MICHAEL REAGAN: The truth about Ronald Reagan and apartheid

Cagle Cartoon Syndicate Published:

The whole world mourns Nelson Mandela. Rightly.

But, as usual, some politically and historically challenged liberals have seen the passing of a great man of history as a chance to take more cheap potshots at Ronald Reagan.

One human rights attorney, Gay McDougall, made a fool of herself on "Good Morning America."

She claimed that while many Americans were urging our government to use economic sanctions to pressure South Africa to end apartheid in the 1980s, "Ronald Reagan wanted to solidify, you know, U.S. support for apartheid."

That was a pretty dumb thing to say for a 66-year-old who a ttended Yale Law School. But at least McDougall wasn't pretending to be a fair and balanced TV news reporter the way Andrea Mitchell does.

Mitchell bared her liberal biases -- and historical amnesia -- to the world during her report on Mandela's death on the "Today" show.

Instead of concentrating on praising Mandela, Mitchell felt she had to remind her viewers that "The U.S. wasn't always on Mandela's side."

Then she pointed out that "President Reagan supported the apartheid regime, a Cold War ally, even as protests broke out on college campuses across America demanding that the U.S. punish the regime...."

Mitchell went on to say that Congress, including some key Republicans, had to override my father's veto of the South African economic sanctions "that helped break the apartheid regime."

Truth, accuracy, fairness, political balance, historical perspective, the complex geopolitics of the Cold War?

Mitchell, like McDougall, didn't bother with that complicated stuff.

It was all about race. And Ronald Reagan was, as usual, called on stage to play the bad guy. It's the only role my father gets when the lefty news and entertainment media do their dirty historical work.

But let's give Mitchell the benefit of a few doubts she doesn't deserve.

Maybe she forgot that Mandela was also in jail during the JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations.

Apartheid was a horrible system of oppression. But until it ended, the Cold War was more important to American presidents.

They had to keep their eyes on the bigger global picture. That meant supporting the racist regime of South Africa, our only important ally in the region during a time when Moscow was busy inciting revolutions there.

It's unfair and simplistic for the media to single out my father and smear him for being soft on apartheid because he vetoed Congress' economic sanctions against South Africa.

My father detested apartheid and wanted to see it end. But he thought economic sanctions -- which hurt South Africa's poorest black citizens the most -- would be counterproductive.

And in 1986 he said that as necessary step to achieving political peace in South Africa, all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, "should be released to participate in the country's political process."

Given the realities of the Cold War, and contrary to the selective memories of Andrea Mitchell and her friends, he did the best he could to help Nelson Mandela put an end to it.

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  • taggr....Can you not just allow others to voice their opinion without you resorting to baseless and idiotic insults?

  • Well taggr, again you 'speak' but say nothing of substance. I changed parties because I saw that the Democrats were going the route of Socialism. I vote for individuals based on their platform and record, not on just what they say. I voted for Jessie Jackson when he said he was pro-life, and a few other positions. Well, his pro-life stand turned out to be a lie. Locally, I vote mostly for Democrats because more Democrats run and have decent positions on local issues. Of course Janet Esposito (Republican, in case you didn't know) is the best candidate for almost anything she runs for, so she always gets my vote. But these points may be more than you can handle.... I sure hope you will grow up some day. You have some good political points, but like so many political minded people, you resort to name calling rather than explaining your point of view. You don't understand my point of view, so you would be best off not trying to explain it. I know what my positions are, but from you I've only seen name calling, whining, criticism, assumptions, etc. with periodic glimpses of insight. Try to focus taggr...

  • childofgod, bah-bah-bah, thank you for confirming that you are one of those weak minded individuals that cast their vote for a person based on the party they belong to. bah-bah-bah! 

  • Desmond Tutu said Reagan would be "judged harshly by history".

    And Michell Reagan is working at re-writing that history.


  • I remember Reagan saying these things, because it was when I began to see him in a new light. I was voting Democrat at that time, and didn't support Reagan during either of his campaigns, but I had to admit that he was a decent man, even more so as his Presidencies progressed. Now when I look back, I wished I had voted for him, but he didn't need my vote or support to do the things that he wanted to do. He was one of our best Presidents ever, I can now say.