Say what you want about Fidel Castro, in Africa he was a liberator. His aid to the South African anti-apartheid struggle will forever be remembered as a grand stroke of moral leadership, in great contrast to American policy.
That's the theme of various sympathetic postmortems for the Cuban dictator, who died at 90 on Nov. 25.
Castro's detractors express an "American-centric" view, the New York Times' Pentagon correspondent, Helene Cooper, noted Sunday on "Meet the Press": "The Castro that I grew up knowing as a child growing up in Liberia was a Castro who fought the South African apartheid regime that the United States was propping up."
To be sure, it would be hard to exercise unchallenged rule over a country for nearly half a century without doing anything admirable. So stipulate that Castro's Cold War-era backing of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress, and his army's war against South African troops in nearby Angola, belong on the plus side of history's ledger.