Chapters in Books (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS))

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    (African Sun Media, 2020) Liebenberg, Ian; Kruijt, Dirk; Paranjpe, Shrikant
    An astute observer of international politics, in following global events unfolding over the past 50 years, remarked not so much tongue-in-cheek that the fallacy of a unipolar world was evident for decades including during the Cold War, and the phenomenon is becoming more evident day by day. He suggests that ‘the process of globalisation to the extent that it exists … has been proven to be far from linear. Some general trends may be observed by some, but there are visible signs of deglobalisation in various areas such as politicalmilitary and economic spheres’.1 His statement reminds one of an argument once posed by the sociologist, Anthony Giddens, cautioning theorists that the globalisation of (social) life also implies fragmentation and alienation on various socio- and political levels, which is likely to invite conflict rather than peaceful existence. This collected volume through various contributions touches on how the post-1945, post-decolonisation and post-Cold War era transformed power, diplomatic and strategic relations and defence diplomacy in the “Global South”. As the assassination of an Iranian general in Iraq by a US drone attack in January 2020 illustrates, the space of global politics remains tense, if not explosive. If not for Iranian restraint, this thoughtless act of aggression outside the parameters of international law could have led to some conflict of magnitude. One may argue that the then Cold War divide made conflict more containable and perhaps predictable. The consequences of the Cold War conflicts in the “Third World”, however, were enormous in human and material terms be it through so‑called proxy wars or direct intervention by powers that perceived themselves as Gladiator-World Saviours (for example, the US involvement in Vietnam and US involvement in enforced regime changes in Latin- America). Despite a brief moment of (perhaps delusional) optimism following the end of the Cold War, the present context remains one of tension, increasing fragmentation and fragile relations that can change in a moment through one single un‑reflected-upon military act.
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    China in a global world
    (African Sun Media, 2020) Liebenberg, Ian; Van der Merwe, Justin
    This chapter provides an overview of the growth of China as a political, military and economic power since its emergence as an independent communist state in 1949. China became a notable political force during the era of decolonisation (1950‑1980) and one of the leading states within the Non‑Aligned Movement (NAM). Due to its relative economic development and substantial population, China became well-known for posing alternatives to Western domination. During the era of decolonisation, China’s external involvement increased through its use of soft power and as a result of its support for liberation movements in Africa. The end of the Cold War saw the demise of the bipolar world and resulted in unipolarity. More recently, however, multipolarity has taken root through the rise or resurgence of non‑Western emerging powers. Since 1990, and especially since 2000, China has moved from being a regional hegemon to a global power. This chapter describes the rise of China and its current status as an aspiring global hegemon. Although the chapter is mainly descriptive, it also provides some reflective and analytical notes on China’s current and conceivable future role on the international stage.
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    National security in complex times : the South African military dimension
    (African Sun Media, 2020) Ramokgadi, Shadrack; Beukes, Tobie; Liebenberg, Ian
    Having returned to the international gallery of nations in 1996 after its apartheid pariah status was lifted, South Africa had to adjust its defence posture, defence diplomacy, and general national security framework to new conditions. The Cold War was over, interstate wars in the region were unlikely, and if undertaken at all, military deployment was to participate in peacekeeping operations. With the apartheid garrison state mentality a thing of the past, a new national security strategy became a necessity. This chapter discusses the need and guidelines for a national security strategy suited to a democracy and a developmental state aware of current and future socio-economic challenges, and its role in the region and on the African continent.
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    South Africa's Defence Diplomacy in Africa
    (African Sun Media, 2020) Liebenberg, Ian; Steenkamp-Fonseca, Raymond
    South Africa’s defence posture in Africa changed radically between 1950 and 2018. From a garrison-minded state mired in diplomatic isolation, the country ‘returned to Africa’ following its negotiated transition to democracy. As South Africa’s relations on the continent evolve, so too does the country’s use of various instruments of foreign policy. This chapter primarily considers the military instrument in foreign policy, and in particular the country’s policy and practice of defence diplomacy. Shaped in part by the presidential styles of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, and Jacob Zuma, the interplay between foreign policy and defence has required South Africa to ensure it is not perceived as a hegemon by its neighbours in Africa, but as a declared partner – albeit often as the dominant partner. Even so, expectations continue that South Africa should extend its role in the African Union (AU), and through the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) it helped to establish. As the chapter notes, significant gains have been made in advancing South African interests through defence diplomacy, but real limitations exist and these should be considered rationally before unrealistic demands or inflated expectations are uncritically accepted.
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    Venezuela's defence diplomacy under Chávez and Maduro (1999-2018)
    (African Sun Media, 2020) Kruijt, Dirk
    Between the 1950s and the late 1980s, Venezuela’s economy and welfare attracted many migrants. An economic crisis, subsequent mass uprising and riots, and brutal repression by the armed forces was a watershed. Mid‑career officers conspired; one of them, Hugo Chávez, a Lieutenant-Colonel staged a coup that failed (1992). Imprisoned and amnestied, he founded a political movement, won the presidential elections and took office in 1999. Chávez and Castro became revolutionary brothers-in-arms. Venezuela supported Cuba by subsidised oil, Cuba provided military and intelligence experts, and medical and literacy personnel on a massive scale, around 50,000 in 2013. Chávez launched an extraordinary pro‑poor reform programme, the ‘socialism of the twentieth century’. Meanwhile, he strengthened the armed forces both numerically and budgetarily, buying Russian and Chinese equipment. He also created militias of armed civilians up to 365,000 members. Gradually the military occupied more strategic positions as cabinet ministers or supervisors of state institutions. Chávez death in 2013 coincided with the fall of the oil prices, dramatic budget cuts, mass demonstrations, and mass outmigration, in the context of a galloping inflation and a polarised society. His successor Maduro governs by decree (there are two contending parliaments) and turned nearly all significant cabinet and top administrative positions in the public sector and the nationalised economy to the military, his staunch allies.