Chester Crocker

Chester Crocker

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Chester Arthur Crocker is an American diplomat who served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1981 to 1989 in the Reagan administration
Reagan Administration
The United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989....

. Crocker, architect of the U.S. policy of "constructive engagement
Constructive engagement
Constructive engagement was the name given to the policy of the Reagan Administration towards the apartheid regime in South Africa in the early 1980s...

" towards apartheid South Africa
History of South Africa in the apartheid era
Apartheid was a system of racial segregation enforced by the National Party governments of South Africa between 1948 and 1994, under which the rights of the majority 'non-white' inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained...

, is credited with setting the terms of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

n independence.

Background


Crocker was born in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1941. He attended Ohio State University
Ohio State University
The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...

 and graduated with distinction in History in 1963. He obtained a master's degree at Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 in 1965, followed by a Ph.D at the School of Advanced International Studies. From 1969-1970, Crocker was a lecturer in African government and politics at the American University
American University
American University is a private, Methodist, liberal arts, and research university in Washington, D.C. The university was chartered by an Act of Congress on December 5, 1892 as "The American University", which was approved by President Benjamin Harrison on February 24, 1893...

 in Washington DC. He was recruited to join the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

 by Alexander Haig
Alexander Haig
Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. was a United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

 in 1970, but returned to academia in 1972 as director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service program at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

, where he lectured in African politics and international relations. Over the course of the next nine years, Crocker advanced to assistant professor, and finally became associate professor at Georgetown University.

Constructive engagement


As chairman of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

's 1980 presidential election campaign's "Africa working group", Crocker sought to change US policy on apartheid South Africa away from what he saw as the confrontational approach adopted by the Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 presidency and towards a new policy which he termed "constructive engagement." Shortly after the election, Crocker attracted the attention of the Reagan transition team with an article he wrote in the winter 1980/81 edition of the Foreign Affairs journal. In the article, Crocker was highly critical of the outgoing Carter administration for its apparent hostility to the white minority government in South Africa, by acquiescing in the United Nations Security Council's imposition of a mandatory arms embargo (UNSCR 418/77
United Nations Security Council Resolution 418
United Nations Security Council Resolution 418, adopted unanimously on 4 November 1977, imposed a mandatory arms embargo against apartheid South Africa. This resolution differed from the earlier Resolution 282, which was only voluntary...

) and the UN's demand for the end of South Africa's illegal occupation of Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

 (UNSCR 435/78
United Nations Security Council Resolution 435
United Nations Security Council Resolution 435, adopted on September 29, 1978, put forward proposals for a cease-fire and UN-supervised elections in South African-controlled South-West Africa which ultimately led to the independence of Namibia...

).

On February 7, 1981 Crocker formally proposed that the United States should link Namibian independence to the withdrawal of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n troops from Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, where they had been helping the MPLA government of Jose Eduardo dos Santos
José Eduardo dos Santos
José Eduardo dos Santos is an Angolan politician who has been the second and current President of Angola since 1979. As President, José Eduardo dos Santos is also the commander in chief of the Angolan Armed Forces and president of the MPLA , the party that has been ruling Angola since...

 to contain South African-backed Jonas Savimbi
Jonas Savimbi
Jonas Malheiro Savimbi was an Angolan political leader. He founded and led UNITA, a movement that first waged a guerrilla war against Portuguese colonial rule, 1966–1974, then confronted the rival MPLA during the decolonization conflict, 1974/75, and after independence in 1975 fought the ruling...

's UNITA
UNITA
The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola is the second-largest political party in Angola. Founded in 1966, UNITA fought with the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola in the Angolan War for Independence and then against the MPLA in the ensuing civil war .The war was one...

 rebels. In April 1981, Assistant Secretary of State Crocker was dispatched to Africa on a two-week, eleven nation tour to lay the groundwork for the new policy. However, Crocker was met with distrust on one side – the black leaders wary of the Reagan administration's friendly approach towards the white-minority government in South Africa – and hostility from the other, with prime minister P. W. Botha refusing to meet with him. Undeterred, Crocker continued to insist that a comprehensive solution was the only way to allay the fears on both sides. In his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on February 15, 1983 he argued:
"Security, of which the Cuban troop issue is an integral part, has always been a prerequisite for agreement on Namibian independence. As a practical diplomatic matter, it will not be possible to obtain a Namibian independence agreement without satisfactory regional security assurances."


