Developing a strategic perspective on South African foreign policy
1 July 1997
Deepening and consolidating the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) is not only a matter relating to what we do inside the country, but it is equally a matter relating to our position and relationships we develop in the international arena. For the ANC and our democratic government to place emphasis on international matters is in the deepest interest of our democratic revolution, and not a move away from our reconstruction and development tasks.
The more the international climate is sensitive to the developmental and democratic aspirations of developing countries like ours, the more we will be able to better consolidate the NDR. Similarly, an international environment which regards the national liberation of oppressed peoples as fundamental will be more conducive to our own nation-building process than one which in practice tolerates instances of national oppression.
For us to be involved in the resolution of problems like in the former Zaire, is part of contributing to the creation of a peaceful and democratic continent within which our own democracy can best flourish.
A South Africa that is thriving and experiencing growth and development in a Southern African or on a continent that is experiencing poverty and underdevelopment will increase the problems of illegal entry into the country, drug trafficking and many other such related problems. It is therefore important to ensure that South Africa is deeply involved in the revival, economic growth and development of Southern Africa and the continent as a whole.
The aims of this discussion document therefore are the following:
- To assist our membership in understanding and debating about the international environment in which we find ourselves as an important component of advancing our struggle;
- To identify key strategic issues facing us in the international arena with a view to facilitating debate towards developing appropriate detailed policies. Therefore, the paper is not a chronicle of foreign policy events and issues over the last three years nor does it pretend to deal with all the detailed issues facing South Africa in the international arena. Rather, it attempts to provide a framework within which detailed policies can be developed;
- To contribute towards the empowerment of our general membership with a framework within which to engage international issues.
A BRIEF REFLECTION ON OUR FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCES OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS
Our ability to interact properly with our international environment is dependent on an open and critical reflection on our experiences since our electoral victory and the establishment of the government of national unity (GNU) in 1994.
The 1994 policy document on international affairs adopted by national conference commits the ANC to the following:
- Promotion of democracy and human rights, based on the belief and understanding that just and lasting solutions to the problems of humankind can only come through the promotion of democracy worldwide;
- Promotion of international peace as a goal to which all nations must strive;
- Commitment to the development of the African continent and the Southern African region in particular;
- A belief that South Africa`s economic development depends on the growing regional and international economic co-operation in an interdependent world;
- That our international relations must mirror our deep commitment to the consolidation of a democratic South Africa;
- Underpinning all this is our anti-imperialist, anti-colonial and anti-neocolonial commitments in international relations;
- Development of a just and equitable world order in which tackling the problems facing Southern Africa, Africa and indeed the whole of the South is at the top of the international agenda;
The identification of these principles cannot be considered idealistic which shifts our focus away from the harsh realities of “national interest”. Rather, the identification of such principles should be seen as an essential part of defining the national interest. Nevertheless, with the benefit of three years of experience, it is becoming more and more clear that the difficult challenge is to translate these principles into effective governmental policies and actions in our relations with particular countries and within various international forums.
Universally accepted human rights, for instance are often disputed in their interpretation and relevance among different societies and cultures, and among countries at different levels of development. Answering the question of how to translate our call for human rights into effective policies requires an analysis of the current international situation and South Africa`s place and role in it.
Although this paper largely emerges from an implicit reflection on our experiences over the last three years, it is important to briefly highlight some of these. They include:
- One of the very first test cases for us in the area of promoting democracy and human rights Nigeria highlighted the potential limits of our influence if we act as an individual country. This further highlighted the importance and need to act in concert with others and to forge strategic aliances in pursuit of foreign policy objectives. The search for such alliances needs to take place, in part, within existing multilateral institutions and forums like the OAU and United Nations. We need to become an increasingly active participant in these organisations, recognising that acting multiletarally almost always involves negotiations and compromise. But we need also, as a movement, to be seeking to act to forge a whole range of relations with peoples, progressive social movements and like-minded political parties in pursuit of a transformatory agenda.
- Despite the end to the Cold War, Africa as a continent is still a site for the advancement of some of the geo-political and strategic interests of the powerful Western countries. Much more importantly, given the new international situation, this is being pursued mainly through economic means because there is no longer any rational political reason for direct physical or military intervention. That type of intervention used to happen when the West claimed that they were fighting against the spread of communism. In other words, the economic objectives of western powers (the spread of capitalism and accumulation on a world scale) has not come to an end with the Cold War.
