sandinista government and American support for the contras muddy the political waters, the fighting is still primarily an internal affair. Despite Managua's increasingly repressive policies, the rebels have thus far failed to galvanize the population or exhibit significant combat prowess.

Given the diversity of these five revolutionary environments, portraying the insurgencies as representing a global struggle against Soviet imperialism is dangerously simplistic. Only in Afghanistan is the anti-Soviet component undeniably dominant. Cambodia represents a fight against a pro-Soviet but notoriously independent invader. Angola and Mozambique are instances of civil wars that have been highly contaminated by Western as well as Soviet-bloc interference. Nicaragua threatens to travel the same path, but the conflict in that country still reflects predominantly internal factors.

An effective and prudent U.S. foreign policy must take into account such variations and ambiguities. Judged solely on the basis of countering existing Soviet-bloc intervention, the strongest case for providing U.S. support to rebel forces exists with regard to Afghanistan and Cambodia, the weakest with respect to Nicaragua. Angola and Mozambique constitute intermediate cases. It is evident, however, that U.S. policy cannot and should not be formulated entirely on that basis. Other concerns must be addressed, not the least of which is the ideological makeup of the rebel organizations. If the American government proposes to embrace an insurgent movement, it is essential that no endorsement be given to a faction that would merely substitute one brand of repression for another.

Ideological Orientations

Just as the revolutionary environments are diverse, so too are the ideological orientations of the various insurgent movements. It is a grave oversimplification to portray all anti-Marxist rebels as "freedom fighters," as American conservatives are prone to do. By the same token, some liberals in the United States too readily dismiss many of the insurgents--particularly in Angola, Mozambique, and Nicaragua--as "opportunists" or "terrorists." In reality, ideological coloration varies considerably from country to country and even among competing rebel factions within individual countries.

The Fragmented Mujaheddin

The Afghan resistance, despite its considerable effectiveness in the field, is also the most factionalized and striferidden of the various anti-Marxist rebellions. There are no less than seven insurgent organizations in Afghanistan, each with a political apparatus and a fighting force, as well as an assortment of minor splinter groups. In May 1985, the seven principal resistance groups formed an official alliance, the Islamic Unity of Afghan Mujaheddin, to coordinate political and military activities, but intense rivalries persist.[26]

Part of the rivalry reflects the maneuvering of ambitious politicians for power and a desire to control the distribution of the limited amount of military equipment and aid funds channeled through neighboring Pakistan. But some deeper philosophical and ideological differences also exist. Four of the organizations, the Memiat, Khalis, Younis, and Hesbiz, are permeated in varying degrees with Islamic fundamentalism. The leader of the Hesbiz, Gubiddin Hekmaktyar, in fact, is an admirer of Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini and routinely denounces the United States as the "Great Satan." He rejects Western values, including capitalism and democracy, as social poisons and vows to create a 'pure" Islamic republic in Afghanistan.[27]

Arrayed against the four fundamentalist groups are three factions, the Mohaz, Harakat, and Nijat, all of which stress a more secular Afghan nationalism. But this contrast, while significant, is largely a matter of degree. Even these "moderate" organizations have little enthusiasm for a Western-style pluralistic nation. It is important to note that the term mujaheddin does not mean "freedom fighters," as their admirers in the United States imply. The correct translation is "holy warriors'--a very different connotation indeed.

Americans can and should sympathize with the plight of Afghanistan. It is entirely appropriate that the U.S. government condemn the ongoing Soviet occupation and genocide, endorse the right of the Afghan people to national self-determination, and pursue all possible diplomatic avenues to seek the removal of Soviet troops. But those who support the mujaheddin, whether inside or outside the American government, should entertain no illusions. A rebel victory in all probability will not bring about a capitalist economic system or a political system based on respect for individual rights. Even if the "moderates" triumphed, the most likely outcome would be a conservative Islamic state similar to Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. If the fundamentalists emerged dominant in a postwar government--a distinct possibility since the fanatical Hesbiz is the strongest single rebel faction--they would impose a ruthless Islamic theocracy. There should be considerable reluctance to back the mujaheddin with U.S. influence and tax dollars when there is a significant risk of creating an Iranian-style dictatorship in Afghanistan.

The Curious Cambodian Coalition

The Cambodian resistance to Heng Samrin's puppet regime and the Vietnamese army of occupation is divided into three sharply divergent factions. They are officially united in a coalition government recognized by the United States and many other countries, but the mutual animosity is deep and abiding. The most promising group, in terms of ideological orientation, is the Khmer Peoples National Liberation Front (KPNLF). Headed at least nominally by 75-year-old former prime minister Son Sann, the KPNLF professes an enthusiasm for both democracy and free enterprise. Son Sann was the principal founder of the Cambodian Democratic party and has worked for several decades to fashion a multi-party parliamentary democracy. One of the chief KPNLF military commanders, Dien Del, also seems committed to a pluralistic political system and has stated that he wants "an economy like Singapore's' for Cambodia. A healthy degree of entrepreneurial capitalism is apparent among KPNLF followers in various refugee camps maintained by the organization.[28]

A more amorphous group is the Armee Nationaliste Sihanou- kiste (ANS), consisting of guerrillas loyal to former head of state Prince Norodom Sihanouk. During the 30 years he ruled Cambodia prior to his ouster in 1970, Sihanouk was noted principally for an opulent lifestyle and authoritarian methods. Throughout his long political career, he has at various times cultivated the Vietnamese, the Communist Chinese, the United States, and the Khmer Rouge, as well as noncommunist Cambodian elements. If his faction should ever regain power, there is little evidence to suggest that this record of rank opportunism would not be repeated.

The third component of the rebel triad is the Khmer Rouge. Although Pol Pot resigned his leadership post in early 1986, he is still rumored to be the guiding force behind this faction. The two other principal leaders, Ieng Sary and Khieu Samphan, were both top-level officials in the Khmer Rouge government that ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1978 and committed unspeakable atrocities.

A troubling issue that proponents of military aid to the Cambodian insurgents must address is whether an attempt to oust the puppet regime of Heng Samrin might inadvertently return the Khmer Rouge to power. This is no idle fear. The ANS fields scarcely 5,000 guerrillas, and the KPNLF has 12,000-15,000. Neither faction is particularly well trained or equipped. The Khmer Rouge, on the other hand, has more than 30,000 experienced troops, and, thanks to Chinese largesse, they are supplied with an array of modern weapons. This severe disparity in strength does not bode well for any post-revolutionary struggle for power. It is true that the KPNLF has a sizable civilian following, perhaps as many as 250,000, among refugees in camps across the Thai border, but there is no certainty that this factor could be translated into sufficient military power even with external aid.[29] While the ongoing Vietnamese presence in Cambodia is clearly a violation of international law and partakes more than a little of imperialist exploitation, the alternative might well be a new Khmer Rouge government and another round of genocide. It is a distressing dilemma that cannot be ignored.

UNITA: Freedom Fighters or Opportunists?

