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Jewish World Review Feb. 3, 2003 / 2 Adar I, 5763

Michael Ledeen

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Monumental failure: Nelson Mandela had promise | Many of us marveled at Nelson Mandela's humanity, tolerance, and patience towards those who had imprisoned him in what is now a national monument on a small island off Cape Town. He cautioned against acts of revenge, he embraced his lifelong enemies from the apartheid regime, and he called for South Africa to show the world that a multiracial society could flourish, even after years of civil strife.

Most Americans rooted for South Africa under Mandela, and American businessmen poured into the country with offers of help. In the event, Mandela turned out to be a great inspirational speaker but a failed national leader. Instead of taking the opportunity to shut down the vast networks of corruption put in place by the white leaders of the country, he permitted his own cohorts from the Africa National Congress to wallow in the same troughs. Instead of insisting on the creation of a first-class educational system for all South Africans, he simply presided over the installation of a quota program that gave most of the slots in the best schools to the majority black population. Instead of taking the great influx of foreign aid to build adequate housing for the masses of poor people, that program sputtered along without ever taking off.

But foreign policy was his greatest failure. Mandela had a great opportunity to lead a democratic revolution in Africa, but he never even gave voice to cries for freedom for all Africans. Indeed, he lavished grotesque praise on many of the world's dictators, from Castro to Khadaffi, and repeatedly failed to intervene decisively at major potential turning points in countries like Zaire and Zimbabwe. Even now, an elderly retiree, he cannot bring himself to demand the removal of the mad tyrant Robert Mugabe, and he continues to genuflect before the dictators who supported the ANC in the bad old days.

Now he has unburdened himself of the accusation that President Bush is a megalomaniacal racist, about to unleash a new holocaust on the Arabs, and opposed to any U.N. role because Kofi Annan is a black man. He'd have done better to lambaste his own designated successor, President Mbeke, for his insane proclamations that AIDS is not caused by HIV, thereby justifying the government's failure to provide timely or adequate treatment to South Africa's AIDS victims. And he'd have done well to praise President Bush for being willing to commit huge amounts of American taxpayers' money to save Mandela's own infected people. No. He posed for the brain-dead anti-American crowd instead.

It's a pathetic spectacle, but entirely in keeping with the monumental failure of a man who could have been a great leader and world figure. Instead, he's failed his own country and his own destiny. He's become yet another African loudmouth, giving moral lessons to the world and tolerating corruption and misery on his own continent.

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JWR contributor Michael Ledeen is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of, most recently, ""The War Against the Terror Masters," Comment by clicking here.


