Central America: U.S. policy and its critics

by Edward Gonzalez

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This paper advises the present administration to consider a three-front approach to the Nicaraguan problem: (1) Security concerns must be given primacy and decoupled from the issue of social change in Nicaragua and the rest of Central America. (2) Ideological goals or preferences should become secondary and be cast in defensive terms. (3) The United States should exhaust all political avenues in seeking a peaceful solution to the Nicaraguan problem, but it must also back its diplomacy with strong security measures and military pressures. The United States could thus head off a potentially more adverse position in the future, buttress the Contadora process in developing effective procedures to assure regional stability, and oblige the Sandinistas to consider the costs of endangering Central American security and risking U.S. retaliation rather than working out a peaceful solution.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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