Between 'partnership' and disengagement : mapping the contours of US policy towards post-apartheid South Africa

Bridgman, Martha (1999-12)

Thesis (D.Phil.)--University of Stellenbosch, 1999.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As Pretoria grapples simultaneously with its apartheid past and its promising but precarious future, an accurate map of US policy towards post-apartheid South Africa is critical. Without such a map, policymakers are liable to miscalculate US commitment to engagement, perhaps to detrimental effect. Seeking to draw the contours of US policy between 1994 and 1999, this study operates at the junctures between realism and liberalism, and between international relations and comparative foreign policy theory, allowing insights from each to illuminate analysis across a broad range of issue-areas. US calls for "partnership" with South Africa must be considered against the backdrop of global developments, historical patterns, and current political exigencies in the US, especially pressures for disengagement. Discussion thus begins at the system level before presenting a brief overview of the history of US South Africa policy and of policy under Clinton as demonstrated via official statements, administrative initiatives, and US responses to events involving South Africa. Analysis then delves into the subunit level, considering the role of public opinion and bureaucratic process and politics in US policymaking. The study disaggregates Clinton's South Africa policy across four issue-areas, as suggested by Zimmerman's "issue-based foreign policy paradigm," in this case namely development assistance, trade, global and regional security, and issues of political symbolism. Issue-area analysis reveals interest group and bureaucratic activity in each of these areas, and indicates the net direction of policy towards Pretoria with regard to engagement. The research found that the end of the Cold War, a reduced US economic advantage internationally, and globalisation have created the conditions for a return to the fundamental US policy of democracy promotion. Under this policy, South Africa has featured as both a pivotal state and a big emerging market, and as one of a few nations to share a Binational Commission with America. Democracy promotion is not free from detractors, however, who denounce it as a "recolonisation" of the developing world. Such criticism warrants attention. Further, the analysis confirmed the suggestion that US foreign policy is more accurately described as a set of policies, and therefore that issuearea analysis has value in clarifying the net direction of the various threads of US policy towards a particular nation, based on the domestic factors underlying policy in each issuearea. At the sub-national level, issue-area analysis showed that, since 1994, both interest group and bureaucratic activity has, on balance, encouraged deeper engagement in South Africa. In fact, there is unprecedented interest from sources within the public and the government. The Binational Commission stands as an example of this, as well as of the Clinton/Gore drive to "reinvent government." On this note, while the BNC has not revolutionised Africa policymaking, it has accomplished projects in record time and established valuable links which should last beyond the current period. The US emphasis on its "partnership" with South Africa may need reviewing, however, in view of the potential cost of such a liaison for South Africa. Delivery on promises, rather than rhetoric, would be of greater assistance to South Africa in it's quest to grow as a democratic, economically thriving and independent leader among developing nations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Terwyl Pretoria tegelykertyd worstel met sy apartheidsverlede en sy belowende, dog onsekere toekoms, is betroubare insig in VSA beleid teenoor die nuwe Suid-Afrika noodsaaklik. Sonder die insig sal beleidmakers gevaar loop om die VSA se intensies verkeerd te vertolk, dalk met nadelige gevolge. Hierdie studie teken die kontoere van VSA beleid tussen 1994 en 1999, op die basis van 'n ontginning van die raakpunte tussen realisme en liberalisme, en tussen internasionale betrekkinge en vergelykende teoriee van buitelandse beleid. Die VSA se beroep op vennootskap met Suid-Afrika moet gesien word teen die agtergrond van wereldwye ontwikkelinge, historiese patrone en die venneende herlewing van Amerikaanse afsydigheid teenoor die res van die wereld. Die analise begin dus by die stelselvlak voordat 'n kort oorsig gegee word van die geskiedenis van die VSA se beleid teenoor Suid-Afrika, en van beleid onder Clinton soos blyk uit amptelike verklarings, administratiewe inisiatiewe, en die VSA se reaksie op gebeure wat Suid-Afrika raak. Vervolgens peil die studie die sub-eenheid vlak van analise en gee aandag aan die rol van openbare mening, burokratiese prosesse en die politiek van VSA beleidvonning. Die proefskrif ontleed Clinton se Suid-Afrika-beleid in besonderhede, deur te fokus op vier kwessie-gebiede ("issue areas") soos deur Zimmennan se "kwessieverwante buitelandse beleidsparadigma" voorgestel, naamlik ontwikkelingshulp, handel, politieke simbolisme, en globale en regionale sekuriteit. K wessiegebied-analise Ie eiesoortige belangegroep en burokratiese aktiwiteite ten opsigte van elk van die vier kwessies bloot, en wys op die gevaar van 'n te gemaklike veralgemening oor "die" VSAbeleid. Nogtans identifiseer die proefskrif die netto-rigting van VSA-beleid teenoor Pretoria gedurende die Clinton-era. Die proefskrif bevind dat die einde van die Koue Oorlog, groter ekonomiese pariteit tussen die groot moondhede, en globalisering die VSA aanspoor om na een van sy basiese beleidsrigtings, naamlik die bevordering van liberale demokrasie, terug te keer. In tenne hiervan word Suid-Afrika as 'n sleutelstaat beskou, en vanuit 'n investeringsoogpunt as 'n groot ontluikende mark. Gevolglik is dit een van die min state wat 'n Binasionale Kommissie met die VSA deel. Die VSA se bevordering van 'n baie bepaalde konsepsie van demokrasie word deur sommige kritici, moontlik tereg, as 'n vorm van herkolonialisering beskou. Die analise bevestig dat die VSA se buite1andse beleid meer akkuraat beskryf kan word as 'n stel beleide, en derhalwe dat kwessiegebiedanalise waarde het om die netto rigting van die verskeie drade van VSA beleid teenoor 'n spesifieke staat, gebaseer op die binnelandse faktore wat die beleid in elke kwessiegebied onderskraag, op te helder. Op die sub-nasionale vlak wys kwessiegebiedanalise uit dat die aktiwiteite van sekere belangegroepe, sowel as burokratiese inisiatiewe, sedert 1994 meer VSA-betrokkenheid by Suid-Afrika aangemoedig het. Die Binasionale Kommissie is 'n voorbeeld hiervan. So ook is die Clinton/Gore veldtog om burokratiese rompslomp uit te skakel, ter wille van meer effektiewe internasionale betrekkinge. In hierdie verband het die Binasionale Kommissie miskien nie 'n omwentelling in Washington-beleidmaking ten opsigte van Afrika teweeggebing nie, maar dit het weI reaksietyd drasties gesny, en waardevolle kontakte gevestig wat langdurig kan wees. Die VSA se klem op sy vennootskap met Suid-Afrika sal miskien heroorweeg moet word, in die lig van die potensiele nadeel van so 'n verbintenis vir Suid-Afrika se aansien in die ontwikkelende wereld. Nakoming van Amerikaanse beloftes, eerder as woorde, sal Suid-Afrika meer help in sy strewe om 'n demokratiese, ekonomiese vooruitstrewende en onafhanklike wereldburger te wees.

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