Skip to main content

Full text of "Africa, Soviet imperialism and the retreat of American power"

See other formats

: ii nyii 

'3 1U1 00325 2884 

SD Papers: Z 

Africa, Soviet 
&the Retreat 
of American 


Bayard Rustin 


Carl Gershman 



Reprinted by 

Social Democrats, USA 

275 Seventh Avenue 

New York, MY. 10001 


Reprinted from Commentary, October 1977, by permission; 
copyright © 1977 by the American Jewish Committee. 

Africa, Soviet Imperialism & the Retreat of 

American Power 

Bayard Rustin and Carl Gershman 

A 1 

fter years of being regarded by 
the United States as a continent ol 
little political, strategic,, or economic significance. 
Africa has quite suddenly become the object of 
considerable attention in Washington. Vice Presi- 
dent Walter Mondale has been charged with the 
task of overseeing U.S. African policy. Our highest 
official s, including especially UN Ambassador An- 
drew Young, have visited Africa during the past 
year and a half, after former Secretary of State 
Henry Kissinger devoted his last effort in shuttle 
diplomacy to finding a solution to the Rhodesian 
crisis. At each of the two recent conventions of the 
NAACP, the American Secretary of State has de- 
livered a major address on U-S- policy in Africa. 

One is tempted to attribute the current interest 
in Africa to the election of a new administration 
with dose tics to the civil-rights movement. But 
this does not explain the very high priority which 
the Ford administration, too, gave to U.S. policy 
in Africa, at least during its last year. In fact, the 
emergence of Africa as a major concern of US* 
foreign policy is the result of historic develop- 
ments in southern Africa which began with the 
collapse of Portuguese colonialism in 1974 and 
1 4 J75. Of these developments, the most significant 
was the victory in the Angolan civil war of the fac- 
tion supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba. 

Americans find It very easy to forget what hap- 
pened in Angola. There is a pronounced tendency 
—quite evident even among those now shaping 
U.S. policy— T& minimize the significance of the 
victory achieved there by Soviet arms and Cuban 
troops. This is a mi state. The victory of the prO- 
Soviet forces in Angola not only increased Africa's 
vulnerability to a fate considerably worse than 
colonialism, but, to a degree not yet fully appreci- 
ated, it also weakened the security of the West. 

The Angolan war showed up the failure of the 
United States to develop a sound African policy, 
or any African policy at all, and it exposed the 

BmarO RCsTI.\ U president oi the A. Philip Randolph 
Institute and national chairman of Social Democrat, USA. 
A long-time civil-rights trader in the United States, he was 
also a founder, in 19?], of the Comminee to Support Souih 
African Resistance and worked in Africa in support of the 
independence movements of Ghana, Nigeria, Tanganyika, 
and Zambia. Carl G£Rshma\ is executive director of -So- 
cial Democrats. USA. Both Mr. Rustin and Mr. Gershman 
are frequent contributor to Commentary. 

total disorientation of American liberals, still reel- 
ing from the effects of Vietnam. It may be too late 
to undo the damage wrought in Angola itself, but 
what happened there stands as a warning signal 
that needs to be understood if we are to avoid sim- 
ilar and possibly more damaging setbacks in the 

The coup in Portugal which ended 
half a century of fascist rule there 
also spelled the end of Portugal's African empire 
—in Angola, Mozambique, Guinea, and the Cape 
Verde Islands. As independence became inevita- 
ble, the only question was the manner in which 
the decolonization process would take place and 
the nature of the political forces that would in 
herit Portuguese rule. The American administra- 
tion was preoccupied with the radicalizatlon 
going on in Portugal itself, particularly with the 
growing influence of the hard-line pro-Soviet Por- 
tuguese Communist party of Alvaro Cunhal r And 
in any event the U-S. was not in a position to af- 
fect matters in Portuguese Africa since it had been 
caught completely off-guard. 

Until that moment, American policy had been 
based upon a National Security Council Memo- 
randum on Africa drafted in 1969 and presented 
to President Nixon in January 1970. The memo 
recommended a handsoff policy toward Portu- 
guese colonial ism and a loosening of the arms em- 
bargo and Other restrictions that the Kennedy ad- 
ministration had imposed on the white minority 
regimes of southern Africa. It must be embarras- 
sing for Kissinger to remember that the memo 
judged the staying power of Portuguese colonial- 
ism to be greater than "the depth and permanence 
of black, resolve,'' and thus "rule[d] out a black, 
victory at any stage" At the time of the transfer 
of power the United States was tied to the bank- 
rupt policies of the past and unprepared to affect 
the future. Not so the Communists. 

Angola was no doubt a prise of considerable im- 
portance to Moscow, possibly more so than Por- 
tugal itself. It was valuable economically, with its 
rich supplies of oil, diamonds, iron ore, copper, 
and other mineral resources; strategically, with its 
location along the southern Atlantic coast and its 



proximity to future points of conflict in southern 
Africa; and politically, because of the Soviet Un- 
ion's sharp competition with China in Africa and 
with die United States all over the world. 

The Soviet Union and the Portuguese Commu- 
nist party (PCP) were able to pursue a dual strat- 
egy, the former providing military aid to the Popu- 
lar Movement for the Liberation of Angola 
(MP LA), one of three guerrilla groups, the PCP 
using its influence in Portugal to speed the process 
of decolonization and to strengthen the position of 
the MPLA relative to that of the competing move- 
ments. During the second half of 1974, Moscow 
shipped some S6 million in arms to the MPLA via 
Dar es Salaam, while a second route was opened 
through Congo-Bra zaavi lie. 

On January 15, 1975, a political formula for 
the peaceful transfer of power was agreed to by 
the MPLA and the tw f o other competing groups, 
the National Front for the Liberation of Angola 
(FN LA) and the National Union for the Total 
Liberation of Angola (UNITA). Independence 
day was set for November 11, and a transitional 
government including the three groups was to be 
established which would prepare for an election 
two weeks before independence. It is inconceiva- 
ble,, however, that the MPLA ever seriously in 
tended to go into elections it would undoubtedly 
have lost to Jonas Savimbi's UNITA, which was 
supported by the country's largest ethnic group. 
Certainly, the military effort the Russians were 
making indicated they had no intention of settling 
for anything less than victory on the field of bat- 

During 1975 K the Soviet Union shipped $200 
million of arms to the MPLA, J 'an amount equal 
to total military assistance to all of sub-Saharan 
Africa from all sources in 1974/' according to are- 
cent study by Walter F. Hahn and Alvin J, Goi- 
tre] 1* In February 1976, the month the MPLA 
achieved its ultimate victory, U.S. officials esti- 
mated that the Russians had poured in $300 
million during the preceding eleven months. 

