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September 30, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-30

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, September 30, 1983

The Michigan Dily

-I

Sinclair -__

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

/

Vol. XCIV - No. 20

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Registered apathy

O N THE surface, Rep. Gerald
Solomon's wedding of financial aid
to draft registration seems to be working.
Beneath the surface, however, there
seems to be another, more powerful
force encouraging young men to
register: that infamous political
apathy among students.
Universities all over the country
report that only a handful of students
have refused to sign statements about
their registration status, and thus have
been denied financial aid.
Three of the state's largest schools -
Michigan State University, Western
Michigan University, and Grand
Valley State College - have not had
anyone refuse to sign the forms. At this
University, only three students have
refused to sign them. And even at
schools like The University of Califor-
nia at Berkeley, a leading school in
student draft protests during the
1960s, few students have refused to
comply with the law.
Solomon, a New York Republican,
credits his law. It is scaring students in
to registering, he says. In support of
his assertion, he points to a 6 percent
rise in the percentage of registered 18-
year-olds since last June.
But Solomon can not take all the
credit himself. He has had a powerful
ally in apathy, the mark of this
generation of students.
It shows. up as low student voting
turnout every year during city elec-

tions, and has surfaced in the last
couple presidential elections. Students,
for the most part, showed little interest
in voting and were of little consequen-
ce.
Now that political indifference
seems to be the key to Solomon's suc-
cess. The great majority of students
don't listen to his, or for that matter
even the Reagan administration's, talk
of responsibility to register or duty to
protect their country. They register
merely because it is less bothersome
than not registering.
Conversely, there are still a full 15
percent of 18-year-old men who are not
registered. Yet there is strikingly little
opposition to the law from them. Ex-
cept for a few highly publicized cases,
they do not seem to have taken any
moral stand against war or the
nation's policies. The only reason they
have not registered is that they have
not been goaded in to doing it yet.
A whole group of people seem to
have made a decision based on
everything except the real issues in-
volved. The vast majority have chosen
the path of least resistance and
registered, the rest just have not got-
ten around to it yet.
At a time when students are not
threatened by any war, or even a draft,
the issues surrounding registration are
abstract. But in a world which seems
to be growing more turbulent, they are
worth a second thought.

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Reagan.Philippine

policy

mustavoid mistakes a la Iran

Cancel out on Marcos

P RESIDENT RONALD Reagan is
scheduled to visit the Philippine
Islands and that nation's embattled
"leader," Ferdinand Marcos, in
November. For the benefit of U.S.-
Philippine relations, the trip should
never take place.
Marcos has ruled the Philippines un-
der martial law for more than a decade
without elections, a free press, and
other basic rights citizens living in a
democracy are supposed to enjoy.
Only recently was martial law "lif-
ted." But the oppression continues.
The events of the last month have
reenforced the belief that Marcos
never should have gotten support from
the United States. Benigno Aquino,
Marcos' leading rival, returned to the
Philippines after years in exile in the
United States and was assassinated as
he stepped off the airplane.
Instead of allowing an open and
thorough investigation of the murder
- which most likely would prove that
Marcos was behind the plot -- Marcos
first tried to blame the communists.
He then set up a weak commission and
prepared to whether a storm of
protest.

And the Philippine people protested.
In riots since Aquino's death more than
a dozen people have died and hundreds
more have been injured. Marcos
responded to these protests by issuing
threats of further restrictions on civil
rights.
Meanwhile, plans for the Reagan
visit continued. Administration of-
ficials have urged the president to
make the trip, saying it will help
stabilize the nation.
What it is likely to do is strain a
relationship with the people of the
Philippines that has been strong and
prosperous for many years. The
Philippines was the- only U.S. colony.
Granted independence in 1946, it has
been a friend for longer. During World
War II the Philippine resistance fought
bravely until General Douglas McAr-
thur returned.
The United States' friendship is with
the Philippine people, not the Marcos,
government.
Reagan's policy for the Philippines
should be one to maintain that frien-
dship, not ruin it. Lending credence to
an oppressive dictator is not the way to
keep friends worth keeping.

