The disorder of American foreign policy is conspicuous in Southern Africa, where the generosity of the United States is compromised by ill-advised interventionism.
M. Peter McPherson, administrator of the Agency for International Development, has announced a positive and constructive response to the famine sweeping selected areas of the region, and has asked United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to name a special representative to coordinate aid to the most devastated nation, Mozambique.
AID will send $50 million in food to the starving of Mozambique, and has promised an 18-month supplementary assistance program for the region totaling $93 million. But, while acknowledging the singular importance of the United Nations in coordinating the international relief program, the Administration has cut American funding for the United Nations this year and next below the contributions to which there is a treaty obligation.
That is not the only example of doing the correct thing with one hand and the wrong thing with the other. Mozambique's devastation is the result of an ugly civil war conducted by rebel forces that specialize in the destruction of crops and the disruption of civilian life. These rebels are sponsored in part by South Africa, and there is evidence that they also receive assistance from Saudi Arabia--raising suspicions of a reprise of the Saudi role in funding anti-Marxist adventures in Central America. Further funds reportedly flow from extreme-rightist groups in the United States and Portugal, whose colony it was. Mozambique's most helpful ally in fighting the rebels is Zimbabwe, but instead of encouraging that alliance the United States has frozen aid to Zimbabwe in the aftermath of an outburst of anti-American rudeness by a junior minister.