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Reagan–Our Pro-Apartheid President

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The death of Howard Wolpe, the congressman from Michigan who sponsored bills in the 80s to impose sanctions on the apartheid regime in South Africa should remind us that Ronald Reagan, who vetoed the bill twice, was for all intents and purposes pro-apartheid. As of course was Dick Cheney, who voted against the bill as a congressman from Wyoming.

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  • Kal

    I don’t want to troll, but I can’t leave the title of this post just sitting there…

    Obama seems pretty happy with Israeli apartheid.

    • R Johnston

      Being completely true takes a lot of the edge off a possible troll.

      • c u n d gulag

        I hate to say it, but Kal’s got a point.

        • firefall

          is there a president who wasnt, while in office?

    • Just to pile on, this does indeed appear to be the case. In fact I can not think of any mainstream US politician that does not support Israeli apartheid. Even during the days of South African apartheid there were not any mainstream US politicians that criticised Israeli support for Pretoria. In fact Israeli support for South Africa was the dirty little secret of all the hardcore Zionists in the Democratic Party that pushed for sanctions. Israel’s close relations with Pretoria was the “love that dared not speak its name” during the 1980s.

    • Walt

      Seriously, will people please shut the fuck up about Israel-Palestine? Every goddamn thread where someone has the most tenuous reason to bring it up, they bring it up.

      Is there anyone on Earth who isn’t in a coma who hasn’t already made up their minds on the merits of the Israel/apartheid comparison?

      • Kal

        You can’t start a thread titled “Reagan-Our Pro-Apartheid President” and not expect anyone who sees our current president as also pro-apartheid to point this out.

        • Walt

          Why? Everyone has already heard the Israel/apartheid analogy before. Everyone either finds it persuasive, or they find it stupid. What possible value are you providing by making it again?

          • Kal

            I’m sorry, I didn’t realize there was a rule that in blog comments you can’t talk about issues where a majority has already made up their minds. Won’t happen again.

            • #?

              when a viable 3rd way is as clear to everybody as XversusY then there won’t be much to talk about

      • Every I/P discussion goes the same way: some fanatic absolutist on side or the other proclaims that anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with their absolutist position is actually a partisan of the other side.

        You’re with us or you’re with the Zionists!

        Eff that.

        • …which is fine enough if there is actually an Israel/Palestine discussion going on, but do we need to be subjected to this nonsense whenever such a fanatic thinks he sees an opening to jack a thread to THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD?

    • It is not possible to have even the most shallow knowledge of Reagan’s South Africa policy and draw this comparison in good faith.

      • Kal

        Speaking of good faith, do you really think that you disagree with the analogy because we have a different view of Reagan? Or is it actually because we have a different view of Israel?

        • We? How many of you are in there? Can I talk to Sybil now?

          I don’t think we have “a different view.” I think I have a better understanding of the facts.

          Obama is less pro-Israel than the median member of Congress. Heck, he’s less pro-Israel than the median member of the Democratic Party. He’s done nothing to stick his neck out for Israel, in a way that cost him anything. Heck, he get crap from his own party for not being pro-Israel enough.

          Compared to Reagan, who was much more pro-South Africa than the Congressmen of his day. He actually vetoed acts of Congress, twice, taking serious political hits both times, in order to defend South Africa.

          Trying to equate the two is either grossly misinformed, or entirely dishonest.

          • Kal

            “We” as in you & I. I guess maybe you’re not used to participating in the kind of civil discussion where someone uses “we” in that way? And yet you call me a “fanatic”, in one of your three rapid-fire posts…

            If Loomis explains himself I’ll argue with him. I don’t have the energy to deal with you right now, Joe.

            • Kal

              I guess I should add, for the sake of our tiny audience, that I don’t judge people’s politics by where they stand in relation to the median member of Congress. That’s myopic, not pragmatic.

              • I don’t judge people’s politics by where they stand in relation to the median member of Congress.

                No wonder you miss so much.

                Measuring a figure’s politics against the median member of Congress’s tells you how far out on al limb they’re willing to go for a certain issue.

                Reagan was willing to go quite far in his defense of South Africa, to the point of angering most of Congress. This demonstrates a strong commitment.

                Obama’s “defense” of Israel, on the other hand, doesn’t even extend as far as that of the median member of Congress, demonstrating that he is much less committed to the issue, if not actually reticent to come to their defense. An observation which goes quite a ways towards disproving your charge that he is “happy with Israeli apartheid.”

      • Right–to say that Obama somehow has the moral depravity of Reagan on these issues is intellectually dishonest.

        • Kal

          In what way, exactly?