The weapons shipped by the Russians in 1975 
included 600 tanks, 500 trucks, 12 MlG-21 fighters, 
anti-lank wire-guided missiles, and light artillery. 
Also included were over a hundred \T1 mm, rocket 
launchers, the weapon that was later to prove deci- 
sive in the vast territorial gains made by the 
MPLA in the three months following Angolan in- 
dependence. Soviet military advisers accompanied 
these weapons, and in May the first contingent of 
Cuban advisers arrived on the scene. According to 
the admission of Cuba's Deputy Foreign Minister 
Carlos Rafael Rodriguez on January 10, 1976, 250 
Cuban military instructors were in Angola in the 
spring of 1975, By August, Cubans were engaged 
in actual fighting; by late September, they began 
to arrive in large numbers, with the cost of trans- 
porting and equipping them picked up entirely by 
the Soviet Union, At the peak of the fighting, 

J 1 

there were anywhere from 12,000 to 18,000 of 
these "Russian mercenaries" (as the Chinese 
called them) in Angola. This was the first time 
that foreign Communist forces had openly inter- 
vened in Africa, 

W H i! 


[at was the response of the 
United States? In January 1975, 
the U.S. had authorized a token $300,000 in aid 
to the FN LA, the less effective of the two groups 
opposed to the MPLA. In July— by which time, 
according to Kissinger, "the military situation rad- 
ically favored the MPLA"— an additional $30 mil- 
lion in covert aid was authorized for both the 
FNLA and UNITA, But the military situation 
was deteriorating rapidly, and the growing opposi- 
tion in the U.S. Congress to any American involve- 
ment led to a mood of desperation among the 
MPLA's opponents- At this point the FNLA and 
UNITA, along with the leaders of Zambia and 
Zaire ^who were terrified at the prospect of having 
a Soviet satellite implanted on their border), 
turned to South Africa for help. 

The first South African column crossed the An- 
golan border on October 14, a full two months 
after the Cubans entered the fighting and several 
weeks after the major build-up of Cuban troops. 
From a military point of view, the intervention 
was a success. But the intervention proved poli- 
tically insupportable following the capture and 
public display of four South African prisoners in 
December, the cut-off by the U.S. Senate of Ameri- 
can military support later that month, and the 
stalemate at the meeting of the Organization of 
African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa in Januarv. 
On January 22, the South Africans pulled back, 
leaving the field to UNITA, which a Time corres- 
pondent described as "short of everything but 
spirit and dedication." It took the Cubans two 
months to occupy the territory left by the retreat- 
ing South Africans, and they have not been able 
to crush the UNITA resistance since. 

When the US. Senate voted on December 19, 
1975 to cut off all covert assistance to UNITA 
and the FNLA, the administration was left with 
only one card to play— detente. The adminlstra^ 
tion admitted on December 24, a week after the 
Senate vote, that it had made no formal protest 
against the Soviet arms build-up until the end of 
October. A "top-ranking administration official," 
undoubtedly Kissinger himself, blamed this inex- 
cusable delay on an (unlikely) intelligence lapse, h 
would have been better to have protested in the 
spring, he said, but "we didn't realize until later 
that the Soviets were going in so heavily." This ac- 
count is almost certainh false, since President 

* Soviet Shadow Over Africa, Genie* for Advanced Inter- 
national Studies, University qE Miami, p. 61. 

Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia had been in Washing- 
ion in April, privately sounding the alarm about 
Che deterioration of the situation in Angola. Even 
if it were true, however, the administration still 
waited over three months before issuing a private 
protest to the Kremfin-and over four months be- 
fore mating the protest public. 


i he administration's detente diploma- 
cy, when finally initiated, proved to- 
tally ineffectual. At the end of November, Kissin- 
ger warned that "lime is running out; continua- 
tion of an interventionist policy must inevitably 
threaten other relationships." The Soviet response 
was immediate. The Soviet press agency, Tass, 
accused the U.S. of sending military person 
nel and weapons to Angola "for the reinforce- 
ment of the forces of the foreign interventionists/' 
An editorial in Izvettia the same day sharply re- 
buked Kissinger: "Some would like to convince us 
that the process of detente in the world and sup- 
port of the national-liberation struggle are incom- 
patible things. Similar things have been main- 
tained before, but in vain. The process of detente 
does not mean and never meant the freezing of the 
social -political status quo in the world. . . . ,r 

None of this seemed to shake the administra- 
tion's faith in detente. On January 3, President 
Ford noted that the large-scale Soviet military in- 
volvement in Angola was "inconsistent with the 
aims and objectives of detente," yet when asked 
whether he was any less enthusiastic about the 
prospects for detente, he replied, "I am not at 
all"; and two days later, in St. Louis, lie reassured 
the American Farm Bureau Federation that the 
U.S. had no intention of cutting off grain ship- 
ments to Russia as a retaliation against that coun- 
try's actions in Angola, 

The administration did express "dismay" later, 
when a Soviet guided-missile destroyer and an am- 
phibious landing ship were seen heading toward 
Angola. Kissinger went so far as to say that he 
might postpone his visit to Moscow later that 
month to continue arms-control talks. But he did 
not postpone his visit, nor did he make any prog- 
ress on Angola when he met with Brezhnev during 
his three days in Moscow. On the contrary, at pre- 
cisely the same time that Kissinger was in Mos- 
cow, the MPLA Foreign Minister Jose liduardo dos 
Santos was also there, getting pledges of additional 
Soviet support. Santos, whose departure coincided 
with Kissinger's, told reporters at the airport that 
"the Soviet Union is in the forefront of helping 
the Angolan people to repel the aggression of 
racist and imperialist forces." 

Obviously making no headway with Moscow, 
Kissinger decided to address his warnings to Ha- 
vana. By early February he was taking the line 
that the Cubans were "exporting revolution" at 
their own initiative, not at the behest of the Rus 
sians. On March 4 he warned Cuba to "act with 

great circumspection" in southern Africa, adding 
that "our actions cannot always be deduced by 
what we did in Angola." Later that month he 
stated with apparent firmness that "The United 
States will not accept further Cuban military in- 
terventions abroad." But as the London Econo- 
mist observed, his use of the word "accept" instead 
of "permit/' and his observation that action 
■"cannot be rammed down the throats of an un- 
willing Congress or public, ' indicated the extent 
to which his hands were tied. 

The weakness of the administration's policy was 
typified by its precipitous and unwarranted gener- 
osity toward the Luanda regime following the 
M PLA's victory. The Economist had made the 
very sensible proposal that the U.S. condition 
American economic cooperation with the new re- 
gime on the withdrawal of the Cubans. But before 
the month of February was over, the State Depart- 
ment had given the green light to the Boeing 
Company and Gulf Oil— both of which had bro- 
ken off commercial ties with the MPLA during 
the war— to resume relations. At the very moment 
the Cubans were trying to crush UNITA's resist- 
ance in the south, Boeing technicians arrived in 
Luanda to work on air traffic-control facilities, 
while Gulf turned over to the MPLA regime $100 
million in back royalties from oil production in 
Cabinda. Gulf continues to produce Cabinda oil, 
the revenues from which finance the costly and 
undiminished Cuban occupation. 