- The world is increasingly being divided into economic blocs, particularly in the developed economies, and unless the South (developing countries) act together in both multi-lateral forums and in economic relations, there is little chance for properly challenging the unjust world order.
- South Africa`s geo-strategic location and relatively high-profile, given the international image of both our country and the President, are no guarantee for entry into the international arena on our own terms. In addition, we are, in global terms, a small, middle-income country.
- International relations are not merely based on solidarity, but largely on economic interests, particularly of the most developed countries. This is an important lesson for us. Even though we once benefited from international solidarity in the struggle against apartheid, this has not necessarily translated into favourable terms for South Africa`s full integration in the international arena.
- Much as there is a need to create a common agenda with the African continent and the developing world, there is no agreement on views or practices within the bloc of developing nations themselves, particularly on the very same issues that provide the major platform for our foreign policy (democracy, human rights and justice). In other words, the South itself , as well as Africa, is full of contradictions that could potentially undermine the creation of a common agenda. These contradictions within the developing world have emerged already in a number of international forums when faced with critical issues. These countries were recently divided on the question of nuclear arms proliferation, elimination of landmines and the social clauses in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In some instances, guided by our commitment to democracy and human rights, we have had to vote differently from some of our closest allies, and sometimes vote differently from almost the entire developing world.
- Much more significantly, our involvement in the resolution of the problems in the Great Lakes, particularly in the former Zaire, has taught us a number of lessons about the realities on the African continent and some of the challenges facing a country like ours and the continent as a whole. For instance, whilst countries like France and the United States were committed to the resolution of the problems there, they were also trying to resolve these problems in a way that strengthens their own influence in that region, thus almost undermining the relatively peaceful transition in the former Zaire. However, a positive lesson out of the OAU and South Africa`s role there is that Africans themselves are capable of resolving their own problems
- Another important lesson and challenge is that given South Africa`s stature on the continent and the world, it is not always possible to act in a way that satisfies the expectations of other countries, particularly those on the African continent. This necessarily poses the question to our movement in particular, on how we build our capacity to make an effective contribution on the continent and in the world, whilst at the same time not exaggerating what we can do and achieve. It is in fact in this context that the notion of an African Renaissance has arisen, as the best framework through which we can empower the continent to act for itself and its interests.
CHARACTERISING THE CURRENT INTERNATIONAL SITUATION
Our policy document adopted at the 1994 national conference, as outlined above, provides a perspective and a foundation from which to understand the current international situation and further refine our international policy, particularly in the light of our experiences in the last three years in government.
Our foreign policy document mentions certain features of the current global reality that we have to engage with. For example it describes the “emerging global economic circumstances” as being “not conducive to the development of democratic cultures in African states”. It continues to say that with regard to the “concentration of the global economy into trading blocs”, and the new features of this global environment, Africa is again the victim of a new and terribly unjust global system, thus creating a difficult environment of the consolidation of our own democratic gains.
The process of transition in our own country is taking place against the background of enormous changes in the international context. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the East European bloc of socialist countries fundamentally altered both the global balance of forces and the content of international relations. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought in a world that is dominated by the capitalist system.
There is no longer a bloc of socialist countries which could, to some extent, serve as an alternative pole around which developing countries like ours could construct their trade, aid and strategic relations.
The end of the Cold War, marked by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bloc of socialist countries, certainly had some positive effects. For instance, it undermined the support of repressive regimes by imperialist countries throughout the world, as the Cold War, anti-Communist argument could no longer be used. This might have further contributed to the advancement towards a negotiated settlement in our own country.
At the same time, however, the collapse of the Soviet Union had the effect of reducing international support for national liberation struggles, as well as the absence of space and support for developing countries to develop alternative economic and political policies relatively independently from the ideas set out by the Western capitalist countries. The cases of the Palestinian, East Timorese and Western Saharan struggles are all testimony to the reality that the end of the Cold War has not necessarily led to the resolution of such conflicts in favour of nationally oppressed peoples.
At the same time, this new world order has opened up dangerous forces of ethnic mobilisation and genocide in various parts of the world. This is largely as a result of the reconstitution of states after the collapse of the Soviet Union and socialist bloc of countries, as well as economic and political solutions being imposed by some Western powers that are not consistent with the realities in many developing countries.
