December 10, 2013

Nelson Mandela & Ronald Reagan


With the death of Nelson Mandela, the mythology continues that, under Ronald Reagan, the 1980s was the lost decade in dealing with South Africa. It’s the same old line — Reagan was insensitive to AIDS because he wasn’t gay. He was insensitive to racism because he wasn’t black. And he was not involved in policy, because he wasn’t very deep. All of that is just not true.

 Former Secretary of State Jim Baker suggests that Reagan probably regretted his veto of the tougher sanctions against South Africa.  Not so fast.  President Reagan’s priority in those years was not the downfall of the government in South Africa, but the downfall of the government in the Soviet Union.

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