Kissinger was understandably angn with the 
Congress and the liberals for failing to appreciate 
the dangerous consequences of the triumph of So- 
viet adventurism in Angola. Yet clearly he himself 
was in large part responsible for his failure. Having 
led the American people to believe that Commu- 
nism was no longer a threat— that something called 
detente had replaced "the cold war"— he could 
hardly blame them for being unprepared to re- 
spond adequately when the threat appL-aied. Either 
many Americans simply did not recognize the 
threat, or they allowed themselves the delusion 
that the web of mutually beneficial relationships 
that Kissinger had supposedly woven with Brezh- 
nev would ultimately restrain the Kremlin. But 
when detente wa s invoked— belatedly, as if to 
show that Kissinger feared putting it to the test- 
it proved to be what some had always suspected it 
was: not a name for eased tensions, let alone for 
peace, but a cover for the tactical retreat by one 
deeply troubled power in the face of the growing 
might and brazen nesi of die other, 



o other single series of events in 
the four decades since Munich dem- 
onstrates more clearly than diis the impotence of 
the democratic world in the face o£ totalitarian ag- 
gression. Although the conservative Ford adminis- 

tration will bear the historic responsibility for 
failing to act, its failure was strongly abetted (and 
more) by liberal opinion, both in Congress and in 
the country at large, 

During the debate over Angola, the constantly 
recurring theme of liberals opposed to U.S. in- 
volvement was, in the words of Senator Edward 
M. Kennedy, that America must "heed the lessons 
of Vietnam." "If we learned anything from our ex- 
perience in Vietnam," Senator Birch Bayh said, it 
is "the folly of permitting a cold-war mentality to 
lead us to choose sides in an internal conflict in a 
remote corner of Africa which presents no real 
threat to our national security or to our vital na- 
tional interests/' The New York Times, warning 
of H an African quagmire/' wondered whether the 
administration had "yet learned anything from the 
Indochina disaster about the limits of effective 
American assistance and intervention in remote 
and extremely complicated conflicts touching only 
indirectly on American interests." 

L 1 

ike Vietnam, the Angola experience 
also appears to have had its "lessons" 
for American liberals. The central "lesson" is that 
Soviet policies do not threaten the basic interests 
or security of the United States, and that in the final 
analysis, the U,S, offers the greater threat to 
world peace. Both Tom Wicker and Graham 
Hovey of the New York Times, for example, dis- 
missed as "apocalyptic" Daniel P. Moyni ban's 
warning that if the Communists won in Angola, 
they would "considerably control the oil shipping 
lanes from the Persian Gulf to Europe" and "the 
world will be different in the aftermath;' Senator 
Alan Cranston observed that all the Russians were 
doing was supporting "anti-colonialism" in An- 
gola, John A, Marcum, writing on the "lessons of 
Angola" in Foreign Affairs, described the Soviet 
build-up not as an aggression but as a response,, in 
stages, to Chinese rivalry (in late 1974), to FN LA 
provocations (in the spring of 1975), and to the 
shipment of U.S. aid {after July), the last of 
which "seemed almost designed to provoke die 
Russians into seeking maximum advantage." 

A number of commentator* went further. 
Tom Wicker actually endorsed the MP LA 
(claiming "it has more popular support among 
Angolans") and opposed both the proposal for 
elections in Angola and the formation of a nation- 
al-unity government made up of the MPLA, the 
FNLA, and UN IT A, Walter Cronkite of CBS, 
fearing that we were on the brink of another Viet- 
nam, ran a special "news" series on Angola "to try 
to play our small part in preventing that mistake 
this time." Probably more effective than anything 
else was an "expos£" by Seymour M. Hersh which 
appeared on the front page of the New York 
Times the very day of the Senate vote. It pur- 
ported to show that the Soviet build-up was un- 
dertaken in response to a previously undisclosed 

CIA authorization for Angola, and not. as the ad- 
ministration claimed, out of expansionist Soviet 
designs. The opening paragraph claimed that the 
authorization "came in January 1975, more than 
two months before the first significant Soviet 
build-up." This "disclosure," according to the 
Hersh article, raised "'new questions about which 
nation— the United States or the Soviet Union- 
initiated what in Angola/" Senator Cranston, de- 
lighted with the article, placed it in the Congres- 
sional Record immediately following the Senate 
vote to cut off aid. 

Many liberals raised the issue of the "immoral- 
ity" of American policy in Angola It was Vietnam 
all over again, only this time we were not support- 
ing the "reactionary Thieu dictatorship" but were 
involved, in the words of Senator John Tunney. 
"side by side with the repressive white-supremacist 
regime in South Africa." Senator Charles Percy de- 
plored "getting in bed with South Africa/" while 
Senator Bayh found it "incredible and distressing" 
that we were "drifting . . . into support of a fac- 
tion whose most active supporter is South Africa, a 
nation which is the very embodiment of racial re- 
pression,' 1 

Finally, many Senators who opposed U.S. in- 
volvement in Angola minimized the consequences 
of an MPLA victory out of the belief that nation- 
alism, not Communism, would be the ultimate 
victor. The MPLA, according to Senator John 
Tunney, was not pro-Soviet but "basically pro- 
Angolan, socialist, and highly nationalistic"' 
Senator Claiborne Pell was confident that the Rus- 
sians would gain nothing "for all their intrigues 
and efforts" since "any Soviet 'victory" will be short- 
lived. The most powerful force in the non-aligned 
world is nationalism— an ideology that rejects ex- 
ternal control regardless of whether the ideology 
comes from" the East or West."' Iowa's Dick 
Chirk, who as chairman of the African Subcom- 
mittee of the Foreign Relations Committee is the 
Senate "expert" on Africa, saw Angola as mereH 
"a tribal civil war in central Africa" in which all 
the factions shared similar goalfT'ti the MPLA 
wins," he said, "the Soviets will be lucky if they 
can hang on a year or two/" 

Perhaps the first thing to be noted about the 
liberal debate over Angola is that the "lesson" 
which the United States was being urged to draw 
from its experience in Vietnam was precisely the 
same lesson the Soviet Union had learned and on 
the basis of which it was acting. Thus, comment- 
ing on the U.S. Senate's refusal to appropriate 
funds for Angola, Izvcstia editorialized January 
10, 1976): "In response to the administrations re- 
quest Congress has said no, and support from the 
public has not been forthcoming. The lessons of 
the Vietnam adventure . , . are still too fresh in 
the memories of Americans." The Soviet leaders' 
awareness of the post-Vietnam paralysis in the 
United States unquestionably affected their calcu- 

la t tons on Angola. This explains both the con- 
tempi with which they treated Kissinger's helpless 
protestations and the boldness of their thrust for 
total military victory. 

