Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyAs U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1981 to 1989, Crocker waged a diplomatic struggle that led to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Soviet-backed Angola and the end of apartheid in an independent Namibia freed from South Africa's control. But his assertion in this lengthy diplomatic history that the Reagan administration brought regional security to southern Africa, scoring a foreign-policy victory, rings hollow. He defends U.S. covert intervention on behalf of Angola's anti-communist mercenary rebels who, with financial help from South Africa's apartheid regime, devastated much of the Angolan economy, slaughtered innocent civilians, displaced 600,000 persons, caused widespread hunger and destroyed at least half of Angola's hospitals and clinics. Likewise, in Mozambique, the South African-financed mercenaries ravaged the country and economy. Notwithstanding Crocker's pointed insistence that America's ``constructive engagement'' was a regional strategy, not a cozy alliance with apartheid, critics may find gaping holes in the diplomatic record. Photos. (Jan.)
Library JournalThese memoirs from an Assistant Secretary of State of African Affairs during the Reagan administration are a welcome insight into the complex negotiations and justifications that the administration maintained in dealing with major foreign policy issues: U.S. sanctions against South Africa, military support for rebels in Angola, and the independence of Namibia. Crocker describes his role and that of the United States as one of peacekeeping among regional warring parties and provides elaborate details of the diplomatic craft involved. But for millions of people in southern Africa, the United States was seen as actively contributing to the violence and deadlock. Thus, the book is important as an account from within the foreign policy establishment, although subsequent analyses are likely to take exception to many of Crocker's views. Recommended for large libraries with African and foreign relations collections.-- Bill Rau, Takoma Park, Md.
BooknewsThe former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (1982- 1989) has written a detailed personal account of the role of American diplomacy in bringing freedom to Namibia and Angola and in setting the stage for South Africa's turn away from apartheid. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus ReviewsA former assistant secretary of state's riveting memoiras much a primer on diplomacy as an eyewitness accountof his eight- year-long effort to bring peace to southern Africa. Crocker's peacemaking odyssey in southern Africa in the 1980's was a daring high-wire act in a region where all parties had longstanding ideological and political conflicts with one another. South African forces were in neighboring territories, either overtly or covertly, to halt the feared onslaught of Communism; SWAPO, the Namibian liberation group, was fighting for independence from South Africa; and Marxist countries like Mozambique and Angola had invited the Soviets and their surrogates, the Cubans, to defend them against the South Africans as well as against their domestic enemies. Contending that US policy should center on the "closely intertwined conflicts in Namibia and Angola," Crocker devised a policy thatby engaging all the regional players along with America's traditional alliesaimed at getting South Africa to agree to Namibian independence, and Angola to accept the withdrawal of Cuban forces from its territory. It was a policy that required US diplomats "to carry water on both shoulders" as they persuadedoften against a background of continuing political crisesintractable enemies to meet and then to agree to the once- unthinkable. The home front was no easier, as Crocker's "Constructive Engagement" policy enraged ideologues on the left, who objected to dealing with South Africa, and those on the right, who thought the US was selling out to the Marxists. But Crocker persisted and, in December 1988, the accords were signed, establishing a timetable for Namibianindependence and for Cuban troop withdrawal. Peace finally was at hand. A dramatic story told with engaging verve, becoming modesty, and beguiling wit by an astute practitioner of statecraft. (Photographsnot seen.)
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)
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