01/30/03: Elevation: The president knows what it's all about
01/29/03: No Leader: France's Chirac is all about personal interest
01/28/03: The Axis of Evil Redux: Same place, a year later
01/27/03: The Return of the Ayatollah: Washington could afford a little more attention on Iran
01/13/03: How we could lose
01/09/03: Fish are Better than Women: Gauging U.S. priorities
01/07/03: The Shape of Things to Come: The terror masters are now waiting for us
12/20/02: A Prophecy for the New Year --- Faster, please!
12/16/02: Scud Surrender: The "W" factor
12/13/02: The Heart of Darkness: The mullahs make terror possible
12/12/02: The Real War
12/09/02: Tom Friedman's Reformation: His Iran
11/26/02: How Tyrannies Fall: Opportunity time in Iran
11/22/02: The Blind Leading the Blind: The New York Times and the Iranian crisis
11/13/02: The Temperature Rises: We should liberate Iran first --- now
11/05/02: End of the Road: Iran's Mohammed Khatami, on his way out
10/29/02: The Angleton Dialogues, Contnued: What George Tenet doesn’t know
10/24/02: The Iranian Comedy Hour: In the U.S., the silence continues
10/16/02: Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper? Channeling James Jesus Angleton
10/01/02: The real foe
09/27/02: The Iranian String Quartet: The mullahs get increasingly nervous
09/25/02: The Dubya Doctrine
09/23/02: Intelligence? What intelligence?
09/12/02: America's revenge: To turn tyrannies into democracies
09/10/02: Iran & Afghanistan & Us: We'll have to deal with the mullahcracy, sooner or later
09/04/02: Iran, according to the Times: All the nonsense that's fit to print
08/21/02: Life and death of Abu Nidal tells us a great deal about our enemies
08/08/02: Can You Keep a Secret?: The media silence on Iran
08/06/02: Fantasy Reporting: The latest disinformation from the Washington Post
08/02/02: Propping Up the Terror Masters: Europe's Solana on tour
07/16/02: Bush vs. the Mullahs: Getting on the side of the Iranian freedom fighters
07/12/02: The State Department Goes Mute: It's official: State has no message
07/09/02: History being made, but the West appears clueless
06/05/02: Is George Tenet endangering peace in Israel?
06/03/02: Ridiculous, even for a journalist
05/20/02: So how come nobody's been fired yet?
05/14/02: Open doors for thugs
04/20/02: Iran on the Brink … and the U.S. does nothing
04/16/02: It’s the war, stupid … someone remind Colin Powell
04/08/02: Gulled: In the Middle East, Arafat doesn't matter
04/02/02: Faster, Please: The war falters
03/26/02: The Revolution Continues: What's brewing in Iran
03/18/02: Iran simmers still: Where's the press?
03/05/02: We can't lose any more ground in Iran
02/14/02: The Great Iranian Hoax
02/12/02: Unnoticed Bombshell: Key information in a new book
01/31/02: The truth behind the Powell play
01/29/02: My past with "Johnny Jihad's" lawyer
01/21/02: It's Munich, all over again
01/08/02: What's the Holdup?: It's time for the next battles in the war against terrorism
12/11/01: We must be imperious, ruthless, and relentless
12/06/01: Remembering my family friend, Walt Disney
11/28/01: The Barbara Olson Bomb: Understanding the war
11/13/01: How We're Doing: The Angleton Files, IV
11/06/01: A great revolutionary war is coming
10/25/01: How to talk to a terrorist
10/23/01: Creative Reporting: Learning to appreciate press briefings
10/19/01: Not the Emmys: A Beltway award presentation
10/15/01: Rediscovering American character
10/11/01: Somehow, I've missed Arafat's praise of the first stage of our war on terrorism
10/04/01: What do we not know?
09/28/01: Machiavelli On Our War: Some advice for our leaders
09/25/01: No Room for the U.N.: Keeping Annan & co. out of the picture
09/21/01: Creative destruction
09/14/01: Who Killed Barbara Olson?
08/22/01: How Israel will win this war
08/15/01: Bracing for war
08/09/01: More Dithering Democrats
08/02/01: Delirious Dems
07/31/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit, cont'd
07/19/01: Be careful what you wish for
07/17/01: Consulting a legendary counterspy about Chandra and Condit
07/05/01: Let Slobo Go
05/30/01: Anybody out there afraid of the Republicans?
05/09/01: The bad guys to the rescue
05/07/01: Bye-bye, Blumenthal
04/20/01: Handling China
04/11/01: EXAM TIME!
04/05/01: Chinese over-water torture
03/27/01: Fighting AIDS in Africa is a losing proposition
03/14/01: Big Bird, Oscar, and other threats
03/09/01: Time for a good, old-fashioned purge
03/06/01: Powell’s great (mis)adventure
02/26/01: The Clinton Sopranos
02/20/01: Unity Schmoonity: Sharon is defying the will of the people
01/30/01: The Rest of the Rich Story
01/22/01: Ashcroft the Jew
01/11/01: A fitting close to the Clinton years
12/26/00: Continuing Clinton's shameful legacy
12/21/00: Clinton’s gift for Bush

© 2001, Michael Ledeen