THt Liberal "case" against involvement 
in Angola was based op a tissue of 
misconceptions and wishful thinking. Senator 
Cranston's notion, for example, that the Soviet 
Union was merely supporting ,+ anti-colonialism" 
in Angola combined ignorance with naivete. In the 
first place, as Zambia 1 s President Kaunda point- 
ed out, colonialism was not the issue after the Por- 
tuguese left and the MFLA was no longer a 
liberation movement but one of three competing 
political parties; in the second place, Soviet policy 
in Angola was, if anything, ntfo-colonialist. 

The idea that the Soviet Union was merely re- 
acting in Angola to prior Western moves (as 
argued by John A- Marcum in Foreign Affairs) IS 
of a piece with the "revisionist*" view or the cold war 
which sees the Soviet occupation of Eastern En 
rope after World War II as a defensive reaction to 
provocations from the West, and it is just as 
wrong. President Kaunda called "U.S. arms help 
. . r an effect of the situation, not the cause. , . . The 
Soviet Union has supplied arms to MPLA all 
along, if the United States is asked by others to 
help them accordingly, who am I to stand in their 

The part played by the New York Times in 
reinforcing the liberals' desire not to see what was 
really happening m Angola was substantial. In 
order to endorse the MPLA it was probably neces- 
sary for Tom Wicker to state that they enjoyed a 
majority of popular support among Angolans 
(similar claims were made for the Vietcong at 
the time), but in fact this was a patent false- 
hood. Similarly, Seymour Hersh's critical "'dis- 
closure' 1 of an authorization of funds for Angola 
in January 1975 carefully neglected to reveal until 
deep into the story on an inside page that the size 
of the appropriation which was supposed to have 
provoked the Soviets was only $300,000, and that 
it was "not meant for direct military support"; no 
mention at all was made by Hersh of the extent of 
the Soviet arms build-up before January, only that 
"substantiaT Soviet arms— "at least two shiploads 
and two planeloads"— were sent in March and 
April 1975, The evidence presented in Hersh r s ar- 
ticle may have seemed to him to raise "new ques- 
tions about which nation , . . initiated what in 
Angola, ' but that evidence was both partial and 

Then there is the issue of the morality of Amer- 
ican involvement in Angola, 'side by side with the 
repressive white-supremacist regime in South Af- 
rica" (as Senator Tunney said). The one thing 
the Senators who expressed such concern failed to 
note was that South Africa would not have been 
in Angola at all had the United States provided 

the EN LA and UNITA the wherewithal to fight. 
And if a South African force did intervene at the 
urging of black leaders and on the side of the 
forces that dearly represented the black majority 
in Angola, to counter a non- African army of Cu- 
bans ten times its size, by what standard of politi 
cal judgment is this immoral > 

Equally spurious was the cocky prediction ex- 
pressed in the Congress that even if the MPLA were 
to win in Angola, "the Soviets will be lucky if they 
can hang on a year or two." It is now two years 
since Senator Clark spoke these words, and neither 
the Russians nor the Cubans show any signs of 
letting go. On the contrary, they run the country 
at every level, giving an imposed "stability" (to 
borrow Andrew Young's unconscionable word) to 
the despotic rule of the mixed-blood Dr. Agos- 
dnho Neto and his narrowly based MPLA over an 
ethnically diverse black African state. In July of 
last year Angola became the first African country' 
to participate in the Soviet-led Council for Eco- 
nomic Mutual Assistance (COMECON) and in 
October, during Veto's visit to Moscow, a twenty- 
year agreement was signed to broaden party-to- 
party contacts at all levels. The MPLA is being 
transformed from a tribal-based guerrilla organiza- 
tion into an orthodox Communist party capable 
of running a totalitarian state which it already 
calls a "Marxist-Leninist republic" Since this 
process has not yet been completed, the Cubans 
are on hand (as many as 20,000 to 25,000, accord- 
ing to a congressional study released in May) to 
supervise the running of civil administration and 
education systems, train "trade-union" leaders, 
manage a system of forced labor, and control the 
armed forces and secret police. 

It is not that there is no internal opposition. 
The Neto regime still faces resistance from both 
the FN LA and UNITA, and the Cubans put 
down a coup attempt in May. There have also 
been periodic reports of military purges. But this 
is a far cry from "Russia's Vietnam," a phrase by 
which liberals rationalized non-involvement in 
Angola on the false assumption that the Soviet 
Union was merely sinking into a "quagmire" of 
African tribalism. ("If the Russians want to have 
their own Vietnam in Africa," wrote Arthur M. 
Schlesinger, Jr., in the Wall Street Journal, para- 
phrasing approvingly the position of Senator 
Clark, "why should we deny them that pleas- 
ure?") The Russians, fully aware of this danger, 
have developed a strategy of working through 
"'revolutionary democratic parties" in Africa— spe- 
dfieally, through those activists "who are inspired 
by the ideas of scientific socialism and who are 
fighters against imperialism and any form of capi- 
talist oppression"— to transform them into pro-So- 
viet Leninist parties. In any event, Russia would 
not really have the equivalent of a Vietnam on its 
hands unless outside powers were willing to fur- 
nish UNITA and the FNLA with the kind of mil- 




itary support that the Soviet Union and China 
gave the Vietcong. and unless 3 neighboring state 
backed up the guerrilla war with a massive armed 
invasion, These possibilities are, to say the least, 
exceedingly remote. 

Angola if Russia's Vietnam, however, in the 
sense that it, like Vietnam, represents a triumph 
for Moscow, a defeat for the United States, and a 
catastrophe for a great number of people who are 
being subjected to a totalitarian nightmare. More- 
over, the domino effect may turn out to be no less 
applicable to southern Africa than it has turned 
out to be to Indochina, Neto has not only com- 
mitted himself to the course of armed struggle in 
Rhodesia, Namibia, and ultimately South Africa 
itself* but he has also served notice on Zambia and 
Tanzania that the Angolan model of "socialism" 
is the wave of the future in Africa. 

Kenneth Kaunda chillingly described the inter- 
vention of the Soviet Union and its client-state 
Cubans in Angola as "a plundering tiger with its 
deadly cubs now coming in through the back 
door/' By applying to Angola their opposition 
to the American policy in Vietnam, liberals 
helped open this door. Now black A Erica and the 
West must face the consequences. 



he Soviet Union's objectives in 
southern Africa must be viewed in re- 
lation to broader Soviet foreign-policy goals, in ac- 
cordance with the global nature of its strategy. Its 
African policy is directed toward the fundamental 
aim oi subjecting the industrialized West and 
Japan to the hegemony of Soviet power. As David 
Rees points out in a study published by the Lon- 
don-based Institute for the Study of Conflict, the 
Soviet Union is pursuing "a strategy of denial" in 
Africa. Its goal, essentially a negative one, is to be 
able to deny the industrialized democracies access 
to the vital raw materials of southern Africa and to 
the strategic sea lanes which pass around it. 

