Africa’s Super Power – Paul L Moorcraft
South Africa is not a gazelle in a world of lions; in African terms it is a superpower. Nevertheless the chairborne warriors at the United Nations have been predicting for years that an imminent black Armageddon would stride down from the north and seize the men in Pretoria by the throat. These UN experts are often wrong, but never are they in doubt. Recently some Western nations have begun to doubt the collective wisdom of the rowdy UN General Assembly. The election of the Reagan administration, for example, reflected a hardening mood in the USA. Americans are traditionally a tolerant people; it is said that even the inventor of the jukebox died a natural death there. In a rare sunburst of understanding Washington has also realised that it must fight to prevent the unnatural demise of the Western way of life. Yet despite South Africa’s economic and military virility, the country’s racial system precludes it from official membership of the Western defence community.
Diplomatic isolation is uncomfortable. And just like the rest of this continent of nationalism without nations, the Republic suffers from internal dissension. It is a microcosm of the racial and cultural divisions which infest this small planet. Initially, the whites in South Africa squabbled and fought a series of bitter wars. Some of these old hurts still linger: when the government department dealing with ‘Bantu Affairs’ was renamed `Plural Relations’, a white English-speaker complained that she had lost her job because of her inability to `praat die taal’. She said: `I’ve had enough of these bloody plural relations. What about us poor singulars, then?’
Because of world hostility nearly all the whites in the Republic are starting to feel like `poor singulars’, especially as South Africa now stands bereft of allies. Because the world snubs them, the descendants of those who fought at Majuba and Mafeking are now prepared to stand side by side, despite the old, and sometimes not-so-old, antagonisms. Just as before the Boer War, likewise today, white South Africans will not surrender to world pressure and thus negotiate their own destruction. They will not commit certain suicide to avoid the threat of murder.
None of South Africa’s peoples will submit to foreign diktat; they would prefer to parley so as to work out their own destiny. It is the task of the Republic’s armed forces to ensure that South Africa has the time to chart its own course to the satisfaction of each community. So long as the political leaders of all colours do not waste their fast-ebbing opportunities, the strength of the South African Defence Force (SADF) can guarantee the security of the state. Without that protection no compromise can prevail. It would be like trying to clap with one hand. In this interim period of change, the SADF is the guarantor of stability. This book provides a pictorial insight into the threats looming over South Africa and the powerful machine ready to repel them. It is relatively easy to display wealth and weaponry, but what is far more important is the will to resist external encroachment. Outside intervention is likely to galvanise that intangible quality.
As Foreign Minister Pik Botha once said: It is easy to underestimate the power of the dynamics of faith in your own cause.’ If South Africa’s enemies do underestimate that dynamic, they will do so at their own peril.
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