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Reagan Doctrine

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Subject: Ronald Reagan, Foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration, History of the Soviet Union (1982–91), Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Operation Cyclone
Collection: 20Th Century in International Relations, 20Th-Century Conflicts, Anti-Communism in the United States, Anti-Imperialism, Central Intelligence Agency, Cold War History of the United States, Conservatism in the United States, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Foreign Policy Doctrines of the United States, Guerrilla Warfare, History of the Foreign Relations of the United States, History of the United States (1980–91), Military Doctrines, Political Terminology of the United States, Presidency of Ronald Reagan, Soviet Union–united States Relations, United States Intelligence Operations, United States National Security Policy
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Reagan Doctrine

This article is part of a series about
Ronald Reagan

  • Governor of California

President of the United States

First term

Second term


The Reagan Doctrine was a strategy orchestrated and implemented by the United States under the Reagan Administration to overwhelm the global influence of the Soviet Union during the final years of the Cold War. While the doctrine lasted less than a decade, it was the centerpiece of United States foreign policy from the early 1980s until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

Under the Reagan Doctrine, the United States provided overt and covert aid to anti-communist guerrillas and resistance movements in an effort to "roll back" Soviet-backed communist governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The doctrine was designed to diminish Soviet influence in these regions as part of the administration's overall Cold War strategy.


  • Background 1
  • Origins of the Reagan Doctrine 2
    • Carter administration and Afghanistan 2.1
    • Heritage Foundation initiatives 2.2
    • Reagan administration advocates 2.3
    • Other advocates 2.4
    • Phrase's origin 2.5
  • "Rollback" replaces "containment" 3
    • Controversy over Nicaragua 3.1
    • Covert implementation 3.2
  • Congressional votes 4
  • Reagan Doctrine and the Cold War's end 5
  • Thatcher's view 6
  • Iran–Contra Affair 7
  • Death of Savimbi 8
  • End of Reagan Doctrine 9
  • See also 10
    • Reagan Doctrine in popular culture 10.1
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13
    • Description and history 13.1
    • Academic sources 13.2


The Reagan Doctrine followed in the tradition of U.S. presidents developing foreign policy "doctrines", which were designed to reflect the challenges facing international relations of the times, and propose foreign policy solutions to them. The practice began with the Monroe Doctrine of President James Monroe in 1823, and continued with the Roosevelt Corollary, sometimes called the Roosevelt Doctrine, introduced by Theodore Roosevelt in 1904.

The current post–World War II tradition of Presidential doctrines started with the 1947 Truman Doctrine, under which the United States provided support to the governments of Greece and Turkey as part of a Cold War strategy to keep those two nations out of the Soviet sphere of influence. The Truman Doctrine was followed by the Eisenhower Doctrine, the Kennedy Doctrine, the Johnson Doctrine, the Nixon Doctrine, and the Carter Doctrine, all of which defined the foreign policy approaches of these respective U.S. presidents on some of the largest global challenges of their administrations.

Origins of the Reagan Doctrine

Carter administration and Afghanistan

"To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom."

U.S. President Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983 [1]
President Reagan meeting with Afghan Mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office in 1983

At least one component of the Reagan Doctrine technically pre-dated the Reagan Presidency. In Afghanistan, the Carter administration began providing limited covert military assistance to Afghanistan's mujahideen in an effort to drive the Soviets out of the nation, or at least raise the military and political cost of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The policy of aiding the mujahideen in their war against the Soviet occupation was originally proposed by Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and was implemented by U.S. intelligence services. It enjoyed broad bipartisan political support.

Democratic congressman Charlie Wilson's War.[2]

Wilson teamed with CIA manager Gust Avrakotos and formed a team of a few dozen insiders who greatly enhanced the support for the Mujahideen, funneling it through Zia ul-Haq's ISI. Avrakotos and Wilson charmed leaders from various anti-Soviet countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and China to increase support for the rebels. Avrakotos hired Michael G. Vickers, a young Paramilitary Officer, to enhance the guerilla's odds by revamping the tactics, weapons, logistics, and training used by the Mujahideen.[2] Michael Pillsbury, a Pentagon official, and Vincent Cannistraro pushed the CIA to supply the Stinger missile to the rebels.[2] President Reagan's Covert Action program has been given credit for assisting in ending the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.[3][4]