The above reality is as a result of the fact that the emerging global order has had the further effect of laying down political conditions to many developing countries as pre-conditions for aid and trade relations. The introduction of multi-party systems with regular elections became a requirement for getting international aid, with marginalisation being the penalty for those who do not comply.
While the right to form political parties and participate in democratic elections is undoubtedly a fundamental democratic right, multi-party systems have been introduced in Africa in circumstances where other conditions have had the effect of weakening the capacity of governments to stop the explosion of ethnic wars. This is because ethnicity and religious differences often become mobilising platforms in contexts where the immediate prospects of bringing about any improvement in the lot of the majority look bleak. The prime example of this is the demand for immediate elections in a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Zaire) in a context where the state has collapsed, and there is also a long history of dictatorship and the existence of 250 ethnic groups and about 400 ethnically based political parties. Whilst the Democratic Republic of Congo will have to establish itself as a democracy, the question is: under what conditions and circumstances should this transition happen?
Perhaps the most important lesson to be learnt out of the current international situation is that whilst the Cold-War has ended, this does not translate into the developing world benefiting out of this situation. Instead, the goals being pursued by Western developed countries that of consolidating capitalism on a world scale have not changed. It is only the context under which they are being pursued that has changed.
Therefore, we are faced with the reality that, despite the end of the Cold War, the capitalist system has not resolved the differences within even the most advanced countries. Indeed, in most of them, the gap between the rich and the poor continues to widen, reflected not only in the ever-rising so-called “natural unemployment,” but also in poverty wages. Among the nations of the world, the gap between developed and developing countries is as wide as ever.
GLOBALISATION AS A STRATEGY THAT WE CANNOT AVOID
Globalisation is a term that is widely used and thus subject to various interpretations. Furthermore, it is a term that attempts to characterise and understand the current international reality. The approach taken in this paper is that globalisation is a strategy which cannot simply be described as referring only or largely to trade matters on an international scale, but is at the heart of international relations today, whether at the trade, economic or political level. Therefore, any attempt to reduce globalisation merely to questions of trade and the economy is to avoid the single most defining characteristic of the current world order.
More fundamentally, globalisation has to be recognised as a process aimed at turning the entire globe into a single global market operating according to a universal set of rules. Much more importantly, globalisation also subjects the international political and economic institutions, as well as national political institutions, to this overarching global market, thereby making globalisation a political phenomenon.
In globalisation, the monopoly companies of the advanced capitalist countries, particularly trans-national corporations, set most of the agenda. As such, the real danger exists that political and economic policy of governments throughout the world can be dictated to by these corporations. Already, the content and form of globalisation of trade, investment and capital flows, and the operation of some of the most important multilateral institutions (the World Bank, the IMF and other organs) largely reflects the wishes of these corporations.
Closely linked to the process of globalisation is a drive towards liberalisation. This phenomenon has given rise to a new policy agenda, known as neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism looks at deregulated global business and reducing the role of the state, as the pre-conditions and only route to economic growth and development, both at national and international levels.
The most serious outcome of this is that it undermines national sovereignty of countries, even more so in the developing world. This happens to such a degree that some developing countries have to seek IMF or World Bank approval of their national budgets, before giving them to their parliaments for adoption. Therefore the danger is that we can enter the new millennium in an international environment where countries, particularly developing countries, have given up their sovereignty.
The essence of globalisation and its political implications on an international scale is usefully captured by Hobsbawm in his book Age of Extremes, 1994. He argues that although countries traded with each other to a growing extent “the bulk of their economic activities remained home-centred” and the world economy remained international. From the late 1960`s on, however, an “increasingly transnational economy began to emerge” characterised by “a system of economic activities for which state territories and state frontiers are not the basic framework, but complicating factors”. It is this transition from an international to a transnational world economy that defines the present phase of globalisation.
There are two approaches that as a movement we should avoid in dealing with the new global world order. The first approach argues that South Africa should integrate itself into this “unproblematic” reality without question as the only way for the growth of South Africa`s domestic economy. In other words, South Africa should treat itself merely as a “municipality” of this “global village”. The second approach is of an ultra-leftist kind, which argues that any form of engagement with the institutions of governance of the world economy will make us subordinate to the dictates of neo-liberalism.