While the Afghan mujaheddin have attracted pervasive U.S. sympathy and the Cambodian rebels (except, or course, the murderous Khmer Rouge) have broad-based American support, the Angolan insurgency provokes intense domestic controversy. Conservative admirers hail UNITA's Jonas Savimbi as a charismatic "pro-Western" leader and a dedicated "freedom fighter" against the Marxist regime in Luanda. Conversely, liberal opponents castigate him as a "megalomaniac," an "opportunist," and, because his organization accepts the friendship and assistance of South Africa's racist government, an "Uncle Tom."[30]

Part of the problem is that Savimbi has had a rather enigmatic if not checkered political career. In the 1960s and early 1970s, he solicited military and financial support primarily from such leftist sources as North Korea, Communist China, Nasser's Egypt, and the Soviet Union. When it became evident in the mid-1970s that the Soviet bloc was backing the rival MPLA, Savimbi sought moderate and conservative sponsors--most notably the United States and South Africa. Critics contend that such ideological promiscuity demonstrates that Savimbi is merely an opportunist who is now using democratic pro-Western rhetoric because he senses an opportunity to exploit anti-communist hysteria among gullible American conservatives--including President Reagan--to secure military aid.[31]

At the root of liberal animosity toward Savimbi is his willingness to accept assistance from South Africa's white supremacist regime. Condemnation on that basis is not entirely fair. Rebel movements have habitually sought and accepted aid wherever they could find it, and an intense struggle for political power often precludes any other course. It should be remembered that Ho Chi Minh, certainly a devout communist, initially solicited help from the United States in his campaign against French colonialism in Vietnam. Even our own revolutionaries sought and gladly accepted support from France and Spain, two of the most reactionary monarchies in 18th-century Europe. Liberals routinely deride the notion that if an insurgency receives military aid from the USSR it automatically becomes a Soviet puppet, yet they condemn Savimbi as a South Airican lackey because he cooperates militarily with Pretoria. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that a double standard is in operation.

At the same time, U.S. policymakers should regard UNITA's recent professed allegiance to the values of democracy and free enterprise with healthy skepticism. UNITA's official seal proclaims it to be a socialist organization, and Jonas Savimbi, at least until his most recent campaign to secure American military aid, advocated widespread government ownership or control of most economic sectors. Equally unsettling are reports from rebel-controlled territory that Savimbi encourages the "personality cult" so typical of dictators and would-be dictators.[32]

Those Americans who assume that a UNITA victory would bring about a democratic capitalist system are proceeding on faith, not evidence. Democratic and capitalist values are essentially alien to the traditions of Angola. The indigenous culture of all three principal tribes (Bakongo, Mbundu, and Ovimbundu) stresses communal ownership of property and an authoritarian leadership structure.[33] Nor did Angolans learn much about capitalist economics or democratic politics from their Portuguese rulers during the long decades of colonial subjugation. It is conceivable, of course, that Savimbi might be a sincere convert to Western values and that once in power UNITA would encourage free enterprise and political pluralism. Nevertheless, it is imprudent to stake U.S. prestige on or spend American tax dollars to support UNITA based on that expectation. It is quite possible that a UNITA government would not differ radically from its MPLA rival in either economic philosophy or political methods.

RENAMO: Patriotic Movement or Terrorist Gang?

The rebel movement in Mozambique labors under a burden similar to UNITA's--a political and military association with South Africa's government. To many Western moderates and liberals, RENAMO's willingness to accept help from Pretoria disqualifies it from any claim to legitimacy. Again, such an assessment seems too harsh: the Mozambican insurgents can be expected to accept help from any available source.

Nevertheless, there are reasons for the United States to be cautious about embracing this rebellion. For one thing, RENAMO is afflicted with rampant factionalism. Some of its leaders, including the official head of the organization, Alfonso Dklakama, have expressed and demonstrated a reasonably consistent commitment to democracy and private enterprise; the orientation of other key figures is much less certain. RENAMO's official 10-point program does advocate a national constitution guaranteeing individual rights and providing for free elections and a federal form of government, but such paper promises are easily made. Some analysts who have visited guerrilla encampments report a pervasive enthusiasm for Western political and economic values together with a virulent hostility toward FRELIMO's repression and collectivization programs--all healthy signs. At the same time, much of RENAMO's support comes from traditional rural village chiefs displaced by the new political order.[34] Few of those individuals are likely to exhibit much commitment to either free markets or democracy. Indeed, most insurgent propaganda stresses Mozambican nationalism, not democratic freedoms, as a rallying cry against FRELIMO and it Soviet-bloc sponsors.

The most disquieting factor, however, involves continuing reports of rebel atrocities against civilians. Defenders of the organization contend that most of these atrocities were committed by government troops disguised as RENAMO partisans in a campaign to discredit the insurgency.[35] The sheer number of episodes and their location, at times deep inside rebel territory, undercuts this explanation. While not definitive, considerable evidence suggests that RENAMO's military personnel exhibit a brutal streak that would not bode well for a pluralistic society should the rebellion prove successful.

While the Reagan administration should abandon its support for Samora Machel's FRELIMO dictatorship--exemplified by last year's proposal to Congress for $40 million in economic and military aid--there is no compelling case for aiding RENAMO. The insurgency apparently contains some democratic capitalist elements, but there is scant evidence that they constitute the dominant force in the organization. The struggle in Mozambique is one in which Washington would be well advised to adopt a position of discreet neutrality.

The Controversial Contras

Nicaragua's contra rebels arouse even more divisive emotions than either UNITA or RENAMO. President Reagan and his political followers continually portray them as democratic freedom fighters comparable to America's own Founding Fathers. The president has gone so far as to proclaim himself a contra in spirit.[36] According to contra supporters in the United States, most of the rebels opposed the Somoza dictatorship, even collaborating with the Sandinistas in engineering its ouster. They then watched with mounting horror and anger as the "totalitarian" Sandinista comandantes captured what was initially a democratic revolution and embarked on a drive to create a communist dictatorship. When it became evident that peaceful methods could not dislodge the Marxists from power, these patriots took up arms, seeking to bring true democracy to their nation.[37]

American critics of the contras perceive a very different movement. In their view, most of the contras, especially the military commanders, were disgruntled members of Somoza's hated security forces and National Guard. They have a meager following among the Nicaraguan people, most of whom genuinely support the Sandinista regime. Indeed, according to many critics, the principal contra organizations are little more than CIA fronts, set up and maintained by U.S. tax dollars. To make matters worse, contra military units routinely engage in atrocities against civilians, as verified by several independent human-rights organizations.[38] The Nicaraguan rebels are not free- dom fighters but terrorists far worse than the Sandinistas they seek to displace. If successful, they would impose another reactionary dictatorship on Nicaragua, their critics insist.[39]

Both portrayals of the contras, while accurate in some respects, are ultimately stereotypes that serve primarily to justify existing ideological positions. Describing the rebels as noble freedom fighters enables the Reagan administration to advocate military-aid programs without apology. Portraying the contras as terrorist thugs allows the administration's liberal opponents to oppose deeper U.S. involvement in Central America without having to address more ambiguous and troubling security issues.

Since the summer of 1985, the principal rebel organizations have been united under the banner of the United Nicaraguan Opposition, a union the United States encouraged and perhaps even demanded. In reality, though, the constituent groups still operate with considerable independence, and they exhibit rather different political orientations. For example, the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE), founded by former Sandinista comandante Eden Pastora, displays much of that mercurial personality's vague socialism (as opposed to doctrinaire Marxism- Leninism). Pastora has now severed his connections with ARDE and abandoned the war effort in response to the organization's willingness to join with other contra groups and accept heightened U.S. supervision and funding. Even with Pastora's departure, ARDE's commitment to free enterprise is negligible and its adherence to democratic principles open to some question.[40]

The dominant group in the contra coalition is the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN), which has received the bulk of U.S. assistance. The FDN is a successor to the Fifteenth of September Legion and the Nicaraguan Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ADRIN), initial contra organizations composed of former National Guard officers and assisted by the CIA in late 1981 and early 1982.[41] The principal civilian leaders of the FDN, most notably Adolfo Calero and Arturo Cruz, seem sincerely committed to creating a pluralistic democratic society. Their economic views, while far from embodying consistent free-market principles, are clearly preferable to the Marxist policies of the Sandinistas and represent a significant improvement on the Somoza regime's corrupt kleptocracy. Most rank-and-file soldiers in the FDN come from Nicaragua's peasant class. While the depth of their belief in democratic capitalism is problematical, especially given their country's extremely limited experience with the value, there is little discernible evidence that they wish to return to the authoritarianism of the Somoza years.[42]

The most disturbing feature of the FDN is the pervasive presence of officers from Somoza's security police and National Guard in the military command structure. Some estimates suggest that such officers constitute 95 percent of the field and regional commanders. Other estimates are lower, but there is no question that military figures from the old regime predomin- ate.[43] Indeed, the FDN s military commander in chief, Enrique Bermudez, was a colonel in the National Guard during the Somoza years.

