When President Reagan was asked at his recent press conference why he had not made a speech on foreign policy, he took the question as a criticism, and replied to the effect that just because he hadn't made a speech on foreign policy, didn't mean that his administration didn't have one.
I never doubted he did. But because I wanted to be accurate about it, I called a friend to be accurate about it, I called a friend at the State Department who is assigned to the desk that briefs other foreign service officers on what our foreign policy is.
"Where do we stand on China?" I asked.
"Our foreign policy is to sell them arms so they can defend themselves against the Soviet Union."
"And where do we stand on Taiwan?"
"We have a treaty with Taiwan to sell them military equipment to defend themselves against China."
"Suppose the Chinese use the arms we sell them to attack Taiwan instead of threatening the Soviets? What is our policy then?"
"One of strong condemnation."
"What is our policy toward Israel?"
"Our policy toward Israel is to sell them planes, tanks and other military hardware to protect themselves against their enemies in the Middle East."
"Saudi Arabia is an enemey of Israel. What is our policy toward that government?"
"To provide them with sufficient equipment to defend themselves in case they are attacked by the Soviet-supplied Arabs."
"What if Saudi Arabia gives the military equipment to the PLO instead of using it to save themselves from the Communists?"
"Our policy is to take a dim view toward such action and have our ambassador advise of our displeasure."
"Can we move on to Pakistan? Do we have a policy toward Pakistan?"
"Of course we do. It's to provide them with our latest fighter planes to protect themselves against Afghanistan. This is a signal to the Soviets that hasn't been lost on them."
"Pakistan is building a nuclear bomb which is being financed by Libya. How do we feel about that?"
"Do we have a policy toward Iraq?"
"Yes. Although we condemn their attack on Iran, which violated the United Nations Charter, we support their resolution in the U.N. against Israel for knocking out their nuclear fuel-enrichment facilities in Baghdad." i
"Do we have a policy toward Europe?"
"Our policy toward Europe is one of friendship and cooperation, despite the fact they won't pay their fair share for the defense of their own countries, or allow us to place neutron bombs on their soil to use against the Soviets if and when they invade Western Europe."
"Where are we on Africa?"
"We plan to get tougher with Angola and softer with South Africa. But we can go either way with the rest of the continent, providing they stay out of the Soviet camp."
"Do we have a South American policy?"
"We certainly do. We will supply any authoritarian government with arms to defend themselves against a Marxist takeover by Cuban-supported rebels and their Soviet masters."
"Then can I assume that our foreign policy is one based strictly on military security around the world?"
"That is correct. The only way to bring about peace is to see that every nation in the Free World is sufficiently armed to defend itself against communism."
"But suppose they use their military might to settle scores with their old enemies?"
"We don't need any policy on that because it could never happen."