CITATION: Liebenberg, I., Kruijt, D. & Pranjpe, S. 2020. Epilogue, in Liebenberg, I., Kruijt, D. & Paranjpe, S. (eds) 2020. Defence diplomacy & national security strategy : views from the global south. Stellenbosch: SUN PReSS, doi:10.18820/9781928480556/Za.
The original publication is available at https://africansunmedia.store.it.si/za
Chapters in Books
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.