The mere presence of these individuals, of course, is not definitive evidence that they would pervert a contra triumph by restoring a rightist dictatorship. Not every member, or even officer, in the Guard was necessarily an admirer of Somoza. There is modest evidence that Enrique Bermudez himself exhibited reformist tendencies, which impelled Somoza to assign him to the embassy in Washington--a comfortable but effective exile.[44] It is even possible that under a different set of circumstances in 1979, Bermudez and like-minded officers might have played a role similar to that of Philippine general Fidel Ramos and his followers in his nation's recent revolution.

Nevertheless, the predominance of ex-Somoza officers in the contra military command should cause U.S. policymakers to pause before endorsing, much less assisting, this insurgency. Most contra political leaders are ideologically palatable, but there is a disturbing parallel between their current position in relation to contra military leaders and their position in 1979-81 vis-a-vis the Sandinista comandantes. Many of these same politicians, most notably Arturo Cruz and Alfonso Robelo, formed a tactical alliance with the Marxist Sandinista military leaders. In the post-revolutionary power struggle, the moderate democratic elements lost out largely because the Marxists had most of the guns. A similar problem would exist in a contra victory since the rebel military would be under the control of Somoza-era military leaders. The manifest inability of the civilian leadership to prevent contra units from committing atrocities is an ominous indication that their control of the FDN is less than secure. U.S. officials must consider the serious possibility that aiding the rebel cause may serve simply to impose another rightist dictatorship on Nicaragua.

Realism about Rebel Ideologies

The ideological composition of anti-Marxist rebel movements varies tremendously. There lS virtually no possibility of a democratic capitalist outcome in Afghanistan, since the mujaheddin are dominated by conservative or rabidly fundamentalist Islamic elements. The situation in Cambodia is more ambiguous but equally depressing. One of the three insurgent organizations, the KPNLF, does exhibit a considerable commitment to democratic pluralism and free enterprise. But any candid assessment must conclude that this group would probably lose out to the murderous Khmer Rouge in the inevitable post- revolutionary competition for power.

Angola and Mozambique present a rather murky ideological picture. Jonas Savimbi's UNITA in Angola professes an adherence to democracy, but the depth and sincerity of that commitment is open to question. In the economic sphere, the bulk of the evidence indicates that a UNITA government would encourage more socialism than capitalism. Mozambique's RENAMO insurgents proclaim their adherence to democracy and at least some recognition of private-property rights, but once again it is uncertain whether this allegiance is sincere or merely a propaganda ploy to win Western support. The documented brutality of RENAMO military units does not encourage hope for the emergence of a humane government if RENAMO proved victorious. Expectations of a democratic capitalist outcome in either country must be tempered since both values are largely alien to those societies.

A contra triumph in Nicaragua offers some chance of a new government based on the principles of democracy and private enterprise. The civilian leaders of the United Nicaraguan Opposition seem committed to those values. Even here, however, there are ample reasons for concern. The domination of the rebel military command by ex-Somoza officers raises serious doubts about the contra civilian leadership's ability to prevail in a post-revolutionary political environment.

Judged solely according to the criterion of ideological orientation, the strongest case can be made for supporting the Nicaraguan contras. Lesser cases can be made for assisting the Angolan and Mozambican insurgents. Virtually no plausible ideological case can be made for aiding the Afghan mujaheddin or the Cambodian rebels. It should be emphasized, however, that in no instance--even Nicaragua--is there a compelling argument for Washington to assist an insurgency out of ideological considerations.

The Danger of Confrontation or Entanglement

U.S.-Soviet Confrontation

While U.S. officials can offer verbal or even diplomatic support to one or more rebel causes without incurring serious risk to this country's well-being, the same cannot be said of material assistance. Providing financial subsidies and military aid to any of the five insurgencies creates some danger of either a direct clash with the Soviet Union or a gradual escalation of commitments and undesirable entanglements. The nature and scope of these risks vary from locale to locale, but they are present to some degree in all five arenas.

There is only a minimal possibility of a U.S.-Soviet confrontation over Cambodia. Since the USSR can rely on Hanoi's powerful army to sustain the Soviet bloc's foreign policy aims in Southeast Asia, there is little likelihood that Moscow would perceive any reason to become directly involved in the Cambodian struggle. Conversely, the United States tacitly conceded Indochina to the communist sphere of influence following the failure of America's attempt to assist noncommunist regimes in South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It would be difficult to envision any U.S. administration attempting to recapture that long-abandoned geopolitical position. Consequently, there are virtually no scenarios that would produce a Soviet-U.S. clash in the region.

The danger of a confrontation in Mozambique lS likewise very small. Neither superpower seems to regard the Mozambican struggle as a high-priority foreign policy concern. Moscow initially provided a considerable amount of aid and guidance to Somora Machel's regime, but in the last two years it has accepted a diminution of Soviet influence with only minor resistance. To a certain extent, the Mozambican withdrawal from Soviet tutelage replicates the USSR's experiences in Indonesia, Egypt, and Ghana, where once-friendly governments became disenchanted with the Soviet model. Even if the United States abandoned its policy of trying to woo Machel away from the Eastern bloc and decided to aid RENAMO, it is unlikely that Moscow would up the strategic ante. While the USSR would like to sustain the presence of "friendly" regimes in southern Africa and is willing to do so as long as the costs remain modest, there is no evidence that the Kremlin intends to make a large geostrategic investment in Mozambique.

The probability of a superpower confrontation over Nicaragua is likewise rather low, but for a slightly different reason. As in Mozambique, the USSR does not seem willing to make the Nicaraguan struggle a high-priority item. Moscow undoubtedly likes the emergence of leftist regimes in Central America and the Caribbean--if for no other reason than their "nuisance" value in distracting U.S. attention and tying up military resources. At the same time, given their renowned pragmatism, Soviet leaders recognize that American power in the region is overwhelming. There is little Moscow could do to prevent the United States from ousting the Sandinistas or any other unpalatable regime in Central America if it decided to do so. The Kremlin's acceptance of the Grenada invasion is indicative of that realism. While the Soviets could be expected to orchestrate a massive propaganda campaign against U.S. meddling in Central America and might cautiously escalate their level of aid to the Sandinista government, the possibility of a more substantive military role is very slight. Nicaragua remains an unlikely arena for a U.S.-Soviet clash even if the United States becomes committed to the contra cause.

The danger is somewhat greater with Angola. Largely because of the nation's vast mineral wealth, the USSR has invested billions of dollars in economic and military aid to the MPLA government, provided several hundred military advisers, and sponsored 30,000-35,000 Cuban combat forces--all of which suggests that Moscow regards Angola as a reasonably high-priority foreign policy concern.[45] Although any introduction of Soviet combat forces remains unlikely, it is a possibility that cannot be ruled out if the United States decides to back UNITA with extensive military assistance. The Reagan administration's increasing enthusiasm for UNITA thus presents at least a modest danger of confrontation with the USSR over Angola. At the very least, it is likely to complicate U.S.-Soviet relations on a host of far more vital issues, especially arms control.[46]

The greatest danger of a superpower clash, though, exists in the case of Afghanistan. It is obvious that Moscow regards its struggle there as a vital foreign policy concern--the Kremlin would scarcely have committed a vast occupation army to Afghanistan and waged a bloody six-year war if that were not the case. Afghanistan's geographic position on the Soviet Union's vulnerable southern flank and the population's enthusiasm for Islamic fundamentalism--with all the danger that doctrine poses to adjacent Muslim territories inside the USSR--make Moscow's action comprehensible, although it does not justify such reprehensible aggression.

