Mandela still travelled tirelessly, making up for his lost years and relishing foreign friendships and grand occasions. In London, he often called on the Queen, with whom he enjoyed a personal friendship he broke with protocol by writing to her as Dear Elizabeth. He was the only foreigner to be awarded the Order of Merit.He could still play a personal role abroad in encouraging peaceful settlements and negotiations. He preferred working behind the scenes. In dealing with Zimbabwes President Robert Mugabe, who he believed to be a brilliant politician who should never be underestimated. Mandela feared that overt South African intervention would be counterproductive, provoking a civil war in Zimbabwe that would bring force millions of people from their homes. But Mandela later became much more outspoken than Mbeki about Mugabes tyranny.Mandela had more success in Libya, where he enjoyed the unique trust of President Muammar Gaddafi. He and his representative Jakes Gerwel persuaded Gaddafi to release the suspects in the Lockerbie airline crash, to be tried in the Netherlands, in return for relaxing sanctions. And Gaddafis trust in Mandela and Gerwel prepared the way for the later reconciliation between Libya and the American and British governments.
Mandela became more critical of American and British foreign policies, particularly after the Kosovo war, worried that they wanted to be the policemen of the world and Washington was undermining the fragile basis of international law. Theyre introducing chaos in to international affairs, he said.He was much more worried about American domination after 11 September 2001. When he talked with President George W Bush soon afterwards in Washington, he said Osama bin Laden should be held responsible, captured and tried. But his Muslim friends soon persuaded him to modify his support, and he explained that US policy could be seen as undermining some of the basic tenets of the rule of law. He warned that the war against terrorism must not itself adopt the weapons of terrorism. And he was increasingly opposed to Israeli policies towards Palestinians like many of his Jewish colleagues in the ANC.