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As is perhaps fitting for a "capitalist" society, Americans tend to address national security issues in monetary terms. In the early 1950s, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles counseled that "the Soviet Communists are planning what they call 'an entire historical era,' and we should do the same. They seek, through many types of maneuvers, gradually to divide and weaken the free nations by overextending them in efforts which, as Lenin put it, are 'beyond their Strength, so that they come to practical bankruptcy.'"
In 1942, shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and removed any lingering doubts about America's total involvement in world affairs, the Voice of America opened its inaugural foreign broadcast with the announcement: "Daily at this time we shall speak to you about America and the war. The news may be good or bad. We shall tell you the truth."
Most discussions of U.S. policy in Central America have focused on operational questions: Should the United States support the Contras seeking to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua? Should we condition military aid to El Salvador on curbing the death squads? These are the issues debated too by the Kissinger Commission on Central America, whose report was presented to President Reagan earlier this year. They are important, vexing, and decisive. But they are also essentially unanswerable on their own terms.
Opposition politics in India have come to resemble those celebrated marriages of film stars: the initial blaze of publicity, the enormous public attention, the fervent oaths of fealty, then the brief honeymoon, when past recriminations are forgotten, areas of commonality are discovered, and each party tries to convince a credulous media and a skeptical public that this time around it can work. And through it all (to push the metaphor a little further) the "other woman"—she who wrecked the previous marriage—looks on with a quiet smile.