Inside the National SecuritynCouncilnhy Constantine C. MengesnNew York: Simon & Schuster;n418 pp., $19.95nThe Presidency and thenManagement of National Securitynby Carries LordnNew York: Free Press; 207 pp.,n$22.50nFrom the elevation of arms controlnto the opening of talks with thenPLO, the course of American foreignnpolicy in recent years has led some tonwonder why Ronald Reagan was oncenconsidered such a contrast to JimmynCarter. The cycle is best seen in CentralnAmerica. In 1980, the question wasnwhether El Salvador could survive anCommunist insurgency. The ReagannDoctrine’s support of the contras shiftednthe strategic balance. The questionnthen became could Nicaragua survivenan anticommunist insurgency. Butnthese days, leftist demonstrators oncenagain chant, “Nicaragua is now free. ElnSalvador soon will be.” Soviet aid flowsnto the Sandinistas (and on to guerrillas,nterrorists, and drug runners throughoutnthe region), while the contras starve.nReagan’s defenders blame the DemocraticnCongress. The Boland amendmentsnand Speaker Wright’s plots withnthe Sandinistas come readily to mind.nWilliam R. Hawkins is director of thenFoundation for American Ideals.nOPINIONSnNational Insecuritynby William R. Hawkinsn”Diplomacy is utterly useless where there is no force behind it.”n— Theodore Rooseveltnli?nYet the most powerful enemies of PresidentnReagan’s policies were within thenexecutive branch at the Department ofnState. Reagan tolerated Ceorge Schultznas secretary of state, a man who innchampioning the appeasement policiesnof the Foreign Service worked tirelesslynto subvert the President’s policies — andnin the last two years, succeeded.nThis is the message of ConstantinenMenges and Carnes Lord. Both mennserved on the National Security Councilnstaff (Menges, 1983-86; Lord, 1981-n83). The NSC is supposed to keep thenPresident in control of foreign policy.nHowever, in the struggle between thenNSC and the State Department, thenNSC is short of resources unless thenPresident stays involved in the processnand imparts to the NSC his authority tondeal with the bureaucracy. Reagan didnnot do this. Given the record of CeorgenBush and James Baker during this period,nmatters are unlikely to improve.nThe Menges and Lord books arencomplementary. Menges relates withndetails that make the blood boil thennnconstant intrigues hatched by the StatenDepartment, while Lord does an organizationalnanalysis, proposing reformsnthroughout the foreign policy apparatusnto increase presidential authority.nMenges had senior NSC staff responsibilitynfor Latin America. He hadnbeen a Latin America CIA specialistn(1981-83). He firmly believes that if thenSandinistas are not removed, Mexiconwill eventually fall and the US will facenthe unaccustomed danger of a large,nSoviet-armed enemy on its own border.nMenges recounts seven major attemptsnbetween 1981 and 1986 bynState to substitute its own program fornReagan’s. State wanted a negotiatednsettlement that would ratify Communistncontrol of Nicaragua and providenUS economic aid in exchange for anSandinista promise not to pursue revolutionarynactivity- elsewhere. State opposednany attempt to remove thenSandinista regime or require it to adoptndemocracy as being contrary to thisnformula. Of course, without pressurenthere was no reason for the Sandinistasnto make concessions.nThat the State formula was contrarynto Reagan’s program was revealednwhenever the President discovered whatnState was doing. The President alwaysnsaid “no” (often displaying considerablenanger), ordered State plans halted, andnsent personal assurances to friendlynCentral American governments. Yet henleft the conspirators in place to trynagain, and they quickly learned to operatenbehind the President’s back—andnto block all attempts to inform thenAPRIL 1989/27n