U.S. Lawmakers Regret Not Supporting Sanctions

Sunday, December 15, 2013
There's a great article in The Hill about the regrets of some Members of Congress for not supporting sanctions against South Africa in 1986.

Do any of these tactics sound familiar?

Former Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), who led the push for sanctions, remembered his colleagues facing significant pressure to oppose the effort.

The former head of the Foreign Relations Committee said senators like the late Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) were receiving targeted warnings from the South African government about how their home state industries would be hurt.

“There was a strong attempt to lobby and even become very specific about agriculture or specific items in someone’s state that would be hurt by this thing,” he said, adding that calls from South Africa were received “even in the Republican cloak hall” just off the Senate floor.

And  a lesson to recall:

Lugar recounted Mandela telling lawmakers during a Washington visit that he was profoundly relieved to see action.

“Mercifully, the Congress of the United States really was the force that saved me,” Lugar recalled Mandela saying.