Both these approaches are wrong. The weakness of the first approach is that it takes no serious account of the unevenness, imbalances and inequalities of the current global environment. Particularly, it does not recognise the fact that the current international situation is not necessarily structured to the advantage of a country like South Africa. This approach makes us submit to this reality without an attempt to challenge or reshape it. The weakness of the second approach is that it fails to realise that South Africa is a small country that is already heavily dependent on and inextricably tied to the current international economic regime. In addition, this approach fails to recognise the degree to which a struggle for the deepening and consolidation of the NDR needs to be accompanied by an active foreign policy seeking to maximise opportunities within existing norms and structures.
Within this international reality there are opportunities that need to be creatively used. It is the task of revolutionary democrats and humanists everywhere to recognise the dangers. But it is more critical for us to identify opportunities in the search for a just, humane and equitable world order. However, the extent to which existing opportunities are creatively utilised is largely dependent on the capacity of a country like South Africa to forge links with the rest of the continent and the developing world as a whole. Such links and alliances should be driven by a vision and agenda aimed at creating a just and equitable world order. The ANC correctly seeks to take active part in shaping this order, both in the context of its relations with other parties and movements, and as the leading organisation in government. Hence the importance of an agenda based on a vision of an African Renaissance.
THE POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC REVIVAL OF THE AFRICAN CONTINENT TOWARDS AN AFRICAN RENAISSANCE?
The ANC has correctly placed the African continent very high in its international policy and international relations. Such a priority is informed by the following considerations:
- The fact that South Africa is part of the African continent, and that its economic development is linked to what happens on the continent as a whole;
- The fact that South Africa has an important role to play in the economic and political revival of the continent;
- The fact that the economic development of the African continent as a whole will be a significant step in overcoming the North-South divide.
It for these reasons that the concept of an African Renaissance is being advanced as the main pillar of our international policy not only relating to Africa, but in all our international relations globally. The concept of an African Renaissance provides a powerful vision not only for the African continent but for the development of a just and equitable world order. It is for this very reason that an African Renaissance poses a threat to the strategy of globalising capitalism. In fact, globalisation contradicts the very agenda of the Renaissance. Therefore, the success of the Renaissance depends on the depth of and extent to which it challenges globalisation.
Some of the key elements of the Renaissance vision should include the following:
- The economic recovery of the African continent as a whole; The establishment of political democracy on the continent;
- The need to break neo-colonial relations between Africa and the world`s economic powers;
- The mobilisation of the people of Africa to take their destiny into their own hands thus preventing the continent being a place for the attainment of geo-political and strategic interests of the world`s most powerful countries;
- Fast development of a people-driven and people-centred economic growth and development aimed at meeting the basic needs of the people.
At the core of this African agenda should be the entrenchment of stable democracies, dislocating neo-colonialism, sustainable development and an end to superpower scramble for Africa. In other words, at the core of the vision for an African Renaissance is a sustained and vigilant challenge against the strategic orientation of globalisation. To realise this requires close co-operation between progressive forces on the continent to define this common agenda.
However, developing a common agenda for an African renewal also requires co-operation with other forces that might not necessarily be progressive around key strategic issues within this African agenda. This may include widely accepted goals like rapid economic growth, the elimination of armed conflicts, including the temptation to resolve political problems through armed force; and protection of national sovereignty. In other words there is a growing realisation in Africa itself, as reflected by the 33rd OAU summit, that a Renaissance is not possible in an environment of conflict and instability.
South Africa and the OAU`s role in the resolution of the problems in the Great Lakes region, particularly the question of the establishment of democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a learning example of the potential for Africa to resolve its own problems without interference from the imperialist countries. At the same time one major lesson learnt from such involvement is the extent to which powerful countries like France and the US still want to see their interests being of central importance on the African continent.
For an African renaissance to be a reality requires that this process be led by the most progressive sectors of African society. This bloc of forces represents an alliance of the working class, the peasants, the poor, the middle classes and progressive sectors of an emerging African bourgeoisie. However, the unevenness of the strength and level of development of these social forces on the continent poses a difficult question.
Related to the above issue is that of the economic and social policies which Africa should follow. It would have to take account of the power of the capitalist global forces, but at the same time build on the power of the progressive social forces in Africa. This also requires the re-positioning of the OAU so that it is able to play an important economic role.
