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The curmudgeon sets us straight.

Well, these past few weeks have been a strenuous time for those of us who support the Second American Revolution and want to defend President Reagan against the yapping of his rad-lib critics in the press. As that great man Jesse Helms said, "The real threat to our constitutional system is on our TV screens every evening and on the front pages of our newspapers every day."

For starters, at his last press conference the President warned the commie Nics to say uncle. About time we told off that "militarist behemoth"--which is what Gen. Paul F. Gorman, former commander of U.S. forces in Central America, aptly called Nicaragua. We seem to forget that, as Presidential assistant Faith Whittlesey put it recently, Nicaragua is only two days' drive from the Texas border. Even if you allow three days, considering the state of the Mexican highway system, those grubby bandits could be swarming across the Rio Grande Before we know it.

At his press conference, the President also denounced Soviet violations of strategic arms agreements. "They were taking nuclear-missile submarines out of action but they were cutting them down and rbuilding them as cruise-missile-carrying submarines," he said. But the usual detractors went to work. Reuters (a foreign news agency, incidentally) dug up a White House report of February 1 which stated, "The Soviet Union's conversion of a dismantled SSBN into a submarine longer than the original and carrying modern, long-range cruise missiles is not a violation of its political commitment under the SALT I interim agreement." Trust the Reagan-hating New York Times to run this story under the impudent headline "President Contradicts Study Sent to Congress."

Fortunately, an Administration official (probably Pat Buchanan, the new resident expert on the venality of the press) quickly pointed out that Moscow had at least violated the spirit of agreements to limit sea-based nuclear weapons, because long-range cruise missiles are as great a threat to the United States and its allies as are ballistic missiles.

Is it any wonder that George A. Keyworth 2d, director of the White House of Science and Technology, decided to put his foot down? On February 22 he declared that "the press is trying to tear down America" and that most journalists seem "to be drawn from a relatively narrow fringe element on the far left of our society." They favor an "ideal world where, for example, foreign policy is dominated by human rights." I sleep better at night, knowing that Keyworth is in the White House.

George Shultz has also been supporting his chief 200 percent. At a press conference last month, he shoved Nicaragua behind the Iron Curtain, where it belongs. He also one-upped the rad-libs, who keep complaining because Chile doesn't have free elections, by sending Langhorne A. Motley, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, to Santiago. As he departed, Motley said that Chile's future was "in good hands" under Gen. Augusto Pinochet, and that elections are possibly scheduled for maybe as early as 1989! Guatemala's another country the so-called human rights advocates complain about, even though its government has promised elections next year. Never mind that none of the parties there favor land reform; obviously no one wants it. Only thirty-one years ago, the C.I.A. ousted the left-of-center Arbenz regime and installed Castillo Armas and the military. And now--elections! Score another touchdown for the C.I.A., which successfully eliminated that old crackpot Mohammed Mossadegh a year earlier and put the Shah on the throne of Iran, where he'd still be if Jimmy Carter and his detenteniks, who gave away the Panama Canal, hadn't pulled the rug out from under him.

Last month, there was some disagreement between the Defense Department and the C.I.A. about Soviet military expenditures. (The C.I.A. was quoted as reporting a slowdown, while Weinberger said the buildup is unabated.) O.K., there's bound to be little disagreements in any large organization, and that's a healthy thing.

But there was unanimity on New Zealand's craven refusal to allow port calls by U.S. ships carrying nuclear weapons. As Assistant Secretary of State Paul Wolfowitz said in Honolulu, that policy will increase the threat of nuclear war. Anyone who looks at a map can see that our ships would have to refuel in New Zealand on their way to bombard Vladivostok if the Hawaiian Islands were nuked in another Pearl Harbor.

What else? Oh, yes. Beryl Sprinkel, the new chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, came right out and said that a big deficit doesn't drive up interest rates. It's good to know we've got a sound economist in the White House at least, instead of that gloomy gus Martin Feldstein, who was always complaining.

Another complainer we could do without is the president of Amtrak, W. Graham Claytor Jr., who bewailed the Administration's plans to end the railroad's $684 million subsidy. He claimed it would cost more in the long run to shut the railroad down than to keep it running. What tunnel-visioned people like him don't realize is that $684 million goes a long way toward paying for a bomber and that without a strong defense we won't even have railroads. But you can't argue with bureaucrats. You just have to bite the bullet, wipe out the subsidy and become the first developed country in the world without a passenger rail service. We should think of it as another first for the U.S.A--which was first with the telephone, first with the A-bomb and first on the moon.

Yes, indeed, it's been quite a time, and rest assured there's more to come. For as Thomas Dewey used to say, "Our future lies ahead."
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Title Annotation:policy of Ronald Reagan
Author:Attwood, William
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:editorial
Date:Mar 16, 1985
Previous Article:Chain of fools.
Next Article:Minority report.

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