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By a quirk of history, tiny Nicaragua became in the last century a focal point of world developments. It was the scene of US interventions, it became a bargaining chip in US-Iran relations, and ever since the plan to build the Panama Canal it has been the site of a proposed trans-isthmus canal. President Jimmy Carter pushed through the bill to give the Panama Canal to Panama. The wisdom of that move has been questioned, but why he agreed that the US would not build a competing canal across Nicaragua has no satisfactory answer. A Japanese-led consortium planned to build a canal across Nicaragua, but I have heard little of it lately. I hope it is revived and goes through. In any case, Nicaragua is a key player in Pacific matters.

By another quirk, WAIS has several experts on US military intervention in Nicaragua. In order to understand the postings, WAISers should have a map of Nicaragua. The problem is that all our experts represent the same US military position. We need someone to represent the Carleton Beals viewpoint, otherwise WAIS will be accused of twisting history. We need therefore American historians and political scientists who came present a balanced view. We should also hear from Nicaraguans, not just those who back US intervention, who are viewed with suspicion or even hatred. Any suggestions? WAIS must not be accused of loading the dice. It wants a level playing field, to use a mixed-games-metaphor.

Ronald Hilton - 4/2/02