          Let me try to forestall any diversion by reminding everyone one that I didn’t say anything about Obama’s “moral depravity”, nor am I interested in his personal qualities. My contention is that he supports Israeli apartheid. I see two ways of disputing that – by denying that the status quo in Palestine is apartheid, or by denying that Obama supports that status quo. Which is your position?

          • My contention is that he supports Israeli apartheid.

            But in a totally non-depraved way, that doesn’t reflect anything about him personally.

            Obama seems pretty happy with Israeli apartheid.

          • Left_Wing_Fox

            In what way, exactly?

            Reactive versus Inactive versus Proactive.

            You are claiming because Obama is not proactively trying to abolish Israeli Apartheid, he is just as bad as someone who actively tried to block efforts to stop South African apartheid.

            If doing nothing is morally equivalent to resisting change, that’s a rather exclusive little club of omnipotent and omniscient activists you belong to.

            • Kal

              I don’t count $2-3 billion in military aid per year, closer than ever military relations, constant diplomatic cover, etc as doing nothing. The existence of other & more extreme supporters of these policies does not change the fact that Obama supports them.

              • True, and the US under Reagan did not give South Africa billions in military aid. He instead vetoed economic sanctions against Pretoria. That is he maintained an officially neutral position rather than the hostile stance desired by many in Congress. In contrast the US govt. maintains an official policy of unconditional support for Israel.

                But, what will never be discussed by the left wing supporters of Israel is the fact that Israel’s military and security assistance to Pretoria was far more important to maintianing S. African apartheid than anything the US under Reagan ever did. Israel was the single largest sanction buster, particularly with regards to arms, during the 1980s. Nothing Reagan did can compare to Israeli support for South Africa’s apartheid regime. But, no left wing Zionist Democrat (which is all of them) will ever, ever, admit this.

              • I don’t count $2-3 billion in military aid per year, closer than ever military relations, constant diplomatic cover, etc as doing nothing.

                This determination not to take relevant context into account is an intellectual dead end.

                It matters where the starting point is, and what the President does or does not do to move the ball down the field.

                • For instance, George W. Bush spent more money on Medicaid than Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter combined.

                  I think it would be unwise to conclude that he was “happy” about public health insurance for the poor.

        • Uncle Kvetch

          Right–to say that Obama somehow has the moral depravity of Reagan on these issues is intellectually dishonest.

          I agree. It’s not depravity, it’s merely cowardice.

          • It’s easy to be a hero on internet comment threads.

            Did you see the reaction Congress gave to Nethanyahu? Obama should piss away political capital that he could use on something productive, in order to run into that brick wall, why, exactly?

            • DocAmazing

              I thought wed did away with the “political capital” argument. Huh. Must be an even-numbered week.

              • You think a lot of things. I try not to worry about it too much.

            • Anonymous

              Congress has an 11 percent rating.

              Netanyahu is a total asshole who has the same respect and opinion of Obama as Joe ‘You Lie!’ Wilson.

              Obama can give them both the amount of respect that they deserve.

              • It’s not a question of giving them respect, but of useless wheel-spinning. He could have made a big show of accomplishing nothing and handed the Likudniks a big, public PR win, sure. But what would that have accomplished?

                It seems a bad fight to pick to me.

    • LeeEsq

      Israel Apartheid, you say? In Apartheid South Africa there were zero Africans involved with official politics at any level. In Israel, the Knesset has fourteen Arab members. There are also Arab mayors and local council holder, civil servants, diplomats, army officers, and judges including on the Supreme Court of Israel. An Arab judge, George Kara, recently presided over the rape trial where the defendant was the President of Israel, and a Jew, and convicted him of rape.

      Meanwhile, the surrounding states are officially and proudly Jew free. In fact, the entire nation of Libya recently got together to kick to one Jewish Libya refugee who tried to return.

      http://jewishrefugees.blogspot.com/2011/10/hail-to-champion-of-libyan-jewish.html

      http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/57302/even-after-gaddafi-no-hope-a-jewish-future

      Even in Indonesia where there are only two dozen Jews and hundreds of millions of Muslims, the Muslims seem to be unable to stand any Jewish presence: http://www.jewishjournal.com/community/article/from_indonesia_to_israel_by_way_of_la_20100804/

      Nobody seems to have a problem with this, especially amount the Israel apartheid people. Especially the idiots who call Israel an apartheid regime.

      • Kal

        Arabs citizens of Israel are, on the whole, better off than Blacks under South African apartheid. Arabs in Gaza and arguably the West Bank are, on the whole, worse off. Apartheid South Africa didn’t launch massive bombing campaigns against the bantustans. But the whole is one system.