Heritage Foundation initiatives

With the arrival of the Reagan administration, the Heritage Foundation and other conservative foreign policy think tanks saw a political opportunity to significantly expand Carter's Afghanistan policy into a more global "doctrine", including U.S. support to anti-communist resistance movements in Soviet-allied nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. According to political analysts Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould, "it was the Heritage Foundation that translated theory into concrete policy. Heritage targeted nine nations for rollback: Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iran, Laos, Libya, Nicaragua, and Vietnam".[5]

Throughout the 1980s, the Heritage Foundation's foreign policy expert on the Third World, Michael Johns, the foundation's principal Reagan Doctrine advocate, visited with resistance movements in Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and other Soviet-supported nations and urged the Reagan administration to initiate or expand military and political support to them. Heritage Foundation foreign policy experts also endorsed the Reagan Doctrine in two of their Mandate for Leadership books, which provided comprehensive policy advice to Reagan administration officials.[6]

The result was that, in addition to Afghanistan, the Reagan Doctrine was rather quickly applied in Angola and Nicaragua, with the United States providing military support to the [7]

Following these victories, Johns and the Heritage Foundation urged further expanding the Reagan Doctrine to Ethiopia, where they argued that the Ethiopian famine was a product of the military and agricultural policies of Ethiopia's Soviet-supported Mengistu Haile Mariam government. Johns and Heritage also argued that Mengistu's decision to permit a Soviet naval and air presence on the Red Sea ports of Eritrea represented a strategic challenge to U.S. security interests in the Middle East and North Africa.[8]

The Heritage Foundation and the Reagan administration also sought to apply the Reagan Doctrine in Cambodia. The largest resistance movement fighting Cambodia's communist government was largely made up of members of the former Khmer Rouge regime, whose human rights record was among the worst of the 20th century. Therefore, Reagan authorized the provision of aid to a smaller Cambodian resistance movement, a coalition called the Khmer People's National Liberation Front,[9] known as the KPNLF and then run by Son Sann; in an effort to force an end to the Vietnamese occupation. Eventually, the Vietnamese withdrew, and Cambodia's communist regime fell.[10] Then, under United Nations supervision, free elections were held.[11]

While the Reagan Doctrine enjoyed strong support from the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, the libertarian-oriented Cato Institute opposed the Reagan Doctrine, arguing in 1986 that "most Third World struggles take place in arenas and involve issues far removed from legitimate American security needs. U.S. involvement in such conflicts expands the republic's already overextended commitments without achieving any significant prospective gains. Instead of draining Soviet military and financial resources, we end up dissipating our own."[12]

Even Cato, however, conceded that the Reagan Doctrine had "fired the enthusiasm of the conservative movement in the United States as no foreign policy issue has done in decades". While opposing the Reagan Doctrine as an official governmental policy, Cato instead urged Congress to remove the legal barriers prohibiting private organizations and citizens from supporting these resistance movements.[13]

Reagan administration advocates

The U.S.-supported Nicaraguan contras.

Within the Reagan administration, the doctrine was quickly embraced by nearly all of Reagan's top national security and foreign policy officials, including Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, and a series of Reagan National Security advisers including John Poindexter, Frank Carlucci, and Colin Powell.[14]

Reagan himself was a vocal proponent of the policy. Seeking to expand Congressional support for the doctrine in the 1985 State of the Union Address in February 1985, Reagan said: "We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives...on every continent, from Afghanistan to defy Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense".

As part of his effort to gain Congressional support for the Nicaraguan contras, Reagan labeled the contras "the moral equivalent of our founding fathers", which was controversial because the contras had shown a disregard for human rights.[15] There also were allegations that some members of the contra leadership were involved in cocaine trafficking.[16]

Reagan and other conservative advocates of the Reagan Doctrine advocates also argued that the doctrine served U.S. foreign policy and strategic objectives and was a moral imperative against the former Soviet Union, which Reagan, his advisers, and supporters labeled an "evil empire".