At the same time, the United States regards Afghanistan as a potential staging area for Soviet offensive moves into the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. The increasing American aid to the mujaheddin and the renewal of security arrangements with Pakistan are motivated at least in part by these considerations. A disturbing pattern of events has begun to emerge: the USSR seems determined to preserve its domination of Afghanistan even at an enormous cost in men and money, while the United States exhibits a growing determination to end that domination by assisting the rebel cause--in a nation on the very doorstep of the Soviet Union.[4/] There are obvious and serious dangers in the United States adopting such a strategy.

Foreign Entanglements

Aiding rebel movements in their struggles against Soviet-backed regimes also entails the risk of escalating commitments that may eventually entangle the United States in complex foreign quarrels. The Vietnam debacle and, more recently, the tragic failure of our "peace keeping" mission in Lebanon are instructive examples of how seemingly limited commitments can mutate and produce unpalatable results. Before material aid is given to anti-Marxist insurgent movements, such risks should be carefully weighed.

In the case of Cambodia, prospects for serious entanglement are limited. The United States is likely to pursue a cautious strategy however much American leaders might sympathize with the grievances and aims of the KPNLF. U.S. officials retain a healthy respect for the military prowess of the Vietnamese army, and there is legitimate concern that aiding the rebel cause may inadvertently restore the Khmer Rouge to power. Even more important, the American people and their congressional representatives have too many bitter memories connected with U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. For all these reasons, it is likely that any U.S. commitment to the Cambodian insurgency will stay well below the threshold of a serious entanglement.

The prognosis is mixed with respect to the two African conflicts. There is substantial resistance among State Department professionals to providing aid to Mozambique's RENAMO. Indeed, despite mounting conservative pressure, Secretary Shultz and his subordinates clearly wish to avoid helping the rebels, opting instead to aid the Machel government and promote political stability in southern Africa.[48] Even if support for KENAMO were eventually forthcoming, the insurgency's record of atrocities and its association with Pretoria would likely make U.S. aid grudging and minimal.

There is significantly greater danger ol U.S. entanglement in Angolan affairs. Massive pressure from American conservatives makes a U.S. military-aid package to UNITA a virtual certainty. The right's tendency to portray Jonas Savimbi's cause in glowing terms creates the prospect of the U.S. government identifying closely with his cause; if that occurred, the danger of entanglement would become serious. By aiding the insurgents, the United States could find itself not only mired in an ideological conflict with a Soviet-backed regime but also confronting such emotionally charged issues as the black independence struggle in neighboring Namibia and the role of South Africa's government throughout the region.[49] The same cautions apply to Angola as to Mozambique, but the direction of U.S. policy suggests that the warning signals for Angola are being ignored.

There is also more than a slight danger of entanglement in the Afghan conflict. A desire to blunt any contemplated Soviet drive to the Indian Ocean, tie down Soviet military units in a protracted war, and even "pay back" Moscow for aiding the North Vietnamese during the U.S. intervention in Southeast Asia creates a powerful incentive to assist the mujaheddin. The magnitude of U.S. assistance, now approaching $300 million annually, suggests an escalating commitment with no foreseeable termination. Moreover, if the rebels ultimately proved victorious, the United States, as the financial patron of the revolution, would be sorely tempted to help the "moderates" prevent the Islamic fundamentalists from establishing another Iranian-style regime. Any more in that direction would involve the United States to an alarming degree in the volatile politics of Afghanistan and the intractable religious quarrels of the region.[50]

The greatest danger of a political and military entanglement exists in the case of Nicaragua. Not only has there been ongoing U.S. assistance to the contras since the first year of the Reagan administration, but the existing policy has two especially ominous features. The first is the tendency of administration leaders and their conservative supporters to over- state the significance of a Marxist Nicaraguan government to U.S. security. Administration spokesmen habitually portray the Sandinista regime as nothing more than a Moscow puppet and evoke alarmist images of a red political tide engulfing Central America. Such apocalyptic scenarios are, to put it charitably, overdrawn. Second, and equally distressing, is the propensity of President Reagan and his subordinates to identify the objectives ol the contras with emotionally laden aspects of America's own heritage. The portrayal of the diverse Nicaraguan rebels as "freedom fighters" and the "moral equal" of the Founding Fathers and President Reagan's description of himself as a contra constitute only the most egregious examples.

There is an enormous risk in linking the contra cause to our own security and values, especially if that means supporting it with substantial infusions of U.S. tax dollars. If the contra military campaign falters in spite of U.S. financial assistance--a highly probable development--there will be considerable pressure to prevent a collapse, even at the cost of committing U.S. combat forces. In Nicaragua, an ostensibly limited commitment could escalate out of control with alarming rapidity.

Anti-communist Insurgencies and U.S. Security

Although the degree of Soviet-bloc interference, the ideological composition of the rebel movements, the danger of a clash with the USSR, and the risk of entanglement all represent important considerations, the principal factor governing U.S. foreign policy with respect to the five rebel movements should be U.S. security. Assessed in this light, there is only one arena for which a respectable case can be made for providing material aid--Nicaragua--and even that is less than compelling. The other four conflicts are essentially irrelevant to the legitimate security concerns of the United States.

While one may sympathize with Cambodia's plight, there is little to suggest that a continuation of the Heng Samrin regime would make the United States less secure or that a rebel victory would make the United States more secure. In the early 1970s, American leaders in effect wrote off Indochina as a serious foreign policy priority. Since that time, Vietnam has been forcibly united under communist auspices, indigenous communist regimes have come to power in Laos and Cambodia, and Pol Pot's communist government in Cambodia has been replaced by one subservient to the Vietnamese. These developments had only a marginal impact on the regional correlation of forces in East Asia and virtually no effect on the security of the United States.

Mozambique and Angola are scarcely more relevant to American security. Proponents of aid to the insurgents in these countries insist that both the MPLA and FRELIMO are Soviet puppets doing Moscow's bidding in southern Africa. Soviet-bloc domination of the region, the argument goes, will enable communists to control the supply of several vital raw materials, perhaps even denying them to the West. Moreover, if these regimes give base rights to the Soviet navy, the USSR will be in an excellent position to monitor or interdict vital sea lanes in the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic.

The available evidence undercuts this argument. Although Mozambique and Angola theoretically might embargo vital raw-materials exports to the United States, they would be operating against their own economic self-interest--a practice most regimes, Marxist or non-Marxist, avoid. Indeed, Angola and the United States have conducted a lucrative commerce--averaging more than $800 million annually-since the MPLA victory in 1975, and private U.S. investment in Angola now exceeds $200 million. While relations with Mozambique were initially more difficult, the Machel government is vigorously seeking expanded U.S. trade and investment.[51]

Such commercial activity suggests that while the two regimes are Marxist and have willingly accepted Soviet aid, it is an exaggeration to dismiss them as puppets of Moscow. This conclusion is verified by the manifest reluctance of either government to allow its territory to become a staging area for Soviet naval operations. Mozambique, especially, shows signs of wanting to distance itself militarily as well as economically from the Eastern bloc. Victories by UNITA and RENAMO might bring to power governments that would be more favorable to the United States, but the outcome is hardly vital to American security. The United States is quite capable of conducting correct political, diplomatic, and commercial relations with the existing regimes.

