When the President Is a Dissident

Thabo Mbeki has one of the hardest jobs in world politics: following Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa. He has to make good on the promise of liberation, even as many of the country's postapartheid hopes are collapsing amid low economic growth, soaring unemployment and a crime wave that is tearing at the social order. As the leader of Africa's economic and military powerhouse, Mbeki is also expected to play regional statesman and peacemaker, and to lead an aggressive campaign against the AIDS epidemic ravaging the continent.

It is in this fight that he has most disappointed his backers. Mbeki...

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