Other advocates

Other early conservative advocates for the Reagan Doctrine included influential conservative activist Grover Norquist, who ultimately became a registered UNITA lobbyist and an economic adviser to Savimbi's UNITA movement in Angola,[17] and former Reagan speechwriter and current U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who made several secret visits with the mujahideen in Afghanistan and returned with glowing reports of their bravery against the Soviet occupation.[18] Rohrabacher was led to Afghanistan by his contact with the mujahideen, Jack Wheeler.

Phrase's origin

In 1985, as U.S. support was flowing to the Mujahideen, Savimbi's UNITA, and the Nicaraguan contras, columnist Charles Krauthammer, in an essay for Time magazine, labeled the policy the "Reagan Doctrine," and the name stuck.[19]

"Rollback" replaces "containment"

U.S.-supported UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.

The Reagan Doctrine was especially significant because it represented a substantial shift in the post–World War II foreign policy of the United States. Prior to the Reagan Doctrine, U.S. foreign policy in the Cold War was rooted in "John Foster Dulles, and other post–World War II U.S. foreign policy experts. In January 1977, four years prior to becoming president, Reagan bluntly stated, in a conversation with Richard V. Allen, his basic expectation in relation to the Cold War. "My idea of American policy toward the Soviet Union is simple, and some would say simplistic," he said. "It is this: We win and they lose. What do you think of that?"[20]

Although a similar policy of "rollback" had been considered on a few occasions during the Cold War, the U.S. government, fearing an escalation of the Cold War and possible nuclear conflict, chose not to confront the Soviet Union directly. With the Reagan Doctrine, those fears were set aside and the United States began to openly confront Soviet-supported governments through support of rebel movements in the doctrine's targeted countries.

One perceived benefit of the Reagan Doctrine was the relatively low cost of supporting guerrilla forces compared to the Soviet Union's expenses in propping up client states. Another benefit was the lack of direct involvement of American troops, which allowed the United States to confront Soviet allies without sustaining casualties. Especially since the September 11 attacks, some Reagan Doctrine critics have argued that, by facilitating the transfer of large amounts of weapons to various areas of the world and by training military leaders in these regions, the Reagan Doctrine actually contributed to "blowback" by strengthening some political and military movements that ultimately developed hostility toward the United States, such as al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.[21] However, scholars such as Jason Burke, Steve Coll, Peter Bergen, Christopher Andrew, and Vasily Mitrokhin have argued that Osama Bin Laden was "outside of CIA eyesight" and that there is "no support" in any "reliable source" for "the claim that the CIA-funded bin Laden or any of the other Arab volunteers who came to support the mujahideen".[22] However, the American aid that was given to Pakistans ISI to give to the mujahideen, created long lasting links between mujahideen and Pakistans secret service. Later, during the Afghan civil war Pakistan sought to promote a faction that would promote its interests, and potentially help Pakistan in a feared new conflict with India. This led to Pakistani support for the rise of the Taliban, who were later willing to become allies of Al-Qaeda.

Controversy over Nicaragua

Historian Greg Grandin described a disjuncture between official ideals preached by the United States and actual U.S. support for terrorism. “Nicaragua, where the United States backed not a counter insurgent state but anti-communist

  • The Reagan Doctrine: Sources of American Conduct in the Cold War's Last Chapter, by Mark P. Lagon, Praeger Publishers, 1994.
  • The Great Transition: American-Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War, by Raymond L. Garthoff, Brookings Institution, 1994.
  • Deciding to Intervene: The Reagan Doctrine and American Foreign Policy, by James M. Scott, Duke University Press, 1996.
  • "Freedom fighters in Angola: Test Case for the Reagan Doctrine", The Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives, Georgetown University, November 16, 1985.
  • "The Lessons of Afghanistan", by Michael Johns, Policy Review magazine, Spring 1987.
  • "A U.S. Strategy to Foster Human Rights in Ethiopia", by Michael Johns, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder # 692, February 23, 1989.
  • "The Coming Winds of Democracy in Angola", by Jonas Savimbi, Heritage Foundation Lecture # 217, October 4, 1989.
  • "Savimbi's Elusive Victory in Angola", by Michael Johns, Congressional Record, October 26, 1989.
  • "The Principles of Conservatism", by Honorable Margaret Thatcher, Heritage Foundation Lecture, December 10, 1997.
  • "The Ash Heap of History: President Reagan's Westminster Address 20 Years Later", by Charles Krauthammer, Heritage Foundation Lecture, June 3, 2002.
  • "U.S. Aid to Anti-Communist Rebels: The 'Reagan Doctrine' and its Pitfalls", by Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato Policy Analysis # 74, Cato Institute, June 24, 1986.
  • "The Contras, Cocaine, and Covert Operations", by Gary Webb, National Security Archive, George Washington University, August 1996.
  • "How We Ended the Cold War", by John Tirman, The Nation, October 14, 1999.
  • "Think Tank Fosters Bloodshed, Terrorism", The Daily Cougar, August 25, 2008.