Proponents of aid to the mujaheddin contend that the struggle in Afghanistan is highly relevant to Western, especially U.S., security interests. They view the Soviet occupation as merely the initial stage of an ambitious strategy that includes fomenting trouble in the Baluchistan regions of Iran and Pakistan in order to create a new nation subservient to Moscow. Such a development would give the USSR warm-water ports on the Indian Ocean--a Russian objective since the days of Peter the Great. Moreover, air bases in Afghanistan place Soviet MIGs within striking distance of oil-tanker routes in the Persian Gulf, thus threatening the West's vital Middle East oil supplies.[52]

There are several problems with this thesis. First, it is not certain whether the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was part of an offensive strategy to dominate Southwest Asia or was rather primarily a defensive reaction to quell the contagious upsurge of Islamic fundamentalism on the USSR's southern flank. Even if the former were true, the geostrategic gain was modest. A steadily decreasing share of Western oil supplies traverses the Persian Gulf, and U.S. dependence on that oil is minimal.[53]

Second, the validity of the case for an American "strategic stake" in Afghanistan rests solely on increasingly dubious collective-security assumptions. It is pertinent to ask whether it is a proper concern of the United States to defend the oil routes of Western Europe and Japan. Both Japan and the NATO allies possess enough economic power to develop the requisite military strength to undertake that task themselves. If those nations conclude that their security dictates such a defense measure, then they ought to assume the burden. There is no imperative need from the standpoint of U.S. security for our government to become involved.

Supporters of the Nicaraguan contras contend that the Sandinista regime represents a "second Cuba" in the Western hemisphere and therefore poses a major threat to the security of the United States. While this conclusion is overstated, the American government cannot remain indifferent to developments in Nicaragua. The United States does have a valid security interest in the Caribbean basin since the basin constitutes a major portion of the southern approaches to our homeland.

It is vital, however, to determine how events in Nicaragua might threaten U.S. security and whether the current state of affairs in fact does so. Those who assert that the mere presence of a Marxist regime in Central America is intolerable make too broad a claim. A communist dictatorship has existed in Cuba for more than a quarter of a century without (except on one occasion, the 1962 missile crisis) menacing American security. Moreover, Cuba is much closer geographically to the United States than is Nicaragua and occupies a more strategic position near vital Caribbean shipping lanes.

Nicaragua could pose a serious security problem in two ways. The most obvious would be if it became a staging area for Soviet or Soviet-bloc military operations in the Western hemisphere-- especially if the USSR introduced intermediate-range ballistic missiles or other clearly offensive weapons systems. The other possibility would be if the Sandinistas endeavored to export their revolution by military means, creating political chaos throughout Central America. In either event, U.S. support of the contras, or even direct military action, might be warranted. However, despite a growing Eastern-bloc presence in Nicaragua and some Sandinista subversion efforts, that threshold has not yet been reached, thus making material assistance to the rebels decidedly premature. It is a situation that must be monitored closely. If, for example, the Soviet Union introduced combat forces into Nicaragua, or if, as in Angola, Moscow employed significant numbers of Cuban troops as proxies, a grave situation requiring U.S. action would exist.

A Policy of Prudence

Emotional and undifferentiated support for anti-Marxist insurgencies is an unwise policy harboring potential perils for the United States. An intelligent, workable, and prudent strategy must take into account the five factors previously discussed, which are summarized in the table below. Primary emphasis ought to be placed on the relevance of each Third World struggle to legitimate American security requirements.

Moral and diplomatic support for the Afghan mujaheddin is warranted, since any other posture tacitly condones a blatant case of aggression. U.S. officials should seek to place the glare of adverse publicity on the Soviet-conducted genocide in Afghanistan whenever possible. At the same time, the conflict's lack of relevance to American security, the low probability of a democratic capitalist outcome, and the significant danger of entanglement--or, even worse, of a direct clash with the USSR-- should preclude military assistance.

A similar posture ought to be adopted toward the Cambodian struggle. Official U.S. policy should condemn Vietnam's continued occupation of a neighboring country and endorse the Cambodians' right to determine their own destiny. Even though there is little danger of a confrontation with the USSR over Cambodia and the risk of an eventual U.S. entanglement is modest, U.S. provision of material aid to the rebels would be unwise. Southeast Asia is not essential to U.S. security. Moreover, American interference, even if successful, might only replace a repressive puppet government with an even worse reglme--the Khmer Rouge.

The conflicts in Angola and Mozambique both merit an official U.S. policy of neutrality. Although Soviet-bloc interference has been serious, the outcome of neither struggle is particularly relevant to American security. The insurgent organizations have, at best, ambiguous democratic credentials, and in Angola U.S. involvement carries with it the danger of serious entanglement and superpower confrontation.

Nicaragua is undoubtedly the most difficult case. The course of events in Central America is relevant to U.S. security, yet the United States must be cautious about interfering in what remains essentially an internal political struggle. There would be little danger of a direct clash with the USSK over Nicaragua unless Moscow uncharacteristically embarked on a foolhardy intervention, but the risk of eventual U.S. entanglement in a com- plex civil war would be quite high. Moreover, the rebels the Reagan administration routinely describes as freedom fighters are in reality an unstable alliance of legitimate democrats, some of whom have modest capitalist leanings, and ex-Somoza military officers. A cautious policy, combined with emphatic warnings to the Sandinistas of the dangers inherent in forging a military association with the Soviet Union--and a willingness to use force if those warnings are flouted--represents the best strategy for now.

In most instances, it is not in the best interest of the United States to assist or even endorse foreign insurgencies. Moreover, American aid may not in fact be the boon to rebel movements that proponents of the Reagan Doctrine contend. At present, the anti-Marxist forces more or less successfully portray themselves as nationalists and their opponents as Soviet bloc stooges. U.S. sponsorship would inevitably tarnish these nationalist credentials and revive the specter of American imperialism throughout the Third World.

In addition, U.S. largesse in assisting allies habitually fosters an unhealthy attitude of dependency on the part of recipients (much as domestic welfare programs do). Previously self-reliant leaders begin looking to the United States for solutions and either explicitly or implicitly expect to be bailed out in the event of serious trouble. This insidious dependence was apparent in the South Vietnamese-U.S. relationship during the 1960s and early 1970s, contributing in no small measure to the Saigon regime's ultimate collapse. If an anti-communist insurgency is to succeed, it must be a truly indigenous revolution achieved without Washington's well-meaning but counterproductive sponsorship.

The Reagan Doctrine in Perspective

Proponents of the Reagan Doctrine, such as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Michael Ledeen, and Charles Krauthammer, contend that U.S. assistance to anti-communist insurgencies in the Third World would serve three beneficial purposes. First, it would enhance U.S. security by tying down Soviet-bloc military resources and perhaps reversing Soviet expansionist gains. Second, it would achieve these objectives without serious military risk or financial cost to the United States. Finally, it would promote the growth of democracy throughout the Third World.[54] All three contentions are open to serious question.

It is difficult to see how the Reagan Doctrine would bolster U.S. security; indeed, the opposite result is far more likely. Most Third World struggles take place in arenas and involve issues far removed from legitimate American security needs. U.S. involvement in such conflicts expands the republic's already overextended commitments without achieving any significant prospective gains. Instead of draining Soviet military and financial resources, we end up dissipating our own.

