Western-imperialism in South African foreign policy (1999 – 2008) through constructivist language theory

Louw, Niel Ramsay (2015-04)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Scholars and laymen alike have in the past lamented the ambiguous and confusing nature of post-apartheid South African foreign policy, specifically with relation to humanitarian crises on the African continent. Regularly the principles of promoting human rights and democracy on the continent seemingly fall to the wayside in favour of a stubborn adherence to respecting state sovereignty and African solidarity. No two cases exemplify this more than President Thabo Mbeki’s continued reliance on the policy of Quiet Diplomacy in addressing the political and economic crises in Zimbabwe and the alleged genocide in Darfur, Sudan, both of which occurred in the early years of the 21st century. Some International Relations scholars have previously suggested the influence of Mbeki’s anti-Western-imperialist convictions as a constructivist explanation to this foreign policy ambiguity, but all of them attempt to address the ambiguity only within the specific contexts of Sudan and Zimbabwe, none attempting to create an overarching exploration of both cases. This thesis attempts to use constructivist methodologies to a) rationally establish, through a logical and structured approach, anti-Western-imperialist considerations as a common variable that was able to influence the foreign policy decision in both Zimbabwe and Sudan, and b) explain how anti-Western-Imperialism was able to exert such an influence. Firstly, a Rule Based Language Orientated Constructivist (RBLOC) approach is employed to create two language games, one for each case (Sudan and Zimbabwe), utilising primary and secondary sources to recreate verbal and non-verbal speech acts for the actors involved. Through the dialogical analysis of these language games, the common variable of ‘anti-Western-imperialist considerations’ is identified as essential for the rational conclusion of each language game. Secondly, Securitisation Theory, extrapolated to a regional, interstate level, is used to explain how anti-Western-imperialist convictions on the part of President Mbeki were able to influence the policy responses in the respective case studies. Ultimately it is the aim of this thesis to prove that in both cases the presence of President Mbeki’s psycho-cultural disposition, a shared referent object (anti-Western Imperialism), and the securitisation of Western Imperialism can be confirmed and that the presence of these variables can be used to rationally explain Mbeki’s use of Quiet Diplomacy in those instances.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die skynbaar dubbelsinnige en verwarrende aard van Suid-Afrika se buitelandse beleid, veral ten opsigte van humanitêre krisisse op die Afrika-vasteland, is deurgaans deur kundiges en leke betreur. Beginsels soos die bevordering van menseregte en demokrasie op die vasteland is op gereelde grondslag verbeur ten gunste van ’n weerbarstige aanhang van staatsoewereniteit en Afrika-solidariteit. Twee gevalle wat hierdie verskynsel uitstekend illustreer is Pres. Thabo Mbeki se beleid van stille diplomasie ten opsigte van die politieke en ekonomiese krisisse in Zimbabwe en die beweerde volksmoorde in Soedan se Darfur-streek, albei gebeure van die vroeë 21ste Eeu. Menige Konstruktiwiste het gepoog om die dubbelsinnighede van hierdie twee gevalle aan die hand van Mbeki se toentertydse anti-Westerse-imperialistiese oortuigings te verklaar, maar niemand het nog gepoog om ’n omvattende ontleding van albei gevalle te doen nie. In hierdie tesis word gepoog om twee duidelik onderskeibare Konstruktiwistiese metodologieë in te span om a) deur ’n logiese en gestruktureerde benadering te bevestig dat die anti-Westerse-imperialistiese oorwegings ’n gemene veranderlike was wat ’n invloed kon hê op die uitkomste in Zimbabwe sowel as in die Soedan, en b) om te verklaar hoe hierdie anti-Westerse-imperialistiese oorwegings so ’n invloed kon uitoefen. Eerstens, word ’n Reël-Gebaseerde, Taal Georiënteerde Konstruktiwistiese benadering aangewend om twee spraakspeletjies, een vir elk van die gevallestudies, te skep. Primêre en sekondêre bronne word gebruik om die spraakhandeling van die betrokke rolspelers in albei gevalle te herkonstrueer. Deur die dialogiese aard van hierdie spraakspeletjies te ontleed, word die gemene veranderlike van die anti-Westerse-imperialistiese oorwegings uitgewys as onontbeerlik vir die rasionele volvoering van elke spraakspel. Tweedens, beveiligingsteorie,ge-ekstrapoleer tot interstaatsvlak in streeksverband, word toegepas om te verklaar hoe Mbeki se anti-Westerse-imperialistiese oortuigings ’n invloed gehad het op beleidmaking. Die tesis voer aan dat Pres. Mbeki se keuse tot stille diplomasie in albei gevalle rasioneel verklaar kan word aan die hand van Mbeki se psigo-kulterele ingesteldheid, ’n gemene verwysingsvoorwerp (anti-Westerse-imperialisme), en die sekuritisasie van Westerse-imperialisme deur die betrokke rolspelers.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96905
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