Academic sources

Description and history

External links

Further reading

  1. ^ Message on the Observance of Afghanistan Day by U.S. President Ronald Reagan, March 21, 1983
  2. ^ a b c Crile, George (2003). Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History. Atlantic Monthly Press, page 246, 285, 302, and elsewhere
  3. ^
  4. ^ Victory: The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Paperback) by Peter Schweizer, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994 page 213
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "The Coming Winds of Democracy in Angola," by Jonas Savimbi, Heritage Foundation Lecture #217, October 5, 1989.
  8. ^ "A U.S. Strategy to Foster Human Rights in Ethiopia, by Michael Johns, Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #692, February 23, 1989.
  9. ^ Far Eastern Economic Review, December 22, 1988, details the extensive fighting between the U.S.-backed forces and the Khmer Rouge.
  10. ^ magazine, February 1988.The World and I"Cambodia at a Crossroads", by Michael Johns,
  11. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolution 745. S/RES/745(1992) 28 February 1992. Retrieved 2008-04-09.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "The Contras and Cocaine", Progressive Review, testimony to U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing on the Allegations of CIA Ties to Nicaraguan Contra Rebels and Crack Cocaine in American Cities, October 23, 1996.
  17. ^ , March"Savimbi's Shell Game,"
  18. ^ , September 17, 2001.Cooperative History Research Commons"Profile: Dana Rohrabacher,"
  19. ^ "The Reagan Doctrine", by Charles Krauthammer, Time magazine, April 1, 1985.
  20. ^ The Man Who Won the Cold War, by Richard V. Allen
  21. ^ , August 25, 2008.The Cougar"Think Tank Fosters Bloodshed, Terrorism,"
  22. ^ See Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda (Penguin, 2003), p59; Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden (Penguin, 2004), p87; Peter Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know (Free Press, 2006), pp60-1; Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive II: The KGB and the World (Penguin, 2006), p579n48.
  23. ^ Grandin, Greg. Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, The United States and the Rise of the New Imperialism, Henry Holt & Company 2007, 89
  24. ^ Grandin, Greg. Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, The United States and the Rise of the New Imperialism, Henry Holt & Company 2007, 90
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Appraisals of the ICJ's Decision. Nicaragua vs United State (Merits)"
  31. ^ Dissenting Opinion of Judge Schwebel, Nicaragua v. United States of America – Merits, ICJ, June 27, 1986, Factual Appendix, paras. 15-8, 22-5. See also Sandinista admissions in Miami Herald, July 18, 1999.
  32. ^ Roger Miranda and William Ratliff, The Civil War in Nicaragua (Transaction, 1993), pp116-8.
  33. ^ John Norton Moore, The Secret War in Central America (University Publications of America, 1987) p143n94 (2,000 killings); Roger Miranda and William Ratliff, The Civil War in Nicaragua (Transaction, 1993), p193 (3,000 disappearances); Insight on the News, July 26, 1999 (14,000 atrocities).
  34. ^ Humberto Belli, Breaking Faith (Puebla Institute, 1985), pp124, 126-8.
  35. ^ Robert S. Leiken, Why Nicaragua Vanished (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), pp148-9, 159. See also Robert P. Hager, “The Origins of the Contra War in Nicaragua,” Terrorism and Political Violence, Spring 1998.
  36. ^ Glazov, Jamie, Remembering Sandinsta Genocide, FrontPage Magazine, June 5, 2002.
  37. ^ A Twilight Struggle: American Power and Nicaragua, 1977-1990, Robert Kagan, Simon & Schuster, 1996.
  38. ^ "It Was Reagan Who Tore Down That Wall," Dinesh D'Souza, Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2004.
  39. ^ "Charlie Wilson's War Was Really America's War," by Michael Johns, January 19, 2008.
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ , End Press, 1989.The Reagan Doctrine: Third World RollackExcerpted from
  43. ^ "The Soviet Decision to Withdraw, 1986-1988" U.S. Library of Congress.


