The Hammer and the Anvil : the convergence of United States and South African foreign policies during the Reagan and Botha Administrations

Hendrix, Michael Patrick (2012-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is an historical analysis of the American policy of Constructive Engagement and serves as a comprehensive review of that policy, its ideological foundation, formulation, aims, and strategies. This study also serves as a detailed assessment of the policy’s ties to the South African Total National Strategy. Constructive Engagement, according to the Reagan Administration, was designed to lend American support to a controlled process of change within the Republic of South Africa. This change would be accomplished by encouraging a “process of reform” that would be accompanied by American “confidence building” with the apartheid regime. Before this process could begin, however, the region had to be stabilized, and the conflicts within southern Africa resolved. With the assistance of American diplomacy, peace could be brought to the region, and South Africa could proceed to political reform within the Republic. In reality, the most important aims of Constructive Engagement were to minimize Soviet influence within the Frontline States of southern Africa and remove the Cuban combat forces from Angola. These goals would be largely achieved by supporting and encouraging the South African policy of destabilizing its neighbours, called the Total National Strategy. This alignment inexorably led to a situation in which global policy issues eclipsed regional concerns, thereby making the United States a collaborator with the apartheid regime. Consequently, South Africa was allowed to continue its program of apartheid while enjoying American encouragement of its policy of regional destabilization, particularly its cross-border attacks into Angola and Mozambique. The U.S. support for the apartheid government offered through Constructive Engagement made the policy vulnerable to criticism that the apartheid regime’s “experiment with reform” was not a move toward liberalizing the Republic’s political system but that it was tailored to deny citizenship through the establishment of Bantustans, a point that provided ammunition to domestic opponents of Constructive Engagement. For a time, U.S.-South African cooperation was effective; the Frontline States were grudgingly forced to accept Pretoria’s regional hegemony. However, dominance of the Frontline States did not improve the security of the South African state. The African National Congress had not been defeated and was determined to make the Republic ungovernable. Furthermore, by the late-1980s, Pretoria could not dominate southern Africa and Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, which, although crippled from years of war, appeared poised to reassert themselves in the region. For South Africa, the Total National Strategy had failed, and coexistence with its neighbours would be a necessity. Without a powerful apartheid regime with which to reduce communist influence in southern Africa, the Reagan Administration abandoned Constructive Engagement.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie is ’n historiese analise van die Amerikaanse beleid van Konstruktiewe Betrokkenheid en dien as ’n omvattende oorsig van dié beleid, sy ideologiese grondslag, formulering, oogmerke en strategieë. Dit dien ook as ’n gedetailleerde beoordeling van die beleid se bande met Suid-Afrika se Totale Nasionale Strategie. Volgens die Reagan-administrasie was Konstruktiewe Betrokkenheid bedoel om Amerikaanse steun te verleen aan ’n beheerde proses van verandering binne die Republiek van Suid-Afrika. Hierdie verandering sou bereik word deur die aanmoediging van ’n ‘hervormingsproses’ wat met Amerikaanse ‘bou van vertroue’ met die apartheidregime gepaardgaan. Voordat dié proses kon begin moes die streek egter eers gestabiliseer en die konflikte binne Suider-Afrika opgelos word. Met behulp van Amerikaanse diplomasie kon vrede in die streek bewerkstellig word, en kon Suid-Afrika oorgaan tot binnelandse politieke hervorming. In werklikheid was die vernaamste oogmerke van Konstruktiewe Betrokkenheid om Sowjet-invloed binne die Frontliniestate van Suider-Afrika te minimaliseer en die Kubaanse gevegsmagte uit Angola te verwyder. Dié doelwitte sou grootliks bereik word deur die ondersteuning en aanmoediging van Suid-Afrika se beleid om sy buurstate te destabiliseer, wat as die Totale Nasionale Strategie bekend gestaan het. Hierdie ooreenstemming van belange het noodwendig gelei tot ’n situasie waar globale beleidskwessies streeksaangeleenthede oorskadu, en sodoende die Verenigde State van Amerika ’n kollaborateur van die apartheidregime gemaak. Gevolglik is Suid-Afrika toegelaat om sy apartheidprogram voort te sit terwyl hy Amerikaanse aanmoediging van sy beleid van streeksdestabilisering geniet, veral sy oorgrensaanvalle in Angola en Mosambiek. Die Amerikaanse steun vir die apartheidregering wat deur Konstruktiewe Betrokkenheid gebied is, het die beleid vatbaar gemaak vir kritiek dat die apartheidregering se ‘eksperiment met hervorming’ nie ’n stap in die rigting van die liberalisering van die Republiek se politieke stelsel is nie, maar eerder toegespits is op die ontsegging van burgerskap deur die vestiging van Bantoestans, ’n punt wat ammunisie verskaf het aan teenstanders van Konstruktiewe Betrokkenheid binne die VSA. Die VSA-RSA-samewerking was vir ’n tyd lank doeltreffend; die Frontliniestate moes skoorvoetend Pretoria se streekshegemonie aanvaar. Oorheersing van die Frontliniestate het egter nie die veiligheid van die Suid-Afrikaanse staat verbeter nie. Die African National Congress was nie verslaan nie en was vasbeslote om die Republiek onregeerbaar te maak. Boonop kon Pretoria teen die laat-1980s nie Suider-Afrika domineer nie en Angola, Mosambiek en Zimbabwe, hoewel verswak weens jare se oorlogvoering, het gereed gelyk om hulle weer in die streek te laat geld. Vir Suid-Afrika het die Totale Nasionale Strategie misluk, en naasbestaan met sy buurstate sou ’n noodsaaklikheid wees. Sonder ’n magtige apartheidregime waarmee kommunistiese invloed in Suider-Afrika verminder kon word, het die Reagan-administrasie Konstruktiewe Betrokkenheid laat vaar.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71724
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