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ISSUE 116 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/27/2002

Mandela critiques US foriegn policy

By Anna Grelson
Contributing Writer


Friday, September 27, 2002

In words that are beginning to echo the sentiments of more and more nations around the world, South African activist Nelson Mandela condemned the United State’s foreign policy as a "threat to world peace." He also remarked that President Bush’s decisions were purely motivated by his desire to "please the arms and oil industries in the United States of America."

In an interview with Newsweek magazine, Mandela reiterated his belief that President Bush should cancel his attacks on Iraq, and the United States has presented absolutely no evidence to support the claims that Iraq is in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

He also brings to light the fact that Scott Ritter, a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, has also claimed that no evidence exists. Mandela also briefly embarked upon a more personal attack on the United State’s executive branch. He called Bush’s senior advisors "dinosaurs" and called Vice-President Dick Cheney an "arch-conservative" who does not want President Bush "to belong to the modern age."

Mandela, known for his past of protest and struggle, has taken his beliefs on foreign policy in a direction quite contrary to that of the Western World. In the past few months, Mandela has visited several countries, including Cuba and Libya, which the United States has long regarded as "pariah" states. Indeed, one of the first embassies that South Africa established after Mandela’s inauguration was in Havana, Cuba. If South Africa wins a seat on the United Nations Security Council, the alliances it has formed will force the international community to reevaluate its methods in dealings with terrorism.

While Mandela is perhaps the most prominent of those who disapprove of America’s attack on terrorism, a powerful host of nations and politicians is gathering behind him. Kenya’s Human Rights Commissions stated, "The warpath must be abandoned. Otherwise it will lead to more suffering and the coalescence of the belief that the United States is bent on the destruction of the Arab nation." A Tanzanian newspaper said in an editorial concerning September 11th that, "US foreign policy only works in America."

Muslim communities in Africa are particular incensed with American foreign policy. "In Africa, as elsewhere in the Muslim World, one feels the distinction made by Washington between the axis of evil and the rest of the Muslim community is artificial". Though it has yet to become a massive global campaign, countries around the world are saying that, "the only remedy for terrorism is for the US to change its foreign policy."

As the acknowledged sole superpower, America owes to the world, as well as to her own citizens, to act with wisdom and restraint. National security, international respect, and ultimately global peace will swiftly become collateral casualties of an attack on the Middle East by the United States. America must learn to lead by example, and not to force through threat, if peace is ever to exist.





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