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U.S. Policy on South Africa

July 16, 1985

William Schneider's article (Opinion, June 30), "For South Africa, an American Example," is a manifestation of some of the more starry-eyed perspectives that liberals in the United States seem to have toward the problems of that very sad country.

At the outset let me state my personal abhorrence of apartheid, however the situation is far more complex than people like Schneider would have us believe. It is all very well counseling a path that follows the American example, but he loses sight of some very pertinent facts.

South African whites have 300 years of history in their country and nowhere else to go should conditions become untenable. The example of "majority rule" in the rest of Africa provides scant comfort as they watch a never-ending succession of coup d'etats, one-party states, deportation and dispossession of whites and Asians and genocidal campaigns against minority tribes by Africa's new rulers.

The examples of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola, all of which have borders contiguous with South Africa's, exacerbate the fear.

Is it any wonder that South Africa hangs on to what it has when the new African leaders take a country's constitution and tear it up, to say nothing of their total disregard for and flagrant violations of human rights?

Secondly, Schneider would do well to recognize the differences between the civil rights movement and the revolutions in Russia and Iran, the later two of which are far more pertinent as comparisons.

Mr. Schneider, the civil rights movement is an admirable, but regrettably impossible, template for change in South Africa; it is despised by radicals on both extremes of the political spectrum and unfortunately it is those very people whose irreconcilable differences will ultimately cause the "veld" to run red with blood.

There is no easy solution, least of all a simplistic solution dreamed up by someone who does not have to live with the risks inherent in granting power to people who have scant regard for the principles of democracy so dear to the American heart.

PETER BRISCOE

Cypress

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