Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thumbing its nose at the world

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The articles listed below were either used as a reference for my recent op-ed in the Business Day or are related to that topic in some way.

Michael Gerson of the Washington Post: 'The Despots' Democracy'
South Africa has actively blocked United Nations discussions about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe -- and in Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and Uzbekistan. South Africa was the only real democracy to vote against a resolution demanding that the Burmese junta stop ethnic cleansing and free jailed dissident Aung San Suu Kyi. When Iranian nuclear proliferation was debated in the Security Council, South Africa dragged out discussions and demanded watered-down language in the resolution. South Africa opposed a resolution condemning rape and attacks on civilians in Darfur -- and rolled out the red carpet for a visit from Sudan's genocidal leader. In the General Assembly, South Africa fought against a resolution condemning the use of rape as a weapon of war because the resolution was not sufficiently anti-American.

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And the rejoinder by Jannie Momberg, editor of News24: 'The rogue democracy'

It is a bit rich for Gerson and others in the US to accuse South Africa of being a rogue democracy. America's foreign policy has been presented for decades as guided by liberty and human rights while in reality it has often pandered to dictators, suppressed democracy and led to the deaths of thousands of people.


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Michael Trapido of ThoughtLeader: 'Is South Africa a Rogue Democracy?'

A rogue democracy implies unreliable and deceitful - can we argue with that with respect to our foreign policies? I don’t think we can. We were the country demanding sanctions and intervention to gain our freedom - now demanding the exact opposite for Burma and Zimbabwe. Where is our consistency in that regard? We expect to be treated with dignity and humanity, yet we vote against resolutions calling for it with respect to others.


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The Economist, on the current negotiations in Zimbabwe and why the opposition should, 'Only talk tough'
It sticks in the gullet of the large majority of Zimbabwe’s people yearning to see the back of Robert Mugabe that the man who should have displaced him four months ago by virtue of the ballot box has now been persuaded to engage in talks with him, seemingly more as supplicant than rightful successor. But Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader who won the first round of the presidential election in March but was savagely intimidated into abandoning the second round at the end of June, is right to agree to talks with the usurper.

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Thomas Friedman, op-ed columnist for the New York Times: 'So Popular and So Spineless'
But when it comes to pure, rancid moral corruption, no one can top South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, and his stooge at the U.N., Dumisani Kumalo. They have done everything they can to prevent any meaningful U.N. pressure on the Mugabe dictatorship.

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Following our rejection of the Draft Resolution on Burma, Michael Wines of the NY Times wrote: 'South Africa Lowers Voice on Human Rights'. He also mentions our dilution of a motion against Iran's nuclear ambitions.

This week South Africa endangered a delicate compromise among nations often at odds — the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany — to rein in Iran’s nuclear program.

The major powers agreed on an arms embargo, freezing of assets and other sanctions against Iran, but South Africa proposed dropping the arms and financial sanctions and placing a 90-day “timeout” on other punishments, which critics said would have rendered the sanctions toothless.

“I’m not gutting the resolution,” Dumisani S. Kumalo, South Africa’s ambassador to the United Nations, told news agency reporters this week. “I’m improving it.”

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