        Antisemitism, in the Middle East or anywhere, is not excusable. However, the US does not give billions of dollars which are used for the maintenance of military rule over Jews. Nor do you get people in comments threads on liberal blogs defending racist practices in countries other than Israel as just A-OK. Thus, one may feel more obliged to speak up about the one case than the other.

        • LeeEsq

          Yes but the problem with the entire anti-Zionist paradigm is that the position that it adopts towards Jews is cross fingers and hope it doesn’t turn out that badly without any contingency plans if it does turn out badly.

  • sleepyirv

    The fact conservatives are always on the wrong side of a race issue looking back from a decade or two for the past 80 years or so does NOT MEAN they’re currently on the wrong side!

    Right?

    • wengler

      They are on the right side in the case of corporations vs. democracy.

  • Mrs Tilton

    Ronald Reagan … was for all intents and purposes pro-apartheid. As of course was Dick Cheney…

    Now, that is just unfair and mean. Republicans agreed that apartheid was evil and wrong. They simply taught us that it would disappear fastest and bestest through CONSTRUCTIVE ENGAGEMENT™. That this policy coincided with the interests of major Republican donors was no doubt, eh, coincidental.

  • DrDick

    Given that he launched his presidential campaign with a pro-states’ rights speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone.

    • Correct.

      It’s notable that Reagan was not redneck. He didn’t go to the mat for South Africa, or pander to segregationists, because he believed in white supremacy.

      In both cases, he knowingly aligned himself with evil for political purposes. The segregationists could help him beat the Democrats, and the South Africans could help him beat the Soviet Bloc.

      The man had not the slightest compunction against getting in bed with the devil.

      • DrDick

        The man had not the slightest compunction against getting in bed with the devil.

        I think he rather enjoyed it.

      • Not to mention who he allied himself with in Central America. . .

        • MAJeff

          And his alliances with the theocrats in America certainly facilitated his “let the faggots die” response to AIDS.

          • DrDick

            I rather think he would have joyfully embraced Cthulhu given an opportunity to do so. There was no evil he did not embrace.

    • wengler

      Its almost as if he was a mean, terrible, disgusting President.

      • DrDick

        Why are you flattering him like that?

    • heckblazer

      Hell, Reagan campaigned for the repeal of California’s Fair Housing Act in 1964. Sadly, that helped get elected governor.

  • wiley

    Apartheid and El Salvador were the issues of a lot of activism in my early college years. There was a push to get the University of Texas to divest. It worked if I remember correctly. There was also a lot of blockading of federal buildings to protest American involvement in El Salvador, and a lot of very good articles in alternative media with in-depth information and pictures of death squads and such. Reagan’s foreign policies were pretty much protested continually. Nice trick the Republicans and the media have done, making it appear that Reagan was wildly popular with everyone.

    The one thing I’ll give that criminal president credit for is getting real about the Salt Talks and seriously dealing with the threat itself of nuclear weapons. Other than that, he was one toxic clown.

    • Walt

      Nuclear weapons was the one issue where Reagan was to the left of the entire Republican party, and a significant fraction of the Democrats.

      • George Will wrote a column the day after Reagan and Gorbachev signed their nuclear arms treaty, in which he said “Yesterday will be remembered as the day America lost the Cold War.”

        • wengler

          Those events almost entirely undercut the rightwing argument on the end of the Cold War too.

          If the US truly ‘spent the Soviet Union into the ground’ then why would limiting one of the costliest components of the defense state be beneficial?

          It’s almost as if a decaying, stagnant empire got ripped apart at the seams by national upheavals brought about by liberalizing reforms.

          Ah nevermind, refitting WWII battleships made Moscow shit their pants.

          • In this area, Reagan really is more impressive than the Reagan-ites. The man spent literally decades denouncing Truman/Kennan Containment policy, and urging the U.S. to adopt a Rollback policy. He ran on doing so, won, and began working aggressively to implement one.

            And then Containment worked. The endgame of the policy – wait around, prevent expansion, and hold tight until the Soviet Union either reforms or collapses – appears, and Reagan was willing and able not only to recognize that reality, but to toss overboard an ideological position to which he was devoutly committed, and embrace the contrary position that his opponents had been arguing. How many other Presidents have done the same?

            • wengler

              Wilson? Changing a policy to the exact opposite of what you campaigned on happens to nearly every President. Reagan largely let Bush deal with the consequences of his mindless military buildup and tax cuts for the rich.

              And Bush the Elder will probably be the last Republican president that concerned himself with ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’.

              • wiley

                It’s amazing how good his son’s Presidency made him look. During the W. years, I missed the sobriety of his father, who at least, was able to “keep the crazies in the basement.”

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