Thursday, December 05, 2013

Remembering When Reagan Embraced Apartheid South Africa

By MARC McDONALD

After many years of struggle, the evil system of apartheid in South Africa came to an end in the early 1990s, thanks to the brave efforts of Nelson Mandela.

But apartheid's end arrived with absolutely no thanks to Ronald Reagan, a man who embraced the racist apartheid regime.

In 1986, during the growing struggle against apartheid, Reagan used the words "immoral" and "utterly repugnant."

Unfortunately, Reagan wasn't talking about apartheid. Instead, he was using those words to describe his views on the Anti-Apartheid Act, a proposed law that called for imposing sanctions against South Africa.

Reagan's position was too extreme, even for his fellow Republicans. Reagan's veto against the Anti-Apartheid Act was overridden by the GOP-controlled Senate in October 1986.

The Gipper's position really shouldn't have been surprising. After all, throughout the 1980s, the Reagan administration maintained close ties to the South African government. Reagan even demonized foes of apartheid, such as the African National Congress, as "dangerous and pro-communist."

It's no wonder that 1984 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu called Reagan's policy, "immoral, evil and totally un-Christian" during a visit to the United States.

If Reagan's stance on apartheid seems surprising, it shouldn't be. After all (like many Republicans today) Reagan was a master of using subtle racist messaging techniques to rally support on the campaign trail. Recall how in 1980, Reagan gave his first major campaign speech, babbling on about "states' rights" in Philadelphia, Mississippi (where three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964).

Reagan's subtle racist techniques, of course, continue today. We continue to see it in the ongoing GOP attacks on President Obama. As The New York Times put it last year: "There has been a racist undertone to many of the Republican attacks leveled against President Obama."

So Rest in Peace, Nelson Mandela. You were a true giant and a fighter for a noble cause: the end of the evil apartheid system. It's sad that your brave fight against apartheid in the 1980s didn't draw support from the likes of Reagan.

Update: Already, the wingnuts are trying to smear and tarnish the great man's legacy (a trend I expect we'll see quite a bit more of in the coming weeks).

One article at right-wing sewer hole PJ Media is titled, "Communist Icon Nelson Mandela Dead at 95." The piece calls the African National Congress's armed struggle against apartheid as "terror attacks."

You've gotta love these wingnuts and their twisted "logic." Where was their outrage against "terror attacks" when their hero, George W. Bush, ordered the bombing of Baghdad and other cities during his invasion of Iraq? Those bombings slaughtered thousands of Iraqi civilians. And for what? So that corporate America could get its filthy hands on Iraq's oil?

Say what you want about the ANC's attacks---but at least the cause (the struggle to end apartheid) was worthwhile.

6 comments:

pcappit said...

Rewrite history much? At no point in time did Reagan ever embrace Apartheid. His efforts to get the Government of SA to end Apartheid were certainly not effective and the method he opposed turned out to be very effective. Somehow Liberals have distorted that into this lie they now spew. I am so tired of brain dead liberals like you lying, making up falsehoods and rewriting history because you are too mentally lazy and ignorant to actually research topics you wish to bloviate on.

Here is an FYI for your ignorant, know-nothing brain dead arse to chew on.

In 1986 Reagan appointed Edward Perkins, a black man, as the Ambassador to South Africa. This was a sign of defiance to their government and Apartheid. Additionally Mr. Perkins under Reagan spent a little of time and energy working tirelessly for the release of Mandela and all of the political prisoners. Yep, that is the action of a President who supported Apartheid. By the way Mandela was very aware and appreciative of this effort by Regan and understood both the symbolism of the move as well as the effectiveness of it.


Of course you won't allow this post, because liberals like you hate truth as much the Constitution and freedom of speech.

Marc McDonald said...

Did Reagan embrace apartheid? Well, he was happy to do business with the racist South African regime. He was happy to characterize the anti-apartheid ANC as "terrorist" (which played right into the hands of the apartheid regime).

And last, but not least, Reagan was most definitely on the wrong side of history when he opposed the Anti-Apartheid Act. It was the equivalent of a big wet sloppy kiss to the apartheid regime.

As far as Reagan appointing Edward Perkins---that was a insignificant, token gesture that had zero impact on the apartheid regime.

Reagan only made this move as a face-saving measure after the fiasco of his opposition to the Anti-Apartheid Act blowing up in his face. And remember: as I pointed out in my piece, Reagan's stance was so extreme that his veto was overridden by the GOP-controlled Senate.

Reagan had the chance to make a stand against evil. And he blew it. He was too busy treasonously selling arms to Iran and illegally funding the terrorists who were trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua.

Reagan didn't give a damn about human rights. He certainly didn't give a damn about the brutally oppressed black population of South Africa. Hell, he didn't even give a shit about black Americans, much less black Africans.

Black Americans are still paying a terrible price to this day from Reagan's disastrous "War on Drugs", which vastly expanded the U.S. prison population. (Blacks have suffered disproportionately).

I saw the latter first-hand during my many years as a newspaper reporting covering the U.S. "justice" system.

I saw many low-income black men sentenced to long, harsh prison terms for possessing tiny amounts of marijuana. It's really a human rights outrage and it's something that can be laid directly at the feet of that senile fool, Reagan.

re:
>>Rewrite history much?

Wow, this is pretty rich coming from the same crowd that is constantly babbling on how about "Reagan won the Cold War." The problem is that no serious historian takes this ridiculous claim seriously.

As I've mentioned previously on this blog, the only thing historians will recall about the disastrous Reagan years is that the Gipper presided over the beginning of the end of the American empire. Between Reagan's vast fiscal deficits and his presiding over the loss of America's once world-beating manufacturing base, this country took a bullet in the heart from which it has never really recovered.

re:
>>because liberals like you hate
>>truth as much the Constitution
>>and freedom of speech.

Wrong again, retard. Please go back to sticking your nose up Rush's butt.

Incidentally, the Reagan White House crapped all over the Constitution during Iran-Contra. But I guess Rush never told you anything about that.

Padre said...

That senile fool Reagan was a true bigot, rambling on about "welfare queens." Not only was he a bigot, he was a liar. If there's a God, he's roasting in hell, now.

GOPVictors said...

Keep it up, Libs. Your extremist, radical views are rapidly making the Democrat Party a dinosaur in American politics.
According to the latest polls, the Democrat Party is in real trouble in the upcoming elections.
LOL!
I predict the Republicans will re-take the Senate (and will retake the White House in 2016).
Read it and weep, Dems!

Cirze said...

You're the man, Marc.

One of the last (and best) Truth Tellers.

It's a testimony to your integrity that trolls think they have a chance here.

Love you,

C

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Cirze, thanks for your kind words. Yes, as I'm sure you know, it's a full-time job, countering the lies and B.S. spewed out by the Great American Right-Wing Propaganda Machine.