The situation in Nicaragua is fraught with controversy, and it is not an easy one to grasp. Robert Pastor, a member of the National Security Council staff under President Jimmy Carter, understands the complexity of the issues regarding United States involvement in Nicaragua. With the advantages of hindsight and personal knowledge, he provides startling insight into the series of decisions that contributed to the growing American involvement in Nicaragua’s internal conflict, offering his assessment that the United States became involved with little understanding of the political, economic, and social structure of the country and of the internal factors that were contributing to the conflict. Because of this lack of knowledge, Pastor concludes, United States policy was doomed from the beginning.
This volume is not, however, simply a condemnation of American policy. Rather, by providing a chronology of the decisions that were made, and through a careful description and analysis of the events, the author allows the reader to understand fully the complexity of the issues and the rationale behind each of the decisions in the context of the time in which they were made. Pastor also offers his own conclusions and recommendations for future policy in Nicaragua and elsewhere, based on the lessons of the past.