Tags: Bill Clinton | Diplomacy | Barack Obama | South Africa

South Africa US Diplomacy Restored

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Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 09:51 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In South Africa’s brief 20 year democracy the relationship with the U.S. has had its fair share of highs and lows. Coming out of apartheid President Nelson Mandela and President Clinton renewed diplomatic ties between the countries after the sanctions against South Africa were lifted.

A friendship between the two presidents saw the inclusion of South Africa in the African Growth and Opportunities Act — AGOA.

However the two succeeding president’s were unable to sustain the diplomatic relationship. President Mbeki was weary of the unpopular Bush administration to the point where he was viewed as paranoid during the peak of his AIDS denialism.

An article by Verashni Pillay, in the Mail and Guardian, reported that American AIDS relief in South Africa at that time added to Mbeki’s paranoia as he did not see the AIDS crisis as being severe enough for U.S. intervention. “In an address to ANC parliamentarians at a caucus meeting on September 28 2000, the Mail & Guardian reported that Mbeki accused the CIA of working covertly alongside the US pharmaceutical industry to undermine him as he posed a risk to drug company profits. In a subsequent "BBC Hard Talk" interview, Mbeki denied the story as a 'pure invention', despite numerous MPs confirming the comments.”

“These comments during Mbeki’s time were very common,” said Dr. Scott Firsing, an international relations expert with Monash University. “It was common practice from 1994 to earn political points with the ANC by bashing the US and the imperialists.”

Under the Obama administration, with the help of Patrick H. Gaspard the current U.S. ambassador to South Africa, the relationship once again improved dramatically. In a country where unemployment is 25 percent, current president Jacob Zuma is able to appreciate the over 150 000 jobs created in South Africa through AGOA.

Proof of the improved relationship came through this past week when CIA allegations were once again tossed around without basis. However, this time around instead of creating propaganda the offending party withdrew his comments within days of voicing them.

His withdrawal was in response to a few strong worded tweets by Gaspard.

Matthew Klynsmith earned a business administration diploma at CTI in Cape Town, South Africa. He now works at Strategic Options as an associate partner. To read more reports from Matthew Klynsmith, Go Here Now.
 
 
 



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Under the Obama administration, with the help of Patrick H. Gaspard the current U.S. ambassador to South Africa, the relationship once again improved dramatically.
Bill Clinton, Diplomacy, Barack Obama, South Africa
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2014-51-17
Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 09:51 AM
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