We need to work out what it means in practice to place human rights, justice and democracy at the forefront of our foreign policy. This certainly should not mean that we should refuse to conduct any diplomatic and trade relations with countries whose record in human rights or democracy we regard as unsatisfactory. But it should also not mean that when we engage with the governments of such countries, we ignore, marginalise or subordinate these principles and only concentrate on trade and diplomacy.
Within the context of an African Renaissance, the ANC and government have correctly placed the Southern African region as a priority in terms of economic co-operation and co-ordination. The defeat of the apartheid regime has created a completely new Southern African situation within which the region can realise its goals of integrated economic development.
South Africa`s entry into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) was an important statement of our commitment to these objectives. The past year has seen a number of steps taken by the region to advance them including most importantly the establishment of the SADC Security Organ, the signing of the SADC trade protocol and the launch of the Maputo corridor programme.
The opposite is also true there can be no meaningful economic development in the Southern African region without such developments inside South Africa itself. The interdependence within the region needs to be fostered and creatively nurtured towards the renewal of the region as a whole.
The reality of cross-border migration from less developed SADC states, to more developed ones, will continue to be a problem for as long as there are no co-ordinated strategies towards effective economic integration. It is important that as a movement we understand the issue of illegal immigrants from the region from this perspective in order not to develop xenophobic attitudes towards illegal immigrants, whilst at the same time developing short-term and long-term measures to deal with this reality.
The Southern African region, and South Africa in particular, is faced with the problem of illegal immigration, drug trafficking and crime syndicates. This is largely as a result of uneven economic development in the region. The space arising out of the transition to a post-apartheid South and Southern Africa is exploited by syndicates (both local and international). Furthermore, in the current international situation there is increase in terrorism, small arms proliferation and environmental degradation. Some of these issues, are presenting enormous problems in the region. There is a need, in particular, to achieve greater co-ordination and to seriously address issues of institutional development and reform (economic and political) with the SADC region in order to empower it deal with these issues. South Africa must use its position as chair of SADC to realise these.
SOME KEY STRATEGIC CHALLENGES AND PRACTICAL TASKS FACING SOUTH AFRICA`S FOREIGN POLICY
In order to achieve the objectives stated above and for South Africa to place itself correctly in the current international situation, there are some key challenges and practical tasks facing us. These include:
- The need to develop strategies and campaign tirelessly to place concerns of Africa and the whole of the developing world more centrally on the international agenda and contest established power relations in a range of international forums. This should lead to the development of alliances with progressive states and parties in the Western World. However, this should be done with awareness that it is not easy to develop and maintain relations with the countries of the developed world who gain from the unequal power relations in the world. At the same time, alliances among weak countries only, without developing strategic alliances with some of the developed countries, is unlikely to achieve the objectives of a just world order. The fact that 13 out of the 15 members of the European Union have governments led by social democratic or labour parties provides an opportunity to campaign for the advancements of some of these goals in Europe. Whilst it is not possible to draw a sharp distinction between trade and politics, our guide in building such alliances should be that these will sometimes be based on economic or trade considerations and other times on political considerations.
- Building alliances with some of the countries in the North is unlikely to give the required results unless countries of the developing world themselves are able to create alliances and a common agenda on what is to be done in tackling the new global world order. This should include developing a common agenda in as many areas as possible when approaching the various multi-lateral forums. Concretely this means prioritising the democratisation and expansion of membership of the United Nations Security Council; a common programme and approach towards the poverty alleviation and debt relief for the developing countries; and the democratisation of the operations of institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is within this context that organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) becomes important, thus necessitating a need to re-define its role and re-position itself in the present international context.
- South Africa needs to lead a campaign to transform and empower the OAU and its organs so that it is able to play an effective role in the implementation of an agenda for an African renewal. The challenge here is to enable the OAU to be able to effectively intervene in promoting of democracy, justice and human rights whilst at the same time not undermining the OAU charter, which protects the national sovereignty of African countries. However, this charter should at the same time not be used as a shield for states that violate human rights. The recent 33rd summit of the OAU held in Harare reflects a new mood in Africa`s determination to resolve its own problems and create a climate for a renewal. Some of the factors contributing to this include the steady consolidation of South Africa`s transition to democracy, as well as the role played by the OAU and South Africa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Related to the above is the task of strengthening the OAU to act as a forum for co-ordinating healthy economic and political relations among African countries as well as the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world. The OAU needs further strengthening in order to effectively co-ordinate economic relations on a continental basis. This means empowering the OAU to become an agency to roll-back neo-colonialism and be an instrument for an African Renaissance. This further entails effective co-ordination by the OAU of the developing regional economic blocs on the continent.