Reagan Doctrine in popular culture

See also

In Nicaragua, the Contra War ended after the Sandinista government, facing military and political pressure, agreed to new elections, in which the contras' political wing participated, in 1990. In Angola, an agreement in 1989 met Savimbi's demand for the removal of Soviet, Cuban and other military troops and advisers from Angola. Also in 1989, in relation to Afghanistan, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev labeled the war against the U.S.-supported mujahideen a "bleeding wound" and ended the Soviet occupation of the country.[43]

The Reagan Doctrine, while closely associated with the foreign policy of Bush Doctrine, who increased military spending from the former presidency of Bill Clinton.

Tomb of Afghan mujahideen resistance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud, in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley.

End of Reagan Doctrine

In February 2002, UNITA's Jonas Savimbi was killed by Angolan military forces in an ambush in eastern Angola. Savimbi was succeeded by a series of UNITA leaders, but the movement was so closely associated with Savimbi that it never recovered the political and military clout it held at the height of its influence in the late 1980s.

Death of Savimbi

U.S. funding for the Contras, who opposed the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, was obtained from covert sources. The U.S. Congress did not authorize sufficient funds for the Contras' efforts, and the Boland Amendment barred further funding. In 1986, in an episode that became known as The Iran–Contra affair, the Reagan administration illegally facilitated the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an arms embargo, in the hope that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras.

Iran–Contra Affair

Among others, Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, has credited the Reagan Doctrine with aiding the end of the Cold War. In December 1997, Thatcher said that the Reagan Doctrine "proclaimed that the truce with communism was over. The West would henceforth regard no area of the world as destined to forego its liberty simply because the Soviets claimed it to be within their sphere of influence. We would fight a battle of ideas against communism, and we would give material support to those who fought to recover their nations from tyranny".[41]

Thatcher's view

[40]However, there is considerable disagreement over the importance of Reagan's role in the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Soviet troops withdrawing from Afghanistan in 1988, following a nine-year occupation.

All of these developments were Reagan Doctrine victories, the doctrine's advocates argue, laying the ground for the ultimate dissolution of the Soviet Union.[38] Michael Johns later argued that "the Reagan-led effort to support freedom fighters resisting Soviet oppression led successfully to the first major military defeat of the Soviet Union...Sending the Red Army packing from Afghanistan proved one of the single most important contributing factors in one of history's most profoundly positive and important developments".[39]

In Nicaragua, pressure from the Contras led the Sandinstas to end the State of Emergency, and they subsequently lost the 1990 elections. In Afghanistan, the mujahideen bled the Soviet Union's military and paved the way for Soviet military defeat. In Angola, Savimbi's resistance ultimately led to a decision by the Soviet Union and Cuba to bring their troops and military advisors home from Angola as part of a negotiated settlement. In Cambodia, the Vietnamese withdrew and their allied government collapsed.

As arms flowed to the contras, Savimbi's UNITA and the mujahideen, the Reagan Doctrine's advocates argued that the doctrine was yielding constructive results for U.S. interests and global democracy.

Reagan Doctrine and the Cold War's end

While the doctrine benefited from strong support from the Reagan administration, the Heritage Foundation and several influential Members of Congress, many votes on critical funding for resistance movements, especially the Nicaraguan contras, were extremely close, making the Reagan Doctrine one of the more contentious American political issues of the late 1980s.[37]

Congressional votes

As the Reagan administration set about implementing the Heritage Foundation plan in Afghanistan, Angola, and Nicaragua, it first attempted to do so covertly, not as part of official policy. "The Reagan government's initial implementation of the Heritage plan was done covertly", according to the book Rollback, "following the longstanding custom that containment can be overt but rollback should be covert." Ultimately, however, the administration supported the policy more openly.