The OPEC oil boycott of 1973-74 was acclaimed 
by Moscow as confirming its long-held belief in 
the acute dependence of the "imperialist" world 
on the raw-material resources of the Third World. 
At the time. Soviet commentators noted both the 
economic and political ramifications of the boy- 
cott, especially the "crisis of capitalism" that it 
helped precipitate. "The energy and raw-material 
crisis,'' Pravda said in April 1975, "which has af- 
fected the capitalist world in the first half of the 
70's has sharply intensified the role of materials in 
the world economy and given the problem of raw 
materials an unprecedentedly acute international 
political character. 1 ' The oil boycott, commented 
another official Soviet publication, "serves as a 
good example for other developing countries pro- 
ducing mineral raw materials and agricultural ex- 
port crops/' Particular attention was paid to Af- 

rica, which "is becoming increasingly important 
in the world capitalist production of the most 
vital raw materials." 

This assessment is quite accurate- The United 
States is dependent on the countries of southern 
Africa for many of the non-fuel raw materials 
which the VS. Council on International Eco- 
nomic Policy, in a special report submitted to the 
White House in December 1974, deemed vital to 
the national security and to industry. These in- 
clude chromium, the platinum group oi metals, 
cobalt, vanadium, and manganese. With the devel- 
opment of nuclear power, the US- is also increas- 
ingly dependent on the uranium reserves of South 
Africa and Namibia. The dependence of Western 
Europe and Japan on these resources is even 
greater than our own. 

Even a temporary denial or partial withholding 
of these mineral resources would produce severe 
dislocations in the economies of the United States, 
Western Europe, and japan. Moreover, in the case 
oi some key minerals— platinum and chromium, 
among others— the only major alternative supplier 
in the event of a politically inspired boycott would 
be the Soviet Union itself. 

No doubt there is an economic motivation in 
the USSR's drive to control the supply oi southern 
Africa's minerals' indebtedness to the West 
(which now approaches 550 billion) and the 
growing cost of its far-flung military adventures. 
But its basic motivation is political, for by control- 
ling the minerals essential to Western industry 
the USSR could undermine the strength of the 
West by sharpening the "crisis of capitalism," and 
drastically reduce the West's political independ- 
ence by subjecting it to the constant fear of eco- 
nomic blackmail. 

The other aspect of the Soviet Union's 
strategy of denial is its drive to gain 
command of the vital sea route around the Cape 
of Good Hope. The significance to the West of this 
route h considered the busiest in the world, is con- 
tained in two simple statistics: 70 per cent of the 
strategic raw materials needed by the European 
members of NATO, and 80 per cent of their oil 
supplies, now reach them by way of it. The Cape 
is the only available sea route for oil which is now 
shipped in supertankers too large to pass through 
the Suez Canal. 

That the Soviet Union appreciates the impor- 
tance of the sea lanes around Africa is indicated 
by the countries where it has chosen to concen- 
trate its efforts. With the exception of Uganda, 
these countries— Somalia, Tanzania. Mozambique, 
Angola, Congo-Brazzaville, the Congo, Equatorial 
Guinea, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Guinea- Bissau 
—are situated along the eastern and western coast- 
line of Africa. Each of these countries now plays 
host to "the Gurkhas of the Russian empire"' (to 
use Daniel P. Moymhan's apt description oi the 

ubiquitous Cubans), Even the considerable Soviet 
interest in Uganda j s tied to Moscow's coastal de- 
signs, in that Amin's brutal dictatorship poses a 
potential threat to neighboring Kenya, the onh 
country along the eastern littoral of Africa where 
American vessels are still welcome (American 
ships have by-passed South Africa since a boycott 
was. imposed fourteen years ago.) The Soviet 
Unions extraordinary involvement on both sides 
of the conflict between Ethiopia and Somalia could 
(if it does not backfire) strengthen Moscow's posi- 
tion in the Indian Ocean and give it command of 
the entrance to the Red Sea. 

It is of course true that Russia's African drive is 
also motivated by its competition with China for 
influence in the Third World. Bui this in no way 
diminishes its designs toward the West, and in am 
event the conflict with China over Africa met 
with success in Angola. Mozambique's President 
Samora Maehel decided to change sides and 
marched his country from the losing Chinese 
camp to the victorious camp of "proletarian inter- 
nationalism-" Tanzania, once firmly commit- 
ted to China, has now moved closer to Russia, 
The result is a profoundly altered strategic and 
political situation throughout southern Africa. 
Zambia and Zaire, both dependent on routes 
through Angola and Mozambique to get their cop 
per to port, are now under intense pressure to 
bend to the new political balance. Angola and Mo- 
zambique are also being used as staging points for 
armed struggle against Namibia and Rhodesia, a 
course which Moscow considers an absolute pre- 
condition both for the defeat of Western attempts 
to negotiate political settlements for majority rule 
and for the establishment in these states of pro-So- 
viet regimes. These changes have for the first time 
brought within realistic reach of Moscow the chief 
prize of all, South Africa, the richest and strategi- 
cally the best located country on the continent. 

"The West," Hahn and Cottrell have written, 
"has operated for a long time in a strategic- politi- 
cal environment which favored it all over the 
world, including Africa. The dramatic degree to 
which the strategic situation has been transformed 
has not really been fathomed in the United 
States.'* The inevitable result of the loss of the rec- 
ognized strategic superiority which the United 
States had two decades ago has been a far bolder 
use of Soviet air and naval power— and client-state 
troops— in the pursuit of Russia's global objec- 
tives. In this sense Angola is not a cold-war aberra- 
tion in a period of detente, but a model for future 
Soviet interventions on the side of the "forces of 

escribing the qualities of the Soviet 
leadership, Henry Kissinger wrote 
over two decades ago that "one is struck by the 


emphasis on the relationship between political, 
military, psychological, and economic factors, the 
insistence on finding a conceptual basis for politi- 
cal action and on the need for dominating a situa- 
tion by flexible tactics and inflexible purpose." If 
this is true, and the Soviet Union's African policy 
would certainly make it appear so, one is at a loss 
to understand the basis for the US, strategy of 
detente, described by Kissinger as "penalties for 
adventurism and incentives for restraint." Penal- 
ties were nowhere to be seen. And what conceiv- 
able incentives could induce genuine restraint by 
the Soviet Union in the pursuit of its objectives? 
These objectives, as Kissinger himself recognized, 
are neither lightly held nor worked out on a day- 
to-day basis, but are deeply rooted in the history 
and political culture of Russian Communism. To 
think that the Soviet leaders can be "bought off*' 
is not to take them seriously, an error that was 
hardly understandable in the wake of Vietnam but 
is simply inexcusable in the wake of Angola. 

