Sunday, March 26, 2006

South Africa's intervention in Africa

Realists argue that South Africa acts like a big brother carrying a yard stick. Its intervention in other African states in civil wars is in persuit of selfish interests. All the nations are selfish and so South Africa is not an exeption. For instance, why would South Africa practice a soft diplomacy policy in Zimbabwe while intervening in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other contries that are far? They argue it is because DRC is very rich in natural resources and a lot of South African companies are already in the country to benefit from these resources.
Idealists maintain the spirit of pan-Africanism permeated decisions reached by foreign policy makers in the country. Thus her intervention seeks to promote development in the continent. South Africa's intervention is also based on its position as an industrially more powerful country. It is democratic and has the political know how.

In my view, it is the combination of the two. The driving force behind her intervention is to promote unity and solidarity amongst African states. The major challenges facing the continent are those of poverty, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and many others. Therefore, we cannot deal with these challenges unless the conflicts are resolved. On the other hand, South African companies have conquered the African markets. Why is it that South Africa used a different approach in Lesotho and Zimbabwe? One may argue it is because they have got little to offer South Africa.

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