Thesis: US Relations W. South Africa

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U.S. Relations W/South Africa

Racism has always been a divisive matter, but fortunately it appears to have been eradicated from most parts of the modern society. The apartheid system of laws functioning in South Africa throughout most of the twentieth century proved that discrimination can still be performed in modern times. The South African government encouraged its citizens to differentiate blacks through various methods. The black people residing in South Africa during the century had suffered greatly as a result of them being controlled by the government, with any sign of retaliation being quickly put down by the authorities.

Considering the fact that the U.S. has had a history in discrimination, and, has actually started a civil war in order to stop the exploitation of people based on race, it would only be natural for this country to manifest against any form of differentiation among fellow humans. However, along with other nations which had presumably promoted liberalism and free-thinking, the U.S. supported the South African government in its efforts of singling out non-whites.

The Apartheid law system has gotten its notoriety from its very first days, after it had been put into practice. Several nations have had a quick reaction to the exploit performed by the South African government. Even with that, none of the respective nations have taken any significant measures in order to stop the apartheid system. While the whole world expressed its dissatisfaction with the actions performed by the South Africans, the South African government did not appear to be willing to change its politics towards discrimination.

Most people believed that the South African government would be obliged to get rid of the controversial law system consequent to it being isolated both economically and politically from the rest of the world. However, certain world leaders refused to go through with isolating South Africa, most probably because the performance would interfere with the fact that a number of influential people gained large profits from making business with South Africa. In contrast, "those who supported strong pressure in the form of economic sanctions and disinvestment criticized their opponents for disguising "business as usual" with moral hypocrisy." (Lindsay Michie Eades 1999 pp. 82) It is not surprising that apartheid went on, with its supporters encountering no resistance in the form of other nations.

Apparently, South Africa has a history in imperfect governing, as it had constantly came across problems related to various intervening factors.

It is possible that its faulty government has also been an influencing factor in the end of apartheid, even with the significant assistance that it received from the outside world.

South Africa largely depended on the U.S. And on Western Europe when concerning its industry, and, its capacity to produce resources for the public. Having this in mind, one can easily realize the simplicity involved in forcing the South African government to abandon its harsh policies.

Discrimination is wrong, and, during the apartheid regime, a great number of people have attempted to influence their governments to stop any form of collaboration with South Africa. The 1970s and 1980s saw an increasing demand for international companies to stop discriminating non-whites in South Africa. International companies took advantage of the apartheid, as they could employ non-whites to work for low wages. The Sullivan Principles are two corporate conduct codes which have been produced by African-American reverend Leon Sullivan, as a response to the apartheid law system. The reverend had mainly intended to address matters such as morality and honor, with the purpose of persuading international corporations to work against the African government.

A large number of companies favored the concept at the time, and, as a result, they began to hire non-whites and giving them the same wages as they gave to their white employees. It is not difficult to understand such an idea, as companies would not become disadvantaged during the process, with them simply having non-whites instead of having whites as workers.

The Sullivan Principles worked against the apartheid, with large companies considering people from all backgrounds to be equal.

As the matter had become public, more and more international institutions had begun to express their criticism toward the actions performed by the South African government. In spite of the fact that it had been difficult for it to do so, the U.S. government decided not to act in the 1960s, as its economic ties with South Africa could have been suspended by a potential intervention in the country. Influential people from the U.S. apparently claimed that it had been pointless for their country to interfere in South Africa's problems by restricting the trade business between the two countries. Instead of acting accordingly, these people pressured the state in adopting strategies which had been known to have little effect in South Africa.

It appears that the U.S. also feared that it breaking its connections to South Africa would trigger a wave of communism across the country. However, it had been obvious that communism would not be welcomed by South Africans, with them being obsessed to keeping their form of government from the time. There existed a relation of interdependence between the two countries, and, while South Africa depended on the U.S. For various purposes, the U.S. depended on South Africa when concerning the country's need in strategic metals. Apparently, U.S. leaders believed that it had been more important to avoid having communism expand into South Africa than it had been to put an end to apartheid.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had made an important step by imposing an oil embargo on South Africa in 1973. This did not succeed in convincing South Africans to change something about the apartheid law system, since they continued to be supplied with oil by Iran. The South African government realized that the country had been vulnerable when concerning its reliance on outside resources. Thus, the country began to start programs that would supply its people with manufactured goods produced within the country's borders.

While South Africa could apparently do well on its own, other countries began to feel the consequences of the oil crisis in the 1970s. Shortly but slowly, the crisis made its presence felt in South Africa also, and, people realized that they had to exploit everything that they could in order to have their country recover.

Authoritarian regimes from around the world had been falling under revolutions started by their own people. However, this could not be the case with South Africa, as its military and the most influential people in the state favored the concept of discrimination, and, had been determined to maintain apartheid in the country. Observing that the apartheid regime prevented the nation from making profits by properly exploiting its non-white population, certain members of the National Party (NP-which had then been in charge of the country) realized that discrimination had to stop.

It is divisive whether the respective people wanted to stop apartheid because they considered discrimination to be wrong, or, whether they simply became aware that the country would suffer greatly as a result of continuing to support the apartheid regime.

South Africa has been a symbol of racial inequality in the modern times, with it having supported racism for decades. Also, a great number of white South Africans today seem unwilling to leave their convictions behind, indirectly expressing their racism. Non-whites had been harshly segregated all across the apartheid period, with them being differentiated in most public places, ranging from schools to toilets.

It all seemed to be getting better in 1962, when "the General Assembly passed a resolution requesting its member states to break diplomatic relations with South Africa, close ports to ships flying the South African flag, prohibit their ships from entering South African ports, boycott South African trade, and refuse landing and passage facilities to all aircraft belonging to the government of South Africa or companies registered there." (Eades 1999 pp. 84) Sanctions continued to follow in the next years, even if they had not had a visible effect in South Africa.

Even after witnessing the distress experienced by non-whites in South Africa, the U.S. had preferred to remain impartial, focusing on the fact that its economic relations with the country had been more important than the political problems that South Africans experienced in the 1970s and in the 1980s.

The U.N. had been determined to control the situation in South Africa through various methods. Several embargoes had been implemented, in order for the South African government to realize that they could not function without help from the outside, and, eventually, that they had to finish the apartheid system. Even if the embargoes on oil and arms appeared to be enough for the U.N. To put pressure on South Africa, it seemed that the Pretoria government could continue to work without U.N. support.

In order to get a hint concerning the profits that the U.S. made as a result of its connection to South Africa, one would only need to consider the computers that were sold… [END OF PREVIEW]

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