Tuesday, May 15, 1984
The Michigan Daily
clbe fidbigan B al
Vol. XCIV, No. No. 6-S
94 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by Students at
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board'
IN AN AREA well known for brutal dictator-
ships, Costa Rica has been able to maintain
a relatively stable democracy - with no stan-
ding army - for several decades. Last week,
w6rd came that the Reagan administration
has embarked on a course which may well
change all of that.
Reports from Washington and Costa Rica
now indicate that the State Department has
begun to apply considerable pressure on the
Costa Rican government for a public ex-
pression of "moral support" for the United
States in the widening Central American war.
The idea, apparently, is to use the latest Costa
Rican request for military aid and the recent
Nicaraguan border skirmish as a lever to push
the Costa Ricans out of their delicate
The implications of this shift in policy are
ominous. Even accepting the Reagan ad-
ministration's characterization of Nicaraguan
intentions, an end of Costa Rica neutrality can
only worsen already strained relations
in the region. The change would lend
credibility to Nicaraguan fears of encir-
clement; it would increase the incentive for
Nicaragua to strike out at Costa Rica, by far
the weakest of its neighbors.
Further, a statement of "moral support"
- which would almost inevitably be followed
with the militarization of Costa Rica -
promises to undermine those which make the
nation a model for the region. Costa Rica has
learned what the United States has not: Stan-
ding armies are anathema to fragile
If the goal is to protect the Costa Rica
democracy, there are steps which the ad-
ministration can take far short of forcing an
end to Costa Rican neutrality. The United
States, for example, could urge talks to
establish a demilitarized zone of the Costa
Rica-Nicaragua border. Or the administration
could use its considerable influence to reduce
the activities of the anti-Sandinista bases
within Costa Rica.
The present policy, however, is destined to
create the very problems the administration
seeks to avoid.
Unsigned editorials ap-
pearing on the left side
of this page represent a
majority opinion of the
Daily's Editorial Board.
F ,N .
long run, it
April 3. All
the sort r
Israel in re
Does new U.S. policy
and the threat to us will be all the as unprovoked intervention and
ichael Klare reat thus trigger fresh resentments
against the United States.
GTON - The Reagan ALSO EMBODIED in the new " The claim that terrorist
ation's new anti- policy is the conviction that many groups are supported by hostile
olicy, with its call for terrorists groups are actively governments-while undoubtedly,
ive" and retaliatory aided by established governmen- true in some cases-can rarely be
against suspected ts-particularly those in Libya, fully substantiated, and, if ac-
organizations, raises Iran, Iraq, Syria, and North companied by pre-emptive or
irbing questions about Korea. punitive strikes, could be seen as
n policy. The bottom- A widely cites axample is the unprovoked acts of war against a
on is whether, in the October 1983 truck-bombing of sovereign nation and thus ignite
may actually produce the U.S. Marine compund in full-scale hostilities. Such action
rist violence than the Beirut, which is believed to have would be particularly harmful if
rorism that provoked been engineered by Syrian they caused the United States to
and/or Iranian agents. Such ac- appear as an aggressor, thereby
licy, contained in tivities, Shultz argued, are "a lending popular legitimacy to the
Security Decision weapon of unconventional war anti-American ravings of hostile
138 (NSDD-138), was against democratic societies." regimes.
by President Reagan But while many experts agree FURTHER, envisioning pre-
though contents of the that new measures are needed to emptive U.S. strikes against
are highly classified, protect overseas U.S. interests terrorists and their supporters,
r a tion officials against threats of this sort, it is NSDD-138 would provide a
ged that it permits not at all clear that the ad- rationale for unilateral military
ary and intelligence ministration's vigilante-like ap- action abroad. And because such
to conduct spoiling proach is the best solution to this action-even if directed against
in advance of expec- problem. Several aspects of the suspected terrorist
t strikes, new policy are cause for par- groups-could well result in ex-
W policy "represents a ticular concern: tensive civilian casualties, it
leap in countering * There is no evidence that might ignite a regional conflict
Deputy Assistant punitive raids of the sort en- that would prove very difficult to
of Defense Noel visioned by NSDD-138 will reduce control or contain.
red, taking us "from the incidence of anti-U.S. Certainly the United States
Live mode to the terrorism abroad. Indeed, the needs to do more to protect its
i that pre-active (pre- experience in the Middle East in- citizens and interests abroad
teps are needed." dicates that retaliatory raids against terrorist activity, and
tion to pre-emptive by Israel-which often produce certainly we need to identify and
policy also envisions far more civilian casualties than punish those responsible for
y strikes against those inflicted by the criminal acts of violence. This
nd their supporters of terrorists - created a new crop of will require a greater sharing of
egularly mounted by victims who subsequently seek intelligence with our friends and
esponse to Palestinian revenge in fresh acts of allies and multilateral action to
Israeli civilians and terrorism. The result is a never- isolate and disarm those found
s. ending cycle of violence in responsibleforterroristactions.
ing the ad- retaliation that engenders more But in our determination to
in's policy is a belief terrorism, rather than less. deter such behavior, we must not
ism tends to flourish in " The problem of escalating provoke fresh cycles of violence,
e of rapid and vigorous violence arises with even greater or worse, provide a new rationale
ion. "Once it becomes severity in the case of pre- for global U.S. military interven-
d. that terrorism emptive strikes. While such raids tion.
Secretary of State in theory could reduce the threat
hultz declared April 3, to U.S. citizens and installations Klare wrote this article for
tioners will be bolder, abroad, they are likely to appear Pacific News Service.