The Ford administration's response to the deba- 
cle in Angola was to begin the process of shaping 
a new, workable African policy for the United 
States. In Dallas on March 22, 1976, Kissinger 
called for a policy based on "two equal princi- 
ples": "our support for majority rule in Africa 
and our firm opposition to military intervention 1 ' 
The first principle pointed forward to Kissinger's 
journey to Africa the following month which 
would mark the beginning of a major American 
initiative to bring about majority rule in Rhode- 
sia and Namibia. The second principle pointed 
back to the Soviet-Cuban intervention in Angola 
and affirmed the administration's determination to 
oppose firmly any similar intervention in the fu- 
ture The two principles were integral parts of a 
single policy, since effective initiatives by Western 
countries to bring about a negotiated transition to 
majority rule would resolve a racial conflict the 
Russians hoped to exploit to their advantage and 
would also revive Western influence in an area 
rapidly becoming a Soviet zone; and peaceful tran- 
sition to majority rule could not possibly be 
achieved unless Soviet (and Cuban) intervention 
were deterred. 

The new policy was vintage Kissinger: clearly 
conceptualized and characteristically dialectical It 
was also, unlike the policy of detente, based on 
sound logic and political realism. Unfortunately, 
it was a policy drafted at the eleventh hour and 
only in response to a crisis that had sharply re- 
duced the middle ground on which a black-white 
settlement could be reached. Izvestia declared, ac- 
curately, that "Revolutionary events have seized 
southern Africa . . . and the speed of the spread of 
the flame attests to the huge supplies of 'explosive 
materials* accumulating there." 

Kissinger's Lusaka address in April 1976 was a 
turning point in American policy toward southern 


Africa. He expressed the unequivocal opposition 
of the United States to the "illegal Rhodesian re- 
gime" and the US. support for majority rule, stat- 
ing firmly that "the Salisbury regime . . . cannot 
expect United States support either in diplomacy 
or in material help at any stage in its conflict with 
African states or African liberation movements," 
Among other things, he said the administration 
w«uld seek repeal of the Byrd amendment author- 
izing the importation of Rhodesian chrome and 
use its power to insure the strict worldwide observ- 
ance of United Nations sanctions against Rhode- 
sia. He also called upon South Africa to "an- 
nounce a definite timetable acceptable to the 
world community for the achievement of self-de- 
termination" in Namibia, He acknowledged that 
white South Africans are 'historically ... an Afrb 
can people" but called upon them to end rapidly 
"the institutionalized separation of the races'* and 
to show "a dear evolution toward equality of op- 
portunity and basic human rights for all South Af- 

THt Carter administration has inherit- 
ed Kissinger s Lusaka policy, and in 
a sense it has carried it forward. Vice President 
Mrmdale, Secretary Vance, and UN" Ambassador 
Young have all had a hand in the diplomacy of 
southern Africa. Nothing concrete has yet been ac- 
complished, but the administration has cooperated 
with Britain, West Germany, France* and Canada 
in convincing South African Prime Minister John 
Vorster to agree to a new plan lor UN -supervised 
elections in Namibia in which the South-West 
Africa People's Organization (which South Africa 
had previously refused to deal with) would partici- 
pate. The administration has also informed the 
South African government in the clearest terms 
that it urgently desires, in the words of Secretary 
Vance, "an end to racial discrimination and the es- 
tablishment of a new course toward full participa- 
tion by all South A hi cans." So far no concrete ac- 
tion has been taken against South Africa, though 
there is talk of removing the tax credit for Amer- 
ican corporations that do business there. This pres- 
sure is undoubtedly one of the factors (less im- 
portant, to be sure, than the violence in Soweto) 
that has led a growing group of influential Afri- 
kaaners to ad% , ocate the transformation of South 
Africa into a new confederal order based on the 
Swiss-type canton system. 

These policies of President Carter do not really 
add up to the "new policy toward Africa" that 
he claims his administration is evolving. The 
Carter administration's main achievement has 
been to break decisively with the old "tar- 
baby" policy (the phrase has been used by the 
State Department's Anthony Lake 10 denote the 
old hands-oil policy toward the white regimes of 
southern Africa). But it is only fair to point out 
that Kissinger, though himself a principal archi- 

tect of the old policy, also broke with it decisively 
at Lusaka. The novelty of the Carter policy, there- 
fore, is not in its substance hut in its more aggres- 
sively pro-black style. As we know from the memo 
written last December by Carters pollster Patrick 
Caddell, political style is not an unimportant con- 
sideration with this administration. 

But there is a sense in which the Carter policy 
toward Africa is> or at least seems to be. differ- 
ent from the newly proclaimed Kissinger polity 
which preceded it. To the degree that one can 
judge from the sometimes contradictory state- 
ments of the President and his advisers, there is 
some reason to believe that the Carter administra- 
tion has significantly deemphasized the second 
principle of the Kissinger policy as defined in his 
Dallas speech: the determination to deter inter- 
vention by the Soviet Union and Cuba in Africa, 
Well before he was elected President, Carter 
gave indication that he sharply differed with the 
Ford administration's policy in this regard. Carter 
opposed U.S. help to the anti-Soviet forces fighting 
in Angola, taking a position on the issue which 
convinced Andrew Young that he was capable 
"of getting beyond the cold- war view of the 
world." Then on June 23, 1976, in his first major 
foreign-policy address, Carter declared his opposi- 
tion to the sending of US- military aid to Kenya 
and Zaire. The aid proposal, Kissinger's first con- 
crete step to implement the second principle of his 
African policy, was intended 10 reassure African 
friends exposed to the new Soviet thrust in Africa, 
and NATO leaders concerned with its global im- 
plications, of the U.S. determination to resist it- 
Carter, however, opposed the aid on the ground* 
that it was "fueling the East-West arms race in AI- 

The positions taken by Carter during the cam- 
paign would mean little were they not being re- 
iterated as policy statements now that he is Presi- 
dent. The administration's "point man" for the 
new policy has been UN Ambassador Young, and 
Carter has said nothing to indicate he disagrees 
with Young's comments regarding the problem of 
Soviet penetration of Africa, Of Young's statement 
that the Cubans are "a force for stability in An- 
gola," the President commented: "I do agree with 
it. It obviously stabilized the situation-" The Pres- 
ident did not take issue with Young's widely 
quoted comment that the U-S. should not "get 
paranoid about a few Communists— even a few 
thousand Communists-" On the contrary, in his 
Notre Dame address in May, the President said 
much the same thing when he declared thai "we 
are now free of that inordinate fear of Commu- 
nism which once led us to embrace any dictator 
who joined us in our fear," 

This attitude toward Communism was more 
than evident when Zaire was invaded in March by 
a Soviet-armed and Cuban-backed Katangan force. 
The invasion of Zaire's copper-rich Shaba prov- 


