Your editorial (May 30), “Battling Apartheid,” asks “What, if anything, can the United States do to accelerate the abandonment of apartheid?” This sentiment, although not new, never fails to shock me by its sheer audacity.
What, if anything, do the internal affairs of South Africa have to do with this country?
You will say, yes, but the South African government is oppressing an entire race, and therefore it is our moral duty to interfere. South Africa neglected its duty, one could say, in not interfering in our affairs when we were busy slaughtering American Indians and confining the survivors to reservations (read homelands).
Be that as it may, with our recently acquired moral superiority over the rest of the world, and given our puritanical heritage, which demands that we impose our standards upon others, the real question we should ask is, “What, if anything, should the United States do about U.S. investments in countries with even worse records of oppression than South Africa?”
Should we, for example, divest funds from companies doing business with the Soviet Union until certain criteria have been met, namely that Russian citizens be given freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, freedom to travel and the right to a public trial by a jury of peers--not to mention a democratic form of government?
Or is government oppression only worthy of “American revulsion” (your phrase) when governments oppress citizens of another race? And if this is the case, is not that posture, in itself, racist?