Strategic Review for Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth

Strategic Review For Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth-Free PDF

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Strategic Review for Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth le Pere. is a highly significant document because it represents the first time since. South Africa s transition to democracy in 1994 that a strategic road map. in the form of this White Paper has been produced to shape the prin. ciples and practice of its foreign policy into the future The document. thus provides the substantive normative and conceptual parameters. to guide South Africa s diplomacy on the basis of the people oriented. philosophy of Ubuntu and Batho Pele, Beginning in 1996 a variety of ad hoc policy documents were. produced which had a bearing on the general conversation about the. scope and domain of South Africa s expanding range of foreign policy. challenges However the White Paper is the first consolidated attempt. to develop an official and formal policy template that provides a vision. for the country s foreign policy informed by the path it has travelled on. the road to liberation and since then after its democratic transition Quite. crucially it is also a highly aspirational and philosophical statement of. what the country hopes to achieve under the institutional and diplomatic. custodianship of the Department of International Relations and Coopera. tion DIRCO, The White Paper thus offers an analytical opportunity to assess. South Africa s success or otherwise as a nation brand since in many. ways this brand embodies an ecosystem that has both shaped and. determined the political and social construction of its international. image and identity At a fundamental level South Africa s nation brand. in foreign policy is deeply rooted in the ethos of its liberation from apart. heid rule and the nature of its transition to democracy This takes on. added significance since there were dour predictions of a racial civil war. and harbingers of an apocalyptic future given the seeming intractability. of apartheid rule And therefore its complex but ultimately successful. transition was rightfully extolled as one of the most extraordinary polit. ical transformations of the twentieth century Financial Times 18 July. 1994 This attribute has become a critical constituent element of South. Africa s branding ecosystem and is best captured in the metaphor of. the Rainbow Nation, It is for these reasons that the Foreword of the White Paper em. phasises the importance of Pan Africanism and South South solidarity. as anchors of the country s international engagements since both were. formative influences in its liberation trajectory These influences are. complemented by other foundational norms of South Africa s foreign. Strategic Review for Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth le Pere. Moreover the project of Building a Better World is very much predic. ated on South Africa s quest to be a winning nation in the 21st century. for the development and upliftment of our people White Paper 2011 3. Importantly the publication of the White Paper and its goals and. aspirations have to be located against the backdrop of an increasingly. fractious and uncertain global order marked by contradictory tendencies. and impulses The promise of cosmopolitan globalisation in providing. the integrative gravitational pull of prosperity for all has been fatally un. dermined by the difficult imponderables after 11 September 2001 which. irrevocably altered the security complex of international relations The. one offers a busy portrait of onrushing economic technological and. ecological forces that demand integration and uniformity while the. other dooms us to the grim prospect of a retribalisation of large swaths. of humankind by war and bloodshed Barber 1995 4, It is in this struggle between the universal and parochial as it. were that the White Paper establishes a basis for South Africa s defini. tion of who it is as a country and a society and how it ought to relate to. other countries and societies under the philosophical and normative. remits of Ubuntu and Batho Pele These are profoundly grounded in a. universal moral teleology which is reflected in the idea that we affirm. our humanity when we affirm the humanity of others White Paper. 2011 4 As part of its own nation building and democratic transforma. tion process the White Paper underscores the importance of meeting. international expectations for South Africa to play a leading role in. championing the values of human rights democracy reconciliation and. the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment White Paper 2011. 4 This calling represents South Africa s quintessential national interest. However this article argues that the values and virtues of Ubuntu. and Batho Pele have been poorly served and executed in South. Africa s foreign policy if viewed through the prism of an imaging and. branding exercise While obviously a broader problem and dilemma for. the African National Congress ANC led government we cannot dis. count DIRCO s culpability especially its troubled institutional profile its. weak managerial and political leadership and its human and analytical. Strategic Review for Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth le Pere. constraints This problematic profile of DIRCO is even more worrisome. in view of projecting itself in the White Paper as the principal adviser. on foreign policy and lead coordinator and manager of South Africa s. international relations and cooperation White Paper 2011 9. In any event the first draft of the chapter dealing with foreign. policy in the National Development Plan released in June 2011 pro. vided a critical but fair diagnostic assessment about South Africa s. global image and stature The main points were that its diplomatic ca. pacity was over, material losses in bargaining power and had lost trade and investment.