Ince was timed to coincide with the visits to Africa 
of Castro and Podgorny, during which the guer- 
rilla movements of southern Africa were promised 
new in fusions of Soviet-bloc military aid and a 
twenty-year treaty was signed between Mozam- 
bique and the USSR. When asked about the inva- 
sion at his March 24 press conference, Carter said: 
"We have no hard evidence, or any evidence as far 
as that goes, that Cubans or Angolan troops have 
crossed the border into Zaire. We look on Zaire as 
a friendly nation and we have no obligations to 
them a* far as military aid goes.' 


t 1$ interesting to compare Carter's re- 
sponse to that of Morocco's King Has- 
san, whose dispatch of 1,500 troops to Zaire prob- 
ably saved the Mobuto regime. Commenting (in 
Newsweek) on the Soviet strategy in Africa, he 

I agree with those who say it is to encircle, weak- 
en, and neutralize Western Europe by control- 
ling its sources of key minerals in Africa. If the 
Shaba operation had succeeded and if the Mid- 
dle East were allowed to continue to drift, not 
one moderate regime would survive. They would 
all be radicalized either from within or from 
without. It wouldn't only be Europe's oil route 
—but the oil itself. Add to the mix the threat of 
popular fronts in Italy and France and you 
don't have to be a geopolitical genius to grasp 
the consequences for world peace. . . . 

Carter's complacency may have constituted an 
implicit acceptance of the so-called Andrew Young 
Doctrine that "the sooner the fighting stops and 
the trading starts, the quicker we win." Though 
Angolas Neto is pro-Communist, says Young, his 
"relationship with Gulf Oil is what keeps the reve- 
nues coming in that make it possible for the Cu- 
bans to run the country." And if we can trade 
with a pro-Soviet Angola, why not also with a 
pro-Soviet Zaire and a pro-Soviet Zambia— indeed, 
a pro-Soviet Africa? "Is that the position of the 
Carter administration?" asks Zaire's President Mo- 
buto, "If it is, we should be told about it and we 
will then be in a position to arrange for our own 
surrender on better terms today than tomorrow." 

The concern in Africa over Soviet policies is 
hardly limited to the leaders of Zaire and Morocco 
or, for that matter. South Africa and Rhodesia. 
Kaunda's warnings are well-known, Kenya, ex- 
posed to Soviet-armed neighbors, will face a lead- 
ership crisis after the aging Kenyatta leaves the 
scene, and the return of the pro-Soviet Oginga 
Odinga to Kenyan politics does not augur well. 
The new president of the OAU, Gabon's President 
Omar Bongo, has attacked "Soviet imperialism" as 
"the cause of tension in Africa," an allusion not 
merely to the Soviet presence in southern Africa 
but also to the growing conflicts on the Horn of 
Africa and among the Arab states in North Africa. 
The Ivory Coast's President Houphouet-Boigny 

has accused Russia of taking "advantage of any 
confusion or chaos in Africa to infiltrate the conti- 
nent," emphasizing that the Russian goal is not 
"to 'liberate' the continent, but to sever the vital 
communications links between the highly indus- 
trialized West and the rich raw-material resources 
of Africa, thereby fatally weakening the Western 
economy." Senegal's President Leopold Senghor 
has said that "The Soviet-Cuban expedition in 
Angola and the placing in power of a minority 
liberation movement created a grave situation in 
Africa, threatening the independence of each Afri- 
can state," 

Even leaders once friendly to the Soviet Union 
are now rising up against the new imperialist 
threat to Africa, Sudan's President Gaafer al-Nu- 
meiry has publicly warned all African and Arab 
states against the Soviet Union, which represents a 
new, "powerful, and ugly colonialism which will 
be harder to get rid of than the old. He de- 
nounced the so-called Soviet "camp of the people'* 
as "the camp that has planned coups d'etat in our 
country, dial lias tried to divide our intellectuals. 
We know what it has done in Yugoslavia yester- 
day, know what it has done in Europe, what it has 
done in Czechoslovakia yesterday. ..." 

Sudan's concern is shared by Egypt and Saudi 
Arabia, which are not as convinced as many West- 
ern commentators seem to be that the Soviet ad- 
venture in the Horn of Africa is a sure fiasco. No 
doubt it is risky and expensive to arm both sides 
of a war, as the Russians are now doing in the 
Ethiopian-Somali conflict. But Moscow is playing 
for very high stakes and could win if the absence 
of a Western counter-policy gives it a free hand 
to impose & Pax Sovietica over the exhausted and 
devastated countries of the region. The risk may 
be justified by the potential gains: Red Sea ports 
in Djibouti, Massawa, and Assab to go with the 
small base at Berbera; and control over a vast and 
strategic part of North Africa from which pressure 
could be put on Kenya, Sudan, and Egypt, not to 
mention Saudi Arabia where the Russians antici- 
pate (and hope to accelerate) the collapse of the 

African leaders not only resent the Soviet Un- 
ion's political and military intervention in the af- 
fairs of the continent, but also its economic "aid" 
policies which constitute a travesty that has been 
insufficiently exposed. While the West contributes 
about 1 per cent of its GNP to Third World aid, 
the USSR contributes only 0.05 per cent (0.01 per 
LLiit if Vietnam and Cuba are excluded), and less 
than one third of this meager amount goes to the 
poor countries of the Third World. These figures 
speak for themselves: the discrepancy between So- 
viet and Western economic aid to the African 
countries is at least on d*e order of 1 to 20 as a 
percentage of GXP. Moreover, while the West 
provides grant aid, the Soviet aid— much of it 
industrial goods that cannot be sold in the West 


—is bartered for raw materials which the Rus- 
sians receive at prices well below the going mar- 
ket rate. Thus. Soviet assi stance for the devel- 
opment of Guinean bauxite is charged against it- 
payment credits which are redeemed by the ship- 
ment of bauxite to Russia , reportedly at $10 a ton 
below the world price. Moscow calls this a "new 
form of foreign economic relations, which are 
more than conventional trade— cooperation on a 
compensatory' basis." Whatever it is, it can only 
appeal to Third World satellites which might be 
temporarily cut off from Western markets. As 
Houphouet-Boigny has repeatedly said, for Afri- 
can states interested in development "the answer 
lies in cooperation with Europe and the U.S., not 
in Russian "aid* which until now has brought lit- 
lie progress and was never intended for that pur- 

