Africa Notes: South Africa's Foreign Policy Priorities: A 1996 Update - January 1996
January 1, 1996
South Africa's foreign relations have come a long way in 10 years. As one diplomat has phrased it, the old South Africa's 1985 foreign policy was benign toward those who smiled upon the apartheid regime and reactively focused to counter the effects of sanctions and international isolation. In the southern African region, Pretoria pursued a militaristic strategy of destabilization in an attempt, particularly in the cases of Angola and Namibia, to link its regional security concerns to a wider anti-Communist cold war stance.
Today, South Africa is welcomed as possibly the most successful-if not the most remarkable-example of post-cold war domestic transformation. This dramatic turnaround is evident also in the foreign relations of the "rainbow nation" At one level, the substance of South Africa's foreign policy is easily discernible in the expansion of bilateral and multilateral ties since 1990 and in the country's much higher international profile. The Government of National Unity, headed by President Mandela and Deputy Presidents Thabo Mbeki and [F.W.] de Klerk, describes this aspect of its foreign policy as one of universality-the opening of doors to enable international discourse. The fourfold expansion in the number of South African diplomatic representations abroad to 124 by 1994 and the country's accession or readmission since May 1994 to 16 multilateral organizations has greatly elevated its international status.