A crucial issue that needs to be firmly placed in the transformation of the world order is that of gender inequality and the oppression of women in particular. It is a fact that culture and national sovereignty have often been used to maintain regimes of women`s oppression and gender inequality. The question of an African Renaissance should centrally be defined by a vision and a commitment to gender equality and the eradication of women`s oppression. This means that South Africa, and our movement in particular need to play an important role in these struggles worldwide and on the continent, including specifically the revival of a Pan-African women`s movement. There can be no renewal in Africa whilst gender inequality remains firmly entrenched on the continent and globally. However, a key task in this regard is the development of perspectives and approaches to international relations that centrally involves ideas of gender equality and women`s emancipation. The Beijing platform provides a foundation upon which we can build, particularly on the African continent.
In these efforts, we should not overestimate ourselves as a small middle-income country. Neither should we ignore the relative influence we enjoy coming from our widely respected transition to democracy, the strategic location of our region as a whole and the resources and potential it commands. Small as we are, but because of our international image, we are able to “punch above our weight” whilst at the same time ensuring that we act in concert with others.
Since it is inevitable that an African Renaissance and transformation of international relations will necessarily entail the transformation of neo-colonial relations, it is important to realise that the responses of major powers to such an initiative might not be positive. It is thus important to strike a balance between pursuit of an African renewal and gathering enough strength in order to defend whatever advances we make, and, most importantly, not to act in a childish manner.
PARTY TO PARTY RELATIONS
If all the above objectives are to be realised, the ANC has to position itself in particular ways in the new international situation. The ANC, from its long and successful struggle against apartheid at an international level, carries within it a wealth of experience in terms of lobbying and mobilising around the transformation of the current world order and towards an African Renaissance. However, we cannot mechanically transfer this experience onto the current international situation without identifying new priorities for the ANC as an organisation.
It is argued here that relations between parties on an international level still remains an important vehicle to attain some of our objectives in the international arena. Strengthening party to party relations requires that we take into account the following factors and issues:
- Government to government relations alone are not adequate in terms of attaining our international objectives. Building relations with progressive and democratic parties throughout the world still remains an important tool to support government to government relations.
- We must prioritise the SADC region and the continent as a whole and this requires the strengthening of party-to-party relations with progressive parties in the region and the continent. Our priority in this regard should be towards our former allies in the liberation struggle in Southern Africa, though not excluding issue-based alliances with a wide range of other forces.
- The ANC and government needs to clearly distinguish between our strategic partners and trade partners, though trade and politics are highly integrated in the current international environment. Strategic partners are those with whom a long-term relationship could be developed around key issues. A trade partner might be of strategic importance on matters relating to trade but not necessarily in relation to some broader political objectives of engaging the new world order. Such a distinction should also act to inform the ANC`s priorities in forging party-to-party relations.
In an international period where governments` autonomy is under threat, where there is deepening interdependence, and where issues are not always territorially defined, the centrality of party-to-party relations cannot be overemphasised in international relations. The need to build people-to-people relations outside of state-to-state relations is also important. The ANC`s party-to-party relations should also facilitate contact at the level of mass formations, around a range of issues like gender relations, environment, peace and other sectoral non-governmental issues. In order to realise our objectives of developing strategic party-to-party relations, there needs to be a closer working relationship between ANC structures and government structures on matters of international policy. This also requires that debate and discussion on international policy be expanded to cover our entire organisation, the tripartite alliance and the broad democratic movement.
Much more importantly, never in the history of the struggles of the African people, and people of the South in general have we needed solidarity based on forging a common agenda around the strategic objective of achieving an equitable world order. But what does solidarity entail? Solidarity entails strengthening bonds for action even in instances where they seem not to be of immediate benefit to “national interest”. Such solidarity is based on a longer term strategy that is, in fact, in the national interest. In realising our international objectives requires alliances that might have immediate benefit and those that are not immediate. Therefore, the ANC as a political movement, has a critical role to play in cementing solidarity amongst the progressive forces in the world based on the principles of anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and a democratic world order.
These objectives should not only inform party-to-party relations but should also inform our goals in the transformation of state structures in general and the Department of Foreign Affairs in particular.