Oh, how quickly we forget. One month ago, we joined with the nation in celebrating the events in the Philippines. It was hailed as a triumph of American policy, as indeed it was. We should have learned some lessons, however, from that success . . . .
Three elements, it seems to me, continually reappear when American foreign policy succeeds: it is bipartisan; it represents a unity of effort between the legislative and executive branches, and the leadership comes from those countries most directly involved. All were present in the Philippines. We were united, Republican and Democrat; we were united, executive and legislative; and the leadership came spectacularly from the people of the Philippines themselves.
And we are now headed for votes which I am afraid will violate all three of these principles. We have a bitter, partisan division and close indecisive votes.
We have heard strident voices from the administration: accusations and protestations questioning our loyalty and Americanism and patriotism, voices which have no place in a successful American foreign policy.
What message do we send to the audiences we attempt to reach with a narrow vote, a failed vote first in the House, and then, even if successful, a narrow and divided vote in the Senate and in the House? What message is that to the American people? What message is it to our South American friends who are attempting to build their own democracies? What kind of message is it to the Sandinistas themselves?
If the message to all four of those audiences is a message of weakness, of indecision, of divisiveness, and of partisanship, none will listen to us. Nor should they.