Moreover, contrary to the sanguine assumptions of Kirkpatrick and Krauthammer, implementation of the Reagan Doctrine promises to be a costly undertaking. The sums now being discussed are no more than a down payment on a long-term policy. If the intent is to overthrow hostile governments, it will be necessary to provide funds and equipment to insurgents in quantities sufficient to give them a reasonable chance of victory. Most analysts concede that the funding levels contemplated for UNITA ($15-40 million) and the contras ($100 million) are woefully inadequate. Even the annual subsidy of $250-300 million to the mujaheddin seems insufficient to do more than prolong the existing military stalemate. Unless the United States cynically contemplates using such insurgencies merely as pawns to annoy the USSR, military-assistance programs amounting to several billion dollars will be required.

The prospects for the Reagan Doctrine promoting democracy in the Third World are no more promising; again, an intrusive U.S. military policy is likely to produce the opposite result. The Reagan Doctrine threatens to become a corollary to America's longstanding policy of supporting "friendly" autocratic regimes. Administration leaders exhibit a willingness to endorse and assist any insurgent movement that professes to be anti-Soviet, without reference to its attitude toward political or economic rights. The United States has already antagonized Third World populations by sponsoring repressive governments and may incur even more enmity as the patron of authoritarian, albeit anti-Marxist, insurgencies. Such a strategy is hardly an effective way to promote the popularity of democratic capitalism.

The Reagan Doctrine entails a variety of risks and burdens while offering few discernible benefits to the United States. It is a blueprint for unpredictable and potentially perilous entanglements in complex Third World affairs. Proponents of the doctrine seem determined to imitate Moscow's techniques of subversion without considering its adverse consequences.

Privatizing the Reagan Doctrine

For a variety of reasons, the American government should avoid providing material assistance to anti-Marxist rebellions, and only in some instances should official U.S. policy even include moral and diplomatic support. In a free society, however, private citizens ought to have greater latitude. Those individuals who believe that the various insurgencies represent a laudable anti-Soviet uprising and that the rebels truly are freedom fighters should be free to assist their chosen ideological cause without government restriction or harassment.

The proper alternative to the Reagan Doctrine is to privatize such support operations. Robert Poole, Jr., president of the Reason Foundation, has summarized the rationale for this distinction:

Is it, in fact, the government's proper role to use our tax money to 'bear any burden, pay any price' to battle the forces of evil all around the globe? Those of us who denounce Big Government when it embarks on other 'good works'--foreign aid abroad and the welfare state at home--cannot consistently support one kind of tax-funded do-gooding while opposing others. The only possible justification for government involvement in such battles is if doing so contributes legitimately to defense of the United States. On that score, it seems pretty clear that U.S. government aid to freedom fighters in Asia and Africa does not qualify.[55]

Conservative organizations dedicated to promoting one or more of the anti-Marxist rebellions have proliferated in recent years. While most of them unfortunately lobby for government assistance to the insurgents, they have also launched private aid efforts. The Freedom Research Foundation, headed by Jack Wheeler, touts the causes of all such insurgencies, as does Lewis Lehrman's Citizens for America. Several vocal organizations, most notably the Committee for a Free Afghanistan, solicit financial and other assistance for the muiaheddin. The Friends of Mozambique do the same for RENAMO. Howard Phillips's Conservative Caucus pursues a variety of projects to assist UNITA's campaign in Angola.

As might be expected, the Nicaraguan contras have attracted the greatest amount of private American support. Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum sponsors "Freedom Fighter Friendship Kits" for the contras. These kits contain such items as insect repellent, toothpaste, and Bibles. Somewhat more practical assistance, including money for medical supplies, uniforms, and "non-lethal" equipment, has been provided by other groups. Most active of all in funding the contra cause and, to a lesser extent, the other rebellions, is retired general John K. Singlaub's U.S. Council for World Freedom. The council has raised millions of dollars for the Nicaraguan rebels, which go to purchase such items as trucks and helicopters.[56]

All of these organizations operate in a legal "gray area." Various arms-export statutes prohibit shipment or even direct funding of armaments purchases. Moreover, several neutrality laws, most notably provisions of the Neutrality Act of 1794, raise serious questions about the legality of American citizens providing even "nonlethal" assistance to foreign political movements. While the Reagan administration's Justice Department has declined to prosecute Americans who aid rebel causes, the potential for harassment exists. Certain members of Congress, contending that private aid programs undermine official U.S. policy, are attempting to pass legislation specifically prohibiting such activities.

It would be far more consistent with American ideals and the American heritage to abolish all restrictions on private assistance to foreign political movements than to enact new restraints. Americans with strong ideological convictions have often aided foreign causes in the past, and not just monetarily. For example, a significant number of U.S. citizens who favored the Allied cause in both world wars enlisted in the Canadian or British armed forces long before the United States became a belligerent. During the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, numerous Americans opposed Gen. Francisco Franco's fascist rebellion by forming the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and fighting on behalf of the republican government. In light of this historical record, it should come as no surprise that some people in this country are taking sides in the current struggles being waged throughout the Third World.

Removing existing restraints and clarifying legal ambiguities would permit the flourishing of voluntary aid efforts-- including military assistance--if they had the requisite popular support. At the same time, being strictly private initiatives, they would minimize the danger of entangling the United States as an entity in complex foreign conflicts. While not a perfect solution, it is better than the extremes of governmental aid programs or tightened domestic restrictions.

A private aid system has two vital prerequisites, neither of which may be entirely palatable to conservatives who now back anti-communist insurgencies. First, there could be no government connection, either direct or indirect, with private aid programs. Since the CIA has been known to use ostensibly private groups as fronts, rigorous congressional scrutiny of agency actions is imperative to prevent such contamination. Second, there could be no discrimination. In essence, we would be proclaiming that contributing to foreign political causes is a legitimate civil liberty of American citizens. That being the case, the federal government cannot discriminate against private aid efforts on the basis of ideological orientation. Conservatives who insist upon the right to aid the contras or UNITA must endure American leftists who want to assist, say, Marxist rebels in El Salvador. Allowing private support for foreign insurgencies could well test the limits of our domestic tolerance.

Privatizing the Reagan doctrine is by no means a perfect or easy policy. Critics may contend that it would be extremely difficult to raise on a voluntary basis the sums required by the insurgent movements. Yet if that proved to be the case, it would merely confirm that American enthusiasm for the various rebellions lacks depth or constancy. Masking that reality through government aid measures funded by taxation could lure the United States into making commitments that a sizable portion of the population would not countenance. The result would be a replay of the Vietnam era, with bitter internal divisions and foreign policy paralysis.

Confining support for foreign insurgencies to the private sector would avoid the numerous pitfalls inherent in any government program to endorse and assist diverse anti-Marxist rebellions. The Reagan Doctrine as presently constituted threatens to become a limitless series of expensive and dangerous political or military entanglements. A more prudent strategy is warranted.


[l] Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 21, no. 6 (February 11, 1985): 146. The Reagan Doctrine bears a modest resemblance to proposals for a "roll back" of communism advanced by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and embraced by many conservatives in the early and mid-1950s. One crucial difference is that the roll-back concept applied almost exclusively to Eastern Europe, whereas the Reagan Doctrine is explicitly designed to exploit developments in the Third World. The intellectual roots of the Reagan Doctrine can perhaps be found in the writings of Laurence W. Beilenson, who has repeatedly advocated adopting Leninist subversion tactics and using them against vulnerable portions of the Soviet empire. See Laurence W. Beilenson, Power through Subversion (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1972); and idem, "Aid to Freedom Fighters," in Defending a Free Society, ed. Robert W. Poole, Jr. (Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath and Company, 1984), pp. 295-316. Several features of the Reagan Doctrine incorporate Beilenson's suggestions.

[2] Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents 21, no. 8 (February 25, 1985): 187.

[3] George Shultz, "America and the Struggle for Freedom," Department of State Bulletin (April 1985): 17.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., p. 20; and idem, "New Realities and New Ways of Thinking," Foreign Affairs (Spring 1985): 713.

