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Exchanging Messages With South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2018

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An abiding criticism of the Reagan administration in the first six months of its life was that it had no foreign policy. In a global sense this criticism was certainly well taken: Nothing resembling Kissinger's detente policy or Carter's human rights doctrine seemed even in the works. Yet without the essential dimensions of a universal foreign policy, regional policies were taking shape.

Shortly after Reagan's election and well before his inauguration, those who saw themselves as both the authors and legatees of the Reagan landslide made a move to dismantle the Carter African policy and to ensure that its like would not soon emerge. Reagan's conservative allies in Congress—most notably Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina—put the new administration on notice that henceforth South Africa would be dropped from this country's enemies list and that the United States no longer would be counted in the ranks of Pretoria's antagonists at the United Nations.

Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 1981

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