The opposition of African leaders to Soviet and 
Cuban intervention was clearly evident at the 
Libreville meeting of the OATJ held in July. Ac- 
cording to an Egyptian delegate at the meeting, 
"the only issue that really matters here is that of 
Soviet interference in Africa," A Senegal resolu- 
tion "inviting" member states ol the OAU "not to 
permit the use of their territory for foreign mili- 
tary bases" was adopted by a majority vote. The 
OAU's Secretary General, William Eteki 
Mbouana, said after the vote that *' Africa made it 
clear that it wants to be left alone to solve its 



r would appear, then, that any num- 
ber of African leaders have a better 
understanding of the policies of the Soviet Union 
and their strategic and geopolitical meaning for 
the West than does the leader of the West's most 
powerful country. While African leaders are con- 
cerned with an ominous threat to their own inde- 
pendence and are pleading for America to see its 
own stake in opposing it, our own leaders are 
busy drawing analogies between Africa and the 
American South. Indeed, nothing illustrates the 
confusion of the U-S. leadership more than the no- 
tion that there is a parallel between the American 
civil-rights movement and die effort to achieve ma- 
jority rule in Rhodesia, Namibia, and South Af- 

Some differences arc self-evident: the reversed 
proportions of blacks and whites in the U.S. and 
southern Africa, the "survivalist** psychology of 
the Afrikaaners, the suicidal stubbornness of the 
Rhode* tan whites, the unlikelihood (based on the 
fate of democracy in the rest of Africa) that ma- 
jority rule will actually produce Western-style rule 
by the majority* which of course includes protec 
wm of the rights of the minority. But there is also 
9. more basic difference, which the Carter adminis- 
tration, in its desire to overcome the "inordinate 

fear T ' of Communism, seems to have overlooked: 
namely, the massive presence of Soviet-bloc forces 
arming, aiding, and abetting those elements com- 
mitted not merely to violent struggle but to the 
defeat of those other blacks— the African equiva- 
lents of Martin Luther and his followers- 
who want to achieve justice through peaceful 

The fact that the civiUrights analogy does not 
work hardly means that the United States should 
not continue to press forward for rapid and funda- 
mental change in southern Africa. But the policy" 
must have two sides: jfor majority rule and against 
elements that seek to exploit the issue to advance 
Soviet goals. Even if a political settlement were 
achieved in Rhodesia, the LL$, would still have to 
face the possibility that the settlement would be re- 
jected by one or both of the guerrilla factions 
headed by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mug- 
abe. If the Russians and their clients decided to 
challenge the new government, the situation would 
not be so different from that which prevailed in 
Angola: a black civil war. Would the United 
States be prepared to assist a pro- Western, black 
government in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)— say ol 
Bishop Muzorewa— against forces backed by the 
Russians and Cubans? One would hope so, but the 
present policy line of the administration does not 
inspire confidence. 

The Soviet and Cuban penetration of Africa 
presents the Carter administration with a moral as 
well as a political challenge. One should not have 
to point out to an administration which has made 
human rights the centerpiece of its international 
posture that the suppression of blacks by whites is 
not the only human-rights issue in Africa. Vir- 
tually all governments in Africa are undemocratic 
to one degree or another* hut nowhere are human 
rights more brutally suppressed, and nowhere does 
democracy have less chance of evolving* than in 
the kind of totalitarian party dictatorships which 
the Soviet Union is in the process of trying to im- 
plant in Africa. Not to resist this development, 
but to concentrate solely on the black- white prob- 
lem, undermines the moral credibility of the ad- 
ministration's foreign policy. 

Moreover, in an admin istrarion presumably 
committed to the welfare of blacks, the hands-oE 
attitude toward the Cuban actions in Africa is 
completely hypocritical. To put it blunt! v the Cu- 
bans have not "stabiliied"* Angola btn hare bru- 
talized black Africans living in that unfortunate 
country. "In less than two years,'" Pr e sid en t Hou- 
phouet-Boigny said recently, "they ba«e killed 
thousands of Angolans— our African brothers* 
murdered in cold blood. More victims fell in this 
short period than in the fifteen yean of gnemlla 
war against Portuguese colonialisflL Yet the West 
rarely notes this gruesome real .- 

The war in Angola showed that the East-West 
conflict is not over hut, from the poem of view of 


the West, has taken a dangerous turn for the 
worse. Nothing could be more obvious than this h 
yet the fact that King Hassan, the leader of a 
small North African slate* recognizes it while the 
President of the country invested with the respon- 
sibility of leading and defending the West docs 
not is a sign that some thing has gone very seri- 
ously awry, 


n re tkospect it is clear thai detente was 
an illusion which comloried Americans 
at a time when the power of the U.S. was in re- 
treat. This illusion has now been destroyed. It 
could not survive the Vom Kippur War,, the final 
aggression in Vietnam, the war in Angola, and the 
rising concern over the relentless growth in the 
military and strategic power of the Soviet Union, 
One cannot avoid the suspicion, however, that 
what has replaced the illusion of detente is not a 
realistic assessment of the predicament of the 
West, but another illusion that is also evasive of 
the central realities. Whereas detente wrongly ad- 
dressed the problem of the East-West conflict, the 
President seems to believe that this conflict can 
be put out of our minds altogether while we go 
about the business of doing good deeds in the 
world. The reireat of American power, once dis- 

guised as a victory for peace, is now presented as 
the triumph of morality— a very one-sided moral- 
ity, since it is not offended by the expansion of 

For the present, small powers may try to fill the 
political and military vacuum that exists, as 
France and Morocco did in helping to repel the 
Shaba invasion, The Carter administration may 
see this as confirmation o£ its policy of "restraint." 
But putting a finger in a badly leaking dam is not 
a substitute for repairing and strengthening th 
dam itself, especially at a time when the waters are 
rising. In this connection, the recent announce 
ment that the Carter administration is prepared to 
contribute to the defense needs of the Sudan and 
several other \orth African countries appears to 
be a new departure. But, it also conflicts with 
the dominant line of the administration until 
now, and once again raises the suspicion that there 
is no clear and consistent U.S. polio regarding So- 
viet penetration of Africa. 

Sooner or later, the United States will have to 
decide whether it intends to remain the leader of 
the West and a world power fulfilling its obliga- 
tions as the Only country Capable of deterring 
Soviet expansion. If the Angolan war and its conse- 
quences offer a guide to the future, the day of 
reckoning may not be far oft". 

Social Democrats, USA, wishes to thank the International Union of Operating Engi- 
neers for its kind assistance in making possible the publication of this pamphlet. 

Literature Available from Social Democrats, USA 

A. Philip Randolph: A Biographical Portrait by Jervis Anderson 

Communications Workers of America: The Story of a Union 

by Thomas R. Brooks 

Toil and Trouble: A History of American Labor by Thomas R. Brooks 

The Social Democratic Prospect by Sidney Hook 

Good Neighborhood: The Challenge of Open Housing 

by Morris Milgram 

The Recovery of American Cities by Paul R. Porter 

Sentence to Life: Reflection on Politics, Education and Law 

by John P. Roche 

Down the Line: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin 

SD Papers I; Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy 

by Sidney Hook, Bayard Rustin, Carl Gershman, Penn Kemble 

$ 4.45 








1 - 1 00 copies - 45£ each 
Above 1 00 copies - 40(5 each