[6] Shultz, "America and the Struggle," p. 18.

[7] See, for example, Jeane Kirkpatrick, The Reagan Doctrine and U.S. Foreign Policy (Washington: Heritage Foundation, 1985), pp. 5-14; idem, "Anti-Communist Insurgency and American Policy," National Interest (Fall 1985): 91-96; Richard Nixon, "The Case for Supporting Third World Freedom Fighters," Dallas Morning News, June 17, 1985; and Jack Wheeler, "Fighting the Soviet Imperialists: The New Liberation Movements," Reason (June-July 1985): 36-44.

[8] Russell Watson, Kim Willenson, and Ron Moreau, "The Friends of Tommy Posey," Newsweek, September 17, 1984, p. 55; Robert Tomsho, "Part-Time Revolutionaries," Dallas Life Magazine, February 9, 1986, pp. 15-16, 25-29; "A Little Help from Friends," Newsweek, December 23, 1985, p. 27; and Alfonso Chardy, "Groups Won't Cut Contra Aid," Dallas Morning News, June 16, 1985.

[9] Michael Sullivan, "Rebels Opposing Marxist Regimes in 4 Nations Unite," Washington Times, June 6, 1985; and Walter Shapiro and Peter Younghusband, "Lehrman's Contra Conclave," Newsweek, June 17, 1986, p. 29.

[10] See, for example, James T. Hackett, ed., The State Department v. Ronald Reagan: Four Ambassadors Speak Out, Heritage Lecture no. 44 (Washington: Heritage Foundation, 1985); Benjamin Hart, "Rhetoric vs. Reality: How the State Department Betrays the Reagan Vision," Heritage Foundation Backgrounder no. 484 (Washington, January 31, 1986); David B. Ottaway, "Rebels' Backers on Hill Press Aid Issue; Administration Accused of Ambiguity in Military Efforts," Washington Post, January 16, 1986; Howard Phillips, "'Made in Moscow' State Dept. Policy for Angola Must Be Overturned," Conservative Caucus Member's Report 9, no. 3 (December 1985).

[11] Examples of the genre can be found in Wheeler; Kirkpatrick, "Anti-Communist Insurgency"; and Warren H. Carroll's Freedom Fighter 1, no. 7 (December 1985-January 1986).

[12] There are also inchoate insurgencies in Laos and Vietnam and potent separatist movements in Ethiopia's Tegre and Eritrea provinces, all of which exhibit discernible anti-communist overtones. While this study does not deal directly with those struggles, it is accurate to say that they provide additional evidence of the extreme diversity of Third World revolutionary movements and environments.

[13] Jack Wheeler, "Fighting the Soviet Imperialists: The Mujaheddin in Afghanistan," Reason (September 1984): 22-27; Paul Trottier, "Soviet Influence on Afghan Youth," Department of State Bulletin (March 1986): 46-47. Despite such measures, the effectiveness of the Sovietization process in Afghanistan has been decidedly limited. See Anthony Arnold, "The Stony Path to Afghan Socialism: Problems of Sovietization in an Alpine Muslim Society," Orbis (Spring 1985): 40-56. The estimate of 150,000 Soviet troops comes from David C. Isby, "Afghanistan 1982: The War Continues," International Defense Review (November 1982): 1523-28.

[14] Wheeler, "The Mujaheddin," pp. 22-23, 27, 30; "Tears, Blood and Cries: Human Rights in Afghanistan Since the Invasion, 1979- 1984," Helsinki Watch Report (December 1984); Alex R. Alexiev, "Soviet Strategy and the Mujahidin," Orbis (Spring 1985): 31-39; John Parry, "UN Rights Unit Assails Soviet Abuses in Afghanistan," Washington Post, March 14, 1985; Craig Karp, "Afghanistan: Six Years of Soviet Occupation," Department of State Bulletin (February 1986): 4-19.

[15] Joanne Omang, "Secret Votes Give Afghans $300 Million," Washington Post, October 10, 1985. Part of the problem is that both rebel and Pakistani officials divert much of the assistance into their own pockets. See Wheeler, "The Mujaheddin," p. 30; and James Rupert, "Arms for Rebels Siphoned Off," Washington Post, January 16, 1986.

[16] Jack Wheeler, "Fighting the Soviet Imperialists: The Khmer in Cambodia," Reason (February 1985): 27-28.

[17] Ibid., p. 28.

[18] John Spragens, Jr., "Kampuchea: An Orphan Nation's Struggle," Progressive (August 1984): 23-25; "Asian Nations Seek Military Aid for Cambodian Rebels," Dallas Morning News, February 12, 1986; Eloise Salholz, "A CIA Mission to the Cambodian Resistance," Newsweek, July 8, 1985, p. 13; "Congress Approves Aid to Cambodian Rebels," New York Times, December 19, 1985; William Bach, "A Chance in Cambodia,'' Foreign Policy (Spring 1986): 75-95.

[19] A concise depiction of these events, including the external intervention, can be found in Jonathan Kwitny, Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World (New York: Congdon & Weed, 1984), pp. 132-41; and Wayne S. Smith, "A Trap in Angola," Foreign Policy (Spring 1986): 66-74. More detailed accounts include John A. Marcum, The Angolan Revolution (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1979); and John Stockwell, In search of Enemies (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978).

[20] Jack Wheeler, "Fighting the Soviet Imperialists: UNITA in Angola," Reason (April 1984): 28. South Africa's ostensible reason for its substantial presence here is its ongoing war with SWAPO, the black independence movement in neighboring Southwest Africa (Namibia). SWAPO guerrillas often seek refuge in Angola.

[21] "South Africa, Mozambique Sign Pact to Thwart Rebels," Dallas Morning News, March 17, 1984; Jack Wheeler, "From Rovuma to Maputo- Mozambique's Guerrilla War," Reason (December 1985): 32-35; Jeff Trimble, "Mozambique's Marxists Turn to the West," U.S. News & World Report, February 25, 1985, pp. 37-38.

[22] See, for example, Jeane Kirkpatrick, "U.S. Security and Latin America," in Dictatorships and Double Standards (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982), pp. 54-55, 72-74; The Report of the President's National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (New York: Macmillan, 1984), pp. 32-33, 105-9.

[23] Bernard Gwertzman, "U.S. Official Says Cuban Advisors Engage in Combat in Nicaragua," New York Times, December 6, 1985.

[24] For a scathing critique of these machinations by someone familiar with CIA operations, see Stansfield Turner, Secrecy and Democracy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985), pp. 166-72.

[25] "Honduras Blocks Aid to Nicaraguan Rebels," Dallas Morning News, October 30, 1985; and David DeVoss, "Honduras: A Nervous Ally Poses Problems for America," Dallas Morning News, April 28, 1985.

[26] James Rupert, "Afghan Rebels Still Split Despite Alliance," Washington Post, September 4, 1985; "Asian Tides,' World Press Review (June 1985): 7.

[27] Wheeler, "The Mujaheddin," p. 28; and Robert L. Canfield, "Islamic Sources of Resistance," Orbis (Spring 1985): 57-71.

[28] Wheeler, "The Khmer in Cambodia," pp. 28-31.

[29] Ibid., p. 30; "Cambodia's Factions," Dallas Morning News, February 20, 1985; and Hart, p. 13. Neither the KPNLF nor the Khmer Rouge was able to withstand Vietnam's military offensive in late 1984 and early 1985. Both factions were driven back across the border into Thailand from camps they had established inside Cambodia. See Angus Deming, et al., "Vietnam Routs the Rebels," Newsweek, January 21, 1985, pp. 44-45; and Elizabeth Becker, "Cambodia's Non-Communists Fight Back," Washington Post, January 13, 1985. There is also disturbing evidence of growing factionalism within the KPNLF itself. See Barbara Crossetti, "Rift Seen in Cambodia Guerrilla Force," New York Times, December 23, 1985. A useful, concise discussion of the complex Cambodian conflict can be found in Al Santoli, "Endless Insurgency: Cambodia," Washington Quarterly (Spring 1985): 61-72.