opportunities not only in Africa but more broadly, Even though the chapter was withdrawn and subsequently re. vised ostensibly following protest and dissent by the DIRCO Minister. Maite Nkoana Mashabane the initial diagnosis was suggestive of a. country whose moral and political currency was depreciating This de. preciation in the author s view has become even more pronounced. and evident since 2009 under the Presidency of Jacob Zuma The per. ception and reality has gathered pace of a new ruling aristocracy more. concerned with the trappings of power self enrichment and wealth ac. cumulation This has become a creeping cancer that has undermined. the very substance and neutrality of public power The ANC govern. ment finds itself at an intersection where the majority of South Africans. feel that their hopes and aspirations for a better life have been betrayed. exacerbated by growing social alienation anger and discontent among. the country s poor and marginalised Reddy 2010 These impressions. were reinforced by the outcome of the local government elections in. August 2016 which in a sense was a referendum on the ANC s moral. authority to govern South Africa a gain that was painstakingly engin. eered since its establishment in 1910, Because of the growing cynicism and despair fuelled by the. Zuma Presidency this article argues that there has been a drift away. from the ethical foundations of South Africa s foreign policy into a crude. instrumentalism characterised by diplomatic ceremonialism and unprin. cipled pragmatism This drift accords more with public relations and. marketing imperatives than with the normative internationalism which. has shaped South Africa s foreign policy and nation brand since 1994. We would do well to remember that since 1994 South Africa has pur. Strategic Review for Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth le Pere. sued an activist foreign policy informed by the historical antecedents in. the struggle against apartheid This was rooted in a strong moral con. vergence in its beliefs and ethical compatibility in its behaviour with re. gard to the promotion of human rights democracy solidarity politics. and its own developmental needs see le Pere 2014, In this manner South Africa was able to meet the successful. branding conditions of credibility uniqueness and evidence based on. three axiomatic considerations a relatively peaceful negotiated transi. actor under President Mbeki In essence these were the vectors that. provided South Africa with vast reserves to act and behave as a norm. entrepreneur in international relations As a consequence the country. was able to exercise considerable regional and global influence quite. disproportionate to its population size material capabilities and geo. weight Geldenhuys 2006,2 Nation brand and image Conceptual. These qualities and attributes are consistent with a historically grounded. strong and positive nation brand and image which South Africa has. enjoyed on the global stage until its recent decline and erosion under. President Zuma We should recall that South Africa s transition to. democracy was more or less coterminous with tumultuous changes. and tectonic shifts in international relations characterised by the end of. the Cold War and the onset of globalisation Not only was this a politic. ally insecure and uncertain environment but it was also economically. highly competitive Nel Taylor and van der Westhuizen 2001. The challenges confronting South Africa were well articulated by. President Mbeki when he addressed the National Assembly on 13 June. At the centre of all our multilateral engagements is the critical ques. tion of our time of how humanity should respond to the irreversible. process of globalisation while addressing the fundamental changes. that face the bulk of humanity These include poverty underdevelop. ment the growing North South gap racism xenophobia gender. Strategic Review for Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth le Pere. discrimination ill health violent conflicts and the threat to the en. vironment Mbeki 2000, Mbeki was articulating a version of moral universalism and how these.
challenges could be embedded in the anatomy of South foreign policy. it is these shared challenges rather than some utopian notion of the. good life that dissolves pernicious distinctions between insiders and. outsiders Linklater 2007 23 Indeed South Africa s avowed commit. ment to robust multilateralism and international activism to address. such challenges have helped to frame its nation brand and image in a. highly competitive and volatile global environment. South Africa s nation brand and image and hence its global. reputation have thus benefited greatly from a propitious set of con. junctural factors Most critically these relate to the struggle against apart. heid the nature of its democratic transition a social contract founded on. constitutional rule and an embracing and hospitable international. milieu These were the foundational factors which provided the impetus. for a successful nation brand and image under Rainbowism that was. quite unlike branding any product or service No dazzling advertising or. marketing campaign could have assisted the country to achieve such. hallowed status in international relations Typically countries go through. long and rich histories some peaceful and others convulsive that shape. the collective consciousness and cognitive maps of citizens at home. and people abroad see Tilly 1990 At the same time and willy nilly. with due regard to their economic power political system military. strength religious and cultural affinities and geographic location. countries are located in an international hierarchy in a manner that. shapes and informs their nation brand and image, According to Anholt and as far as this hierarchical taxonomy. goes in order for a country to change its nation brand and image it will. have to change its behaviour on the global stage It is the past and. current behaviour of the nation region or city or its lack of behaviour. that creates its reputation almost every place on Earth gets the. image it deserves and imagining that one can change the image of the. place without changing the way one behaves is simply na ve Anholt. However while image and identity share a relational logic in. branding theory there is a paradoxical gap between brand identity and. brand image Brand identity refers to what something truly is whereas. Strategic Review for Southern Africa Vol 39 No 1 Garth le Pere. the image refers to how something is perceived Anholt 2007 42 For. example and in the aftermath 11 September 2001 many Americans. asked Why do they hate us No branding campaign would have. helped the United States US deal with this serious perception deficit. since the problem was not so much about its values but the deep dis. satisfaction about American unilateralism the divide between rich and. poor growing racial division intolerance towards immigrants and. human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay In short the US was per. ceived precisely as it was through ontological lenses. For Anholt a country must change its actions in order to change. its brand and identity on the global stage Anholt 2007 Therefore a. country cannot communicate an image of itself that does not accord. with its nation brand and identity The image of a country must be con. in other words it has to live its nation brand and identity As part of this. formula the values which a country wishes to communicate must be. the values that are grounded in its identity This is what Anholt has called. a competitive identity The basic theory behind Competitive Identit. THE AMBIGUITIES OF SOUTH AFRICA S BRAND IMAGE AND IDENTITY Garth le Pere Department of Political Sciences University of Pretoria and Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection South Africa Abstract South Africa s 2011 White Paper on foreign policy Building a Better World is predicated on the far reaching ambition of how Ubuntu

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