NEW COLUMN: The American Architects of The South-African Catastrophe

Democracy,Foreign Policy,History,libertarianism,South-Africa

“The American Architects of The South-African Catastrophe” can be read in full on the Mises Institute’s Wire. An excerpt:

…  Yes, it has happened. A mere 23 years after the 1994 transition, in South Africa, to raw ripe democracy, six years following the publication of a wide-ranging analysis of that catastrophe, Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa, a Beltway libertarian think tank has convened to address the problem that is South Africa.

The reference is to an upcoming CATO “Policy Forum,” euphemized as “South Africa at a Crossroad.” One of the individuals to headline the “Forum” is Princeton Lyman, described in a CATO email tease as having “served as the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa at the time of the transfer of power from white minority to black majority.” At the “Forum,” former ambassador Lyman will be discussing “America’s original hopes for a new South Africa and the extent to which America’s expectations have been left unfulfilled.” (Italics added.)

The chutzpah!

The CATO Institute’s disappointment in the South Africa the United States helped bring about is nothing compared to the depredations suffered by South Africans, due to America’s insistence that their country pass into the hands of a voracious majority. Unwise South African leaders acquiesced. Federalism was discounted. Minority rights for the Afrikaner, Anglo and Zulu were dismissed.

Aborted Attempts at South African Decentralization

This audacity of empire is covered in a self-explanatory chapter of Into the Cannibal’s Pot, titled “The Anglo-American Axis of Evil,” in which Lyman makes a cameo. (It’s not flattering.) From the comfort of the CATO headquarters, in 2017, the former ambassador will also be pondering whether “growing opposition will remove the African National Congress [ANC] from power.” The mindset of the DC establishment, CATO libertarians included, has it that changing the guard  —replacing one strongman with another — will fix South Africa, or any other of the sites of American foreign-policy interventions.

So, what exactly did Princeton Nathan Lyman do on behalf of America in South Africa? Or, more precisely, who did he sideline?

Ronald Reagan, who favored “constructive engagement” with South Africa, foresaw the chaos and carnage of an abrupt transition of power. So did the South Africans Fredrick van Zyl Slabbert, RIP (he died in May 2010), and Dr. Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The first was leader of the opposition Progressive Federal Party, who, alongside the late, intrepid Helen Suzman became the PFP’s chief critic of Nationalist policy (namely Apartheid). The second was Chief Minister of the KwaZulu homeland and leader of the Zulu people and their Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP). …

… READ THE REST. “The American Architects of The South-African Catastrophe” is on the Mises Institute’s Wire.