[30] Examples of the former include Norman Podhoretz, "Savimbi's Promise," Washington Post, January 29, 1986; William Murchison, "Africa's Real Freedom Fighters," Dallas Morning News, October 31, 1985; and "Jonas Savimbi: The Real Leader of the Free World," Grass Roots: The Leadership Quarterly of the Conservative Caucus (December 1985-January 1986): 2. Examples of the latter include Richard Cohen, "Savimbi's Groupies," Washington Post, December 13, 1985; and Carl Rowan, "The Marcos-Savimbi Yoke," Dallas Morning News, January 31, 1986. A more balanced account can be found in Robert S. Greenberger, "Angolan Rebel Leader Beseeches Washington for Support," Wall Street Journal, January 31, 1986.

[31] Williamson Evers, "Will the Real Jonas Savimbi Please Stand Up?" Wall Street Journal, February 11, 1986; and Kwitny, pp. 136, 147-48.

[32] Evers; and Greenberger. The existence of a Savimbi personality cult and Savimbi's socialist inclinations emerge even from friendly accounts of the insurgency. See Wheeler, "UNITA in Angola," pp. 25-27. Savimbi's own comments about the "need" for socialism can be found in ibid., pp. 26-27.

[33] A discussion of the vital role played by tribal factors in the Angolan civil war can be found in Kwitny, pp. 132-36, 147.

[34] Wheeler, "From Rovuma to Maputo," pp. 32-34, 36. A concise and balanced discussion of Mozambique's rival factions is contained in Sam Levy, "Mozambique Isn't About to Sever Ties With Moscow," Wall Street Journal, January 30, 1986.

[35] Wheeler, "From Rovuma to Maputo," pp. 36-37.

[36] "I'm a Contra Too," Newsweek, March 24, 1986, p. 20.

[37] Examples of such arguments include J. William Middendorf II, "Nicaragua: The Stolen Revolution," Department of State Bulletin (June 1985): 83-85; Charles Krauthammer, "Support the Contras," Washington Post, January 11, 1985; Ronald Reagan, "Nicaragua," Department of State Bulletin (August 1985): 88; and W. Bruce Weinrod, "Thirty Myths About Nicaragua," Heritage Lecture no. 54 (Washington: Heritage Foundation, 1986).

[38] "Report Accuses Rebels, Nicaragua of Abuses," Dallas Morning News, March 6, 1985; Harry Anderson, et al., "Heroes or Terrorists?" Newsweek, April 29, 1985, pp. 42-44. For a less than credible U.S. response to these allegations, see "CIA Denies Contra Atrocities," Washington Post, February 3, 1986.

[39] Examples of such interpretations include Tom Wicker, "Unmasking Contra Pretense," New York Times, March 18, 1986; Mary McGrory, "Bad Reviews on Nicaragua," Dallas Morning News, March 11, 1985; and Dieter Eich and Carlos Rincon, The Contras: Interviews with Anti-Sandinistas (San Francisco: Synthesis Publications, 1985).

[40] "Rebel Groups Unite to Oppose Regime Ruling Nicaragua," Washington Times, June 13, 1985; Edward Cody, "Pastora's Lonely Battle," Washington Post, January 18, 1985; and Oldemar Ramirez, "Eden Pastora, Followers to Ask Asylum," Washington Post, May 15, 1986. Alfonso Robelo, one of ARDE's principal leaders, stresses a commitment to "social democracy" and identifies himself as a member of the "democratic Left." See Alfonso Robelo, "The Nicaraguan Democratic Struggle: Our Unfinished Revolution," Atlantic Community Quarterly (Fall 1985): 269-70. Serious factionalism continues to trouble the UNO. See Clifford Kraus, "Contra Moderates Seek to Limit the Role of Group's Former Somoza Guardsmen," Wall Street Journal, May 15, 1986.

[41] Shirley Christian, Nicaragua: Revolution in the Family (New York: Random House, 1985) pp. 176-77, 196-201.

[42] Wheeler, "The Contras in Nicaragua," pp. 34-36.

[43] A report prepared by the Congressional Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus in 1985 claimed that 46 of 48 top contra military leaders were former National Guardsmen. FDN leaders responded that only 12 could be legitimately classified as such. See "Rightist, Paramilitary U.S. Groups Aiding Contras, Report Says," Dallas Morning News, April 19, 1985; and Chris Hedges, "Anatomy of an Army, Dallas Morning News, April 14, 1985.

[44] Wheeler, "The Contras in Nicaragua," p. 34; and Christian, p. 176.

[45] Glenn Frankel, "Angola Seen Seeking More Soviet Aid if U.S. Backs Rebels," Washington Post, February 1, 1986.

[46] Frederick Kempe, "Reagan Ready to Risk Ties With Soviets," Wall Street Journal, March 31, 1986; and Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, "Stingers for Savimbi," Washington Post, March 31, 1986.

[47] John C. Whitehead, "Afghanistan's Struggle for Freedom," Department of State Bulletin (February 1986): 1-3; and Ronald Reagan, "Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan," Department of State Bulletin (February 1986): 22.

[48] Hart, pp. 10-12.

[49] Robert Jaster, "Pitfalls in Aiding the Angolan Rebels," Wall Street Journal, December 11, 1985; David Ottaway, "President Pledges to Aid Savimbi," Washington Post, January 31, 1986; Glenn Frankel, "Savimbi's Visit Puzzles Southern Africans," Washington Post, February 3, 1986; and Smith, p. 62.

[50] Richard P. Cronin, "No Going Back to a Pre-Invasion Afghanistan," Wall Street Journal, December 16, 1985. Cronin notes that the Westernized pre-revolutionary elite has been "decimated."

[51] Trimble.

[52] Jossef Bodansky, "The Bear on the Chessboard: Soviet Military Gains in Afghanistan," World Affairs (Winter 1982-1983): 273-98; and George Lenczowski, "The Soviet Union and the Persian Gulf: An Encirclement Strategy," International Journal 2 (1982): 307-27.

[53] Gerald F. Seib, "Persian Gulf Declines as Vital Highway for Mideastern Oil," Wall Street Journal, January 24, 1986; and Don Oberdorfer and David B. Ottaway, "Persian Gulf Slips Down Priority List," Washington Post, February 13, 1986.

[54] Kirkpatrick, "Anti-Communist Insurgency"; Michael Ledeen, "Fighting Back," Commentary (August 1985): 28-31; and Charles Krauthammer, "The Poverty of Realism," New Republic, February 16, 1986, pp. 14-22. Skeptical analyses of the Reagan Doctrine may be found in Christopher Layne, "The Real Conservative Agenda," Foreign Policy (Winter 1985-86): 73-93; and Stephen S. Rosenfeld, The Guns of July," Foreign Affairs (Spring 1986): 698-714.

[55] Robert Poole, Jr., "Franchising Freedom," Reason (June/July 1985): 16. See also William Safire, "Making Contra War Private," Dallas Morning News, February 20, 1985.

[56] Wheeler, "The New Liberation Movements," p. 44; Robert S. Greenberger, "Right-Wing Groups Join in Capitol Hill Crusade to Help Savimbi's Anti-Communists in Angola," Wall Street Journal, November 25, 1985; "A Little Help from Friends"; Tomsho; and Chardy.

1986 The Cato Institute
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