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South Africa and constructive engagement: lessons learned?

Davies, J. E. (2008) South Africa and constructive engagement: lessons learned? Journal of Southern African Studies, 34 (1). pp. 5-20. ISSN 0305-7070

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/03057070701832858


There has been much criticism of President Mbeki's policy of constructive engagement towards Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe. This has grown since 2000 as the crisis has continued to worsen. This article compares Pretoria's current approach with the Reagan administration's constructive engagement towards Pretoria in the 1980s. Washington made a number of significant mistakes in the design and implementation of this policy and each of these is examined. An investigation of Mbeki's actions concludes that he is currently committing many of the same errors. Not only does this damage Mbeki's credibility, it also damages the credibility of a vital diplomatic tool - reducing constructive engagement once again to a diplomatic fig leaf to cover 'business as usual' with a rogue state.

Item Type:Article
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ID Code:40824

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