Africa Notes: Destabilization and Dialogue: South Africa's Emergence as a Regional Superpower - April 1984

  • Apr 17, 1984

    Dialogue, if not eternal friendship, is suddenly the name of the game in southern Africa. And just as South Africans not so long ago were doing most of the fighting, now they are doing most of the talking. A South African-Mozambican "nonaggression and good neighborliness" accord has been signed. South African and Zimbabwean officials deal regularly and amicably on security and economic matters, although Harare has thus far declined to upgrade the relationship to ministerial level. South African and Angolan military personnel are jointly monitoring the former's pledged withdrawal from southern Angola, an exercise that has already involved some jointly administered punishment of recalcitrant South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) guerrillas. South African military intelligence has met with senior SWAPO leaders at least once. And there are reports from Western diplomatic sources (unconfirmed by the parties involved) that South African officials have met with top exile leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) in Lusaka. The pivotal questions are why, how far will it go, and do we stand on the brink of a new era of stability and cooperation or is this merely a breathing space before the next round of regional violence?