President Bush's national security adviser said Friday the Soviet Union's military support of Nicaragua is an example of the old Soviet thinking and a reason the administration remains cautious as it continues to formulate a U.S.-Soviet foreign policy.
Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser, said that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's recent meetings in Cuba with Fidel Castro, and the Soviet Unions' proposed policy of a Latin American zone of peace were a disappointment.Although the administration welcomes the new developments, Scowcroft said the Nicaraguan policy is an example of what he calls old Soviet thinking.
"The United States has made a major shift in its approach toward Nicaragua, toward solving the conflict down there. The Soviet Union, which has no legitimate interest in the area at all, refuses so far to reciprocate," Scowcroft said in an interview at Hill Air Force Base.
Scowcroft, an Ogden native, was in Utah Friday to dedicate the Ogden-Robert S. Hinckley Airport and was scheduled to receive the "Big Hat Award" from the Ogden Chamber of Commerce and be inducted into the Weber County Hall of Fame.
Scowcroft criticized the Soviets for maintaining the policy that ties ending the Soviet's Nicaraguan aid with the United States ending aid to its "friends and allies" around the world.
Scowcroft said that the new administration's policy toward the Soviet Union has not been totally fleshed out, but formal negotiations are expected to begin next month between Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.
Scowcroft said that while the Soviet system is gradually changing, trust is still "way down the road.
"It is very premature to get an overall assessment of such an important thing after decades of suspicion and confrontation between the two of us," he said.
Scowcroft said he did not think that new openness in the Soviet Union would affect arms control talks because of the rapid nuclear force modernization taking place in the Soviet Union.
"They are modernizing their own systems at a very rapid rate and it is important that we maintain capability," Scowcroft said.
Talking about modernization of U.S. nuclear forces, Scowcroft said budget constraints are going to limit the choices of deploying ICBMs in either land-based MX missles or hardened silos.
He said the President must soon decide about the MX, but would not elaborate on his advice to the president. He did say that mobility is one of the "best ways to ensure survivability," but is not likely to be a major motivation for the Soviets to reduce armaments.