International Relations

Mandela and Obama: two paths to power [Commentary]

Mandela and Obama: two paths to power [Commentary]

Seldom does the death of a foreign leader touch the hearts and minds of Americans as did the passing at age 95 of Nelson Mandela, who suffered, struggled and eventually led South Africa out of the scourge of racial apartheid and became, almost miraculously, its president.

He rose to prominence in his embattled country and eventually throughout the world as the central figure in the fight for racial and human justice after 27 years of harsh imprisonment on a desolate island redoubt. Through it all, he demonstrated remarkable dignity amid a sea of hatred and bitterness that eventually gave way to his determination and will.

President Barack Obama, speaking in somber tones from...