This study of U.S. policy toward Nicaragua during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter presidencies reveals the fundamental importance Washington placed on preserving state institutions in Latin America while adopting a much more flexible approach regarding support for elected regimes or dictatorial rulers. The Carter White House decision to dump a longstanding ally, Somoza, and support a regime change was triggered by the appearance of a mass-based social movement led by radical nationalist guerrillas posing a challenge to both the dictatorial regime and, more importantly, the state structure that underpinned it. This book is based on the extensive use of personal interviews and recently declassified U.S. government documents. Among its distinctive features is the emphasis on the pivotal role Washington played in contributing to the long-term survival of the Somoza dictatorship. It is the first detailed study, based on original research, of Nixon and Ford policy toward Nicaragua, and it contains the most detailed discussion of U.S. policy toward Nicaragua during the early period of Sandinista rule.
"In its discussion of the differences US officials drew between regime and state, it provides a reasonable approach to gaining a clearer understanding of the often roller-coaster relationship between the Somoza dictatorship and the US government...ground-breaking research...an important and thought-provoking contribution to one of the most debated and misunderstood events in recent US-Latin American relations." Canadian Journal of Latin American and Carribean Studies "...Morley presents a most compelling argument that demonstrates Carter's failed policy was more than that of a short-sighted visionary." Pacific Historical Review "Scholars concerned with United States policy in Central America, in particular with its policy toward the Sandinista Revolution, will find this book of interest...[it] presents useful information regarding United States policy during this important period." The Americas "Washington's reaction to Nicaragua's transition from a repressive dictatorship to revolutionary rule is brilliantly examined in Morris H. Morley's Washington, Somoza and the Sandinistas: State and Regime in U.S. Policy Toward Nicaragua, 1969-1981." COHA's Washington Report on the Hemisphere "...based on careful research and thorough, varied documentation,,,Morely...is a long term critic of U. S. policy with considerable knowledge of Latin America." Thomas Walker, American Political Science Review "Although the outlines of this story have been told before, they have not been recounted with the detail and persuasiveness found in Morley's 'Washington, Somoza, and the Sandanistas.'" Thomas M. Leonard, Latin American Research Review