By William H. Sullivan
What are the parallels between
the American dilemma in Manila
in 1983 and our problems in
Tehran in 1978? What do we do to
avert a replication in the Philip-
pines of our debacle in Iran?
As someone in the unique
position of having been U.S: am-
bassador to both countries, I am
constantly being asked those
questions these days. I will at-
tempt to provide some brief an-
swers.
FIRST, WHILE THERE are
striking parallels between Iran
and the Philippines, there also
are sharp differences. In Iran,
our roots of association were very
shallow. There were established
only after World War II and they
were involved almost exclusively
with the shah and his armed for-
ces. We had little association with
the rest of the country. In the
Philippines, by contrast, we have
had long and intimate
association. The Philippines was
our, only colony and we governed
it from the beginning of the cen-
tury until the end of World War
II. By that action, we undertook
almost an open-ended commit-
ment to independence and
democracy foraitspeople.
Americans who have not lived in
the Philippines may not realize
how strongly Filipinos feel about
that continuing obligation.
A second major difference con-
cerns the strategic relationships
between our two countries. We
had no formal treaty alliance

with Iran, but, under the Nixon
Doctrine, depended on its armed
forces to act as a surrogate
replacement for the British in
preserving peace and order in the
Persian Gulf. In the Philippines,
by contrast, we have a bilateral
treaty, but Philippine forces do
not have a regional strategic
significance. Instead, the two
large Philippine bases provide
the United States with the ability
to project its military forces in
the western Pacific and beyond in
order to underpin the East Asian
equilibrium that has been
achieved at such great cost.
That equilibrium is of enormous
importance not only to the United
States, but also to Japan, China,
and the Asian states.
As for the similarities, I shall
mention only two. One concerns
the fact that our alliance,
although directed to the people of
the Philippines, is widely per-
ceived as a prop to President
Marcos and as support for a
regime that has patently lost its
political base. When Marcos in-
stituted martial law in 1972, he
had broad political support,
especially among the middle
class. That middle-class support
has new eroded, partly because.
Marcos has stayed too long in of-
fice, partly because the basic
economic and political situation
has not improved, partlyrbecause
of the cavalier way the cronies of
Marcos have treated and ex-
ploited the business community.
As in Iran, the middle class is
now in the streets joining those

who call for Marcos to resign.
ANOTHER SIMILARITY is
that we are dealing with an
authoritarian leader who is ill,
who is taking medication that
may have altered his temper and
his judgement, who ' is being
egged on into extreme positions
by powerful people around him.
The irritable, sputtering figure
we see on television screens as
not the smooth, calculating,
cautious political genius who has
dominated his country for so
long. He doesn't seem to be
moody and morose, as the shah
was, but he has clearly lost his
touch.
The United States, by the very
nature of its association with the
Philippines, must make some
diplomatic choices in the current
circumstances. President
Reagan has a scheduled visit to
Manila in the near future.
Decisions taken concerning that
event will shape our policy and
may, indeed, shape the future of
the Philippines.
Of course, that visit may never
take place because responsible
authorities may conclude they
cannot assure President
Reagan's safety Japan cancelled
an Eisenhower visit 'in 1960 on
those grounds. Or unforeseen
evidence will implicate the Mar-
cos regime directly in the
assassination of Beningo Aquino.
BUT, BARRING developments
of that sort, Washington's
decision about the visit will be
made on foreign policy grounds.
What are the results we wish that
decision to achieve? To answer
this, it's important to recall how
Carter mishandled the Iranian
situation and contributed not only
to the ascendancy of the
Ayatollah Khomeini but the bitter
confrontation that resulted in the
taking of American hostages. He
did so by miscalculating that the
Iranian armed forces, acting on
behalf of the shah, could disperse
and ultimately crush the op-
position in the streets. He con-
sequently continued to embrace
the shah, even after it was
manifest that his regime was
doomed. Carter became the or-
chestra leader on the Iranian
Titanic.
In the case of the Philippines,
the Reagan administration must
avoid that mistake and admit to*
itself that Marcos has run out his
political string. It must see its
obligation and the American
national interests in protecting
the Philippine people from the
chaos and destruction of civil
war. It must resolve to take
positive action, however messy,
to assist a peaceful, orderly, and