Constructive engagement and "the fearlessly soft attitude displayed by Chester Crocker towards apartheid" were blamed by author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

/journalist
Journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Hitchens
Christopher Eric Hitchens is an Anglo-American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career span more than four decades. He has been a columnist and literary critic at The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, Slate, World Affairs, The Nation, Free Inquiry, and became a media fellow at the...

 for the ten-year delay in implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 435
United Nations Security Council Resolution 435
United Nations Security Council Resolution 435, adopted on September 29, 1978, put forward proposals for a cease-fire and UN-supervised elections in South African-controlled South-West Africa which ultimately led to the independence of Namibia...

 and securing Namibia
Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

's independence.

Relaxing the arms embargo


On April 3, 1984 Richard Knight of the American Committee on Africa reported to the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid on the effects the new policy was having:
"The Reagan administration's policy of constructive engagement has already led to a significant relaxation of the arms embargo. Stressing the goal of regional stability, the American government has now adopted a policy which they see as an 'even-handed' approach to all countries in the region. Thus the Reagan administration seeks to blame all sides equally for the violence in the region, ignoring the fact that the violence stems from apartheid. In reality there is no even-handedness in the US's engagement in southern Africa: a policy which in the last three years has resulted in an increased South African ability to harass and dominate regionally. A study of the easing of the arms embargo reveals that more than $28.3 million worth of military equipment was authorised for sale to South Africa for fiscal years 1981-1984, as compared to $25,000 for 1979."

Namibian independence



Crocker intensified his mediation efforts in successive years. In May 1988 he headed a U.S. mediation team which brought negotiators from Angola, Cuba and South Africa, and observers from the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 together in London. Intense diplomatic maneuvering characterized the next seven months so as to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 435
United Nations Security Council Resolution 435
United Nations Security Council Resolution 435, adopted on September 29, 1978, put forward proposals for a cease-fire and UN-supervised elections in South African-controlled South-West Africa which ultimately led to the independence of Namibia...

 and secure Namibian independence. At the Reagan/Gorbachev summit in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 (May 29-June 1, 1988) it was decided that Cuban troops would be withdrawn from Angola, and Soviet military aid would cease, as soon as South Africa withdrew from Namibia. The Tripartite Accord, which gave effect to these decisions, were signed at UN headquarters in New York on December 22, 1988. Crocker attended the signing ceremony but UN Commissioner for Namibia, Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Carlsson
Bernt Wilmar Carlsson was Assistant-Secretary-General of the United Nations and United Nations Commissioner for Namibia from July 1987 until he died on Pan Am Flight 103, which was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988.-Social democrat:A native of Stockholm, Carlsson joined the...

, who would have assumed control of the country until Namibia's first universal franchise elections had been held, was one of 259 passengers and crew killed when Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103 was Pan American World Airways' third daily scheduled transatlantic flight from London Heathrow Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport...

 crashed at Lockerbie
Lockerbie
Lockerbie is a town in the Dumfries and Galloway region of south-western Scotland. It lies approximately from Glasgow, and from the English border. It had a population of 4,009 at the 2001 census...

 on December 21, 1988.

In May 1989 Crocker stepped down as Assistant Secretary of State and returned to academia at Georgetown University
Georgetown University
Georgetown University is a private, Jesuit, research university whose main campus is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Founded in 1789, it is the oldest Catholic university in the United States...

's School of Foreign Service.

Namibia finally achieved independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990.

Awards and memberships


Crocker is a Member of the Global Leadership Foundation
Global Leadership Foundation
The Global Leadership Foundation is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 2004 by former State President of South Africa and Nobel Prize laureate F.W. de Klerk....

, an organization which works to promote good governance around the world.

On September 18, 2008, Crocker was appointed to the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

’s new Independent Advisory Board, (IAB), which will provide advice on anti-corruption measures.

See also

  • Alternative theories of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103

External Links