WHILE JEANNE KIRKPATRICK'S foreign policy may be too harshly pragmatical to be morally justifiable, as well as being overly short-sighted, the majority editorial commits a far more grievous error: By condemning U.S. actions which may be somewhat detrimental to human rights in Latin America, it fails to deal with the likelihood that total withdrawal from involvement in Latin American affairs will produce human tragedy on a far greater scale throughout this troubled region. For such withdrawal--no matter what hopes the majority would like to express about the possibility of prompting the Soviets and Cubans to also leave the area--can only lead to the creation of more Cubas throughout the Latin American continent.
The majority opinion is heavily rooted in the false mythology of the "Peasant Revolutions." While many governments throughout Latin America have, at the least, allowed repressive political and economic structures to exploit the farmers and workers of these countries, to suggest that most of the revolutionaries are indeed peasants is to mock the history of such revolutions, and to further suggest that any movement heavily supported by Cuba and the Soviet Union will improve the life of the peasants--one would merely have to ask the proletariat in, say, Afghanistan and Ethiopia if their conditions have improved since their Cuban- and Soviet-supported "People's Revolutions" took place.
At the least, one must agree with Kirkpatrick when she says that rightist authoritarian regimes are more likely to be democratic than, say, Cuba or China. At present, the possibility of, say, Cuba or Poland becoming free and democratic is certainly absurd; yet in the past few years three Latin American countries, and only one with the prompting of President Carter--the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru--have all peacefully discarded their military regimes.
Indeed, it is this peaceful transition that the United States should encourage, for it is equally absurd to suggest that all revolutionaries in Latin America are either Sovietstooges or completely unjustified in their actions. Oil-rich Venezuela has realized this, and has used its social conscience both at home and abroad to improve the status of human rights throughout the region. A coherent U.S. foreign policy in Latin America should be firmly grounded in cooperation with Venezuela--and perhaps newly rich Mexico, which appears to be taking a similar approach--to improve the conditions of the Latin American people, rather than in the approach of Neville Chamberlain.