Browsing Faculty of Military Sciences by Author "Barnard, Tjaart"
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- ItemA cold relationship: United States foreign policy towards South Africa, 1960 – 1990(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2016-12) Barnard, Tjaart; Liebenberg, J. C. R.; Van der Waag, I. J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Military Science. School for Security and Africa Studies: Military History.ENGLISH SUMMARY: The diplomatic relations between the United States (USA) and South Africa (SA) had its birth in 1799 with the establishing of a consulate in Cape Town. Over the next two centuries the political dealings between the two countries were at times limited to almost merely acknowledgement of the other’s existence, while at other times there was very close cooperation on almost all levels of state. Diplomatic ties were strengthened during the Second World War, the Berlin Airlift and the Korean War when Americans and South Africans shared the same dugouts, flew in the same air missions, and opposed the same enemy on both the tactical as well as ideological fronts. During the Cold War, SA aligned itself with the Western world in the hope of being seen as staunchly anti-communist in order to fit in with the Cold War rhetoric of the West. Washington was delighted to have an ally in Southern Africa who would ensure, or so Washington hoped, that communism did not get a foothold in this strategically placed part of the globe. Unfortunately for the USA, South Africa’s apartheid policies went against everything that the USA proclaimed to stand for – freedom and democracy. The USA eventually found itself in a precarious position of having to choose between its own national interest and moral obligations. From 1960-1990 the USA-SA relationship oscillated as various personalities (presidents, politicians etc) and world events (e.g. Sharpeville massacre, Vietnam War, Watergate etc) impacted on it to various degrees. The USA-SA alliance consisted of political, economic and military relations (including nuclear weapons technology) which at times had to be clandestine in order for the USA to not lose its international prestige as leader of the free world. With SA however forging ahead with its policies of segregation and destabilisation the USA had to increasingly act under a cloak of plausible deniability in all spheres of its relationship with SA. The Soviet Union (USSR) and its allies (mainly Cuba) conducted military operations in Southern Africa and provided training to African liberation movements with the intention of helping them to achieve freedom from the apartheid regime or to protect themselves from Pretoria’s aggression, as was the case with Angola. Soviet support for the liberation movements in SA and the rest of Southern Africa was a mutual concern for both SA and the USA. Consequently the USA supported South African adventurism into its neighbouring countries under the auspices of preventing the communist forces from achieving world domination. By the end of the Cold War, the USA could no longer turn a blind eye to SA’s occupation of Namibia or the incursions into Angola. With assistance from the USA and other Western allies Pretoria was able to, in the greatest of secrecy and to the amazement of the world, built several nuclear weapons. SA’s nuclear programme never really reached a level where it could threaten the larger nuclear powers but it was troublesome enough to move the USA to action. By means of coercion and diplomatic pressure the USA managed to convince Pretoria to abandon its quest for a nuclear arsenal.