Does South Africa Have A Foreign Policy?
At first glance, South Africa is a first-world country. It’s when you take a deeper look at the country today, some 20 years since the peaceful handover of power from the hands of the rigid apartheid government to “the people” (read: the black majority), that you begin to wonder.
South Africa's now-creaking electrical power grid, the failed gold mines, the crumbling roads and the generally degenerating communications, transport and social welfare infrastructure are alarming. Yet the country's foreign policy could be described in the same way.
According to Howard Sackstein, writing in Politcsweb.com, “[South Africa has] watched [its] close friends and allies in the Middle East tumble from power in the Arab Spring.” South Africa supported (and in some cases still supports) the kleptocratic dictators of Swaziland, Sudan and Zimbabwe in Africa; in Burma (now Myanmar), and Iran, Saudi Arabia and China (to name just a few). Muamar Ghaddafi of Libya was a darling of South African politics. The government of South Africa still maintains a crashing silence on the murderous civil war in Syria.
Meanwhile, Pretoria has embraced the Palestinian Hamas and Fatah terrorist organizations in Gaza and the West Bank, and has feted their representatives on visits to that country. Any western country is viewed with suspicion, but it is Israel, that bastion of democracy and equality in the Middle East, that is singled out for derision and discrimination.
It seems that if South Africa has a foreign policy, it is based on the principle of “adopt the dictators and shun the democracies”.
South Africa, once the powerhouse of the African continent, is going down the tubes, fast. The country has been defined as an “Ineptocracy” (in-ep-toc'-ra-cy): A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or to succeed are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.
Perhaps Israel is better off without such “friends”. Perhaps it is an indication of the facts, confirming my theory on South Africa’s foreign policy, that Israel is indeed an advanced western first-world democracy, and therefore not welcome in South Africa’s circle of friends.
Jonathan Danilowitz is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist living in Israel.