Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension

Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension

Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension

Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension

Synopsis

Analyzing South Africa's postapartheid security system, Vale moves beyond a realist discussion of interacting states to examine southern Africa as an integrated whole.

Excerpt

In a work that is long on theory, I want to begin with a few words of prac-tice. There are no easy choices in southern Africa. However one views it, however upbeat the moment or dismal the mood, southern Africa seems an awfully troublesome region; because so, it will not be easy to bring either security or community to its people. To be candid, the magnitude of all this has come slowly to me. And to add confession to this early frankness, understanding the enormity of what faces the region and its people would not have happened if I had not changed my reading habits.

During the 1980s, as the struggle to end apartheid intensified, I had foreseen another future for southern Africa—a future in which states would prosper and, through them, a regional community would grow. Informed by the hope that the ending of apartheid promised, I then reasoned that a series of quick and complimentary solutions for the region would deliver southern Africa from the nightmare of destruction it faced. In those particular tea leaves, the prospects for regional peace and security seemed to be naturally folded within the debates that were carrying the battle to end apartheid.

South Africa's reemergence into the regional community, I frequently argued, would register a kind of zero-hour—a moment from which all the region's people (and the national states that seemed to both cradle and carry their lives) might begin to interact through routines of international behavior—routines that I reasoned had been brutally pushed aside by cross-border war, as well as the other forms of self-mutilation and chronic insecurity that were associated with the successive last stands of minority power in southern Africa. The anxious years of waiting, of planning, and of hoping could not, I then hoped, have been in vain—a strong, confident South Africa could halt the region's downward spiral—and around this, economies would grow, democracy prosper, education flourish: the . . .

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