Covert implementation

Jamie Glazov, comparing the Sandinistas to the Khmer Rouge, wrote, "the Sandinistas inflicted a ruthless forcible relocation of tens of thousands of Indians from their land. Like Stalin, they used state-created famine as a weapon against these 'enemies of the people.' The Sandinista army committed myriad atrocities against the Indian population, killing and imprisoning approximately 15,000 innocent people..."[36]

Supporters of the Reagan administration have pointed out that the United States had been the largest provider of aid to Nicaragua, and twice offered to resume aid if the Sandinstas agreed to stop arming the communist insurgency against the military government in El Salvador.[31] Former official Roger Miranda wrote that "Washington could not ignore Sandinista attempts to overthrow Central American governments."[32] Nicaragua’s Permanent Commission on Human Rights condemned Sandinista human rights violations, recording at least 2,000 murders in the first six months and 3,000 disappearances in the first few years. It has since documented 14,000 cases of torture, rape, kidnapping, mutilation and murder.[33] The UN International Commission of Jurists found that the Sandinista People’s Courts aimed to suppress all political opposition. The Permanent Commission on Human Rights identified 6,000 political prisoners. The Sandinistas admitted to forcing 180,000 peasants into resettlement camps.[34] Leading Sandinistas saw the revolt as a popular uprising. The Contras became "a campesino movement with its own leadership" (Luis Carrion); they had "a large social base in the countryside" (Orlando Nunez); "the integration of thousands of peasants into the counterrevolutionary army" was provoked by "the policies, limitations and errors of Sandinismo" (Alejandro Bendana); "many landless peasants went to war" to avoid the state collectives, and Contra commanders "were small farmers, many of them without any ties to Somocismo, who had supplanted the former [Somoza] National Guard officers" (Sergio Ramirez). Thus, it is not universally accepted that the majority of Contras resorted to terroristic tactics.[35]

The International Court of Justice, when judging the case of Nicaragua v. United States in 1984, found that the United states was obligated to pay reparations to Nicaragua, because it had violated international law by actively supporting the Contras in their rebellion and by mining the Naval waters of Nicaragua.[29] The United States refused to participate in the proceedings after the Court rejected its argument that the ICJ lacked jurisdiction to hear the case. The U.S. later blocked the enforcement of the judgment by exercising its veto power in the United Nations Security Council and so prevented Nicaragua from obtaining any actual compensation.[30]

Similarly, former diplomat Clara Nieto, in her book Masters of War, charged that "the CIA launched a series of terrorist actions from the “mothership” off Nicaragua’s coast. In September 1983, she charged the agency attacked Puerto Sandino with rockets. The following month, frogmen blew up the underwater oil pipeline in the same port—the only one in the country. In October there was an attack on Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua’s largest port, with mortars, rockets, and grenades blowing up five large oil and gasoline storage tanks. More than a hundred people were wounded, and the fierce fire, which could not be brought under control for two days, forced the evacuation of 23,000 people.”[28]

...selective use of armed force for PSYOP psychological operations effect.... Carefully selected, planned targets  — judges, police officials, tax collectors, etc.  — may be removed for PSYOP effect in a UWOA unconventional warfare operations area, but extensive precautions must insure that the people “concur” in such an act by thorough explanatory canvassing among the affected populace before and after conduct of the mission.
— James Bovard, Freedom Daily[27]

A CIA manual for training the Nicaraguan Contras in psychological operations, leaked to the media in 1984, entitled "Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War".[26] recommended “selective use of violence for propagandistic effects” and to “neutralize” government officials. Nicaraguan Contras were taught to lead:

Professor Frederick H. Gareau has written that the Contras "attacked bridges, electric generators, but also state-owned agricultural cooperatives, rural health clinics, villages, and non-combatants". U.S. agents were directly involved in the fighting. "CIA commandos launched a series of sabotage raids on Nicaraguan port facilities. They mined the country's major ports and set fire to its largest oil storage facilities." In 1984 the U.S. Congress ordered this intervention to be stopped; however, it was later shown that the Reagan administration illegally continued (See Iran-Contra affair). Gareau has characterized these acts as "wholesale terrorism" by the United States.[25]


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