democratic transition in Philip-
pine politics. It must recognize
that it is the only instrument that
can lead such transition, but that
it will have the overwhelming
majority of Filipinos as its allies
if it acts quickly, wisely and
decisively.
It is not enough of a policy
decision merely to cancel
President Reagan's trip and
wash our hands of Marcos. That
will give the signal to the most
radical anti-Democratic and anti-
American elements that we are
prepared to see a violent
revolution take place - one that
we can be sure Marcos would
fight tooth and nail. The country
eventually would polarize and a
Filipino Khomeini probably
would emerge.
AT THE OTHER extreme, it
would be a disastrous policy for
President Reagan to follow the
Carter example and encourage
Marcos to hang tough.
Polarization, violence, and chaos
again would be predictable.
The White House should look at
the issue of the scheduled visit as
an opportunity for constructive
American intervention. The
prospect of the visit should be.
used as an anvil against which to
beat out positive action for
political conciliation among
Filipinos. A hard-headed political
colleague of President Reagan
(somebody like Lyn Nofziger),
should be sent to the Philippines
immediately to put together a
formula for political transition
that will be subscribed to by the
Marcos administration and by
the leaders of the democratic op-
position, and endorsed by sueh
respected figures as Jaime Car-
dinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila.
Such a formula. is not incon-
ceivable. Cardinal Sin himself
has proposed one that involves a
return to the constitution of 1935,
with open and free elections in-
ternationally observed. We must
not assume that Marcos would
refuse to agree to that. We owe it
to ourselves and the Filipinos to
find this formula.
If that can be done, President
Reagan's visit can be turned into
a triumph of diplomacy, and he
can be seen as the catalyst for
compromise, appearing on a
platform of Philippine national
reconciliation with Marcos, Car-
dinal Sin and the leaders of the
opposition.
Sullivan is a former U.S.
ambassador to Iran and the
Philippines. He wrote this ar-
ticle for the Pacific News Ser-
vice.
by Berke Breathed

LETTERS TO THE DAILY
Ed. facts missing
To the Daily:

i

.MWiiEANEAN
.....SEA
BEIRUT
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$AISSOUR~

CAM RAJH
. SAIGON
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... TAN SON NHLW
AIRPORr
MY LAI
... DA NAND-
K.E SANH

The Daily's editorial on the
budget cuts made in the School of
Education ("40 percent
necessary," Daily, September
22) was a prime example of
irresponsibility in journalism.
Indeed, "editorial" means
"opinion" but implies knowledge
and research of surrounding fac-
ts. I was disturbed when I read
the statement, "Arid while some
of the research in the school is
significant, much of it - par-
ticularly graduate theses -
ranges from trivial to silly." It
would be of. great interest to see
the data that you collected to
support such a broad
generalization. Furthermore, it
is doubtful that anyone on the
Daily editorial board is truly
qualified (or should I say
educated?) to make such

munity teachers that make a dif-
ference.
Finally, because you are
students, one might expect abit
more sensitivity to the needs and
desires of the students concer-
ned. In reviewing the school, the
regents were not open to student
input and spent very little time
actually reviewing the school (a
couple of hours total!). I would
suggest a much more in depth
look at the facts before you con-
demn us. I for one feel very well
prepared to be a teacher that
makes a difference.
- Tanya Blanchard
September 24
BLOOM COUNTY

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