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Superpower Cooperation in Southern Africa

  • Daniel R. Kempton

Abstract

The possibilities for superpower cooperation in any region are highly dependent on the importance of the region to each of the superpowers. However, determining a region’s significance to the superpowers is itself a serious and challenging task. The typical answer to this question points to the idiosyncrasies of the region being analyzed that give the region special or unique importance. In the case of southern Africa, this results in a now well-known litany. Southern Africa’s unique importance for the superpowers is attributable to three major features of the region. First and foremost, we must look to its mineral wealth. While southern Africa is a major source of numerous commercially significant minerals, the greatest attention is usually given to platinum, chromium, vanadium, and manganese, none of which is readily available elsewhere in the non-communist world. Additionally, neither the sheer financial lure of the deposits of gold and diamonds which account for much of South Africa’s financial success, nor the strategic importance of the uranium deposits which dot the region, can be easily ignored. Second, the coastal states of southern Africa border one of the world’s great sea transit routes, along which pass numerous military vessels and much of the Gulf states’ oil trade.

Keywords

Reagan Administration South African Government Economic Assistance Regional Conflict Soviet Bloc 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    For an excellent summary of US policy in southern Africa prior to 1975 consult Thomas J. Noer, Cold War and Black Liberation: The United States and White Rule in Africa, 1943–1968 (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    On the Kissinger study see Anthony Lake, The Tar Baby Option: American Policy Toward Southern Rhodesia (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976)Google Scholar
  3. Mohammed El-Khawas and Baring Cohen (eds), The Kissinger Study of Southern Africa (Westport, CT: Lawrence Hill, 1976).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    For an in depth discussion of Soviet strategy during the 1970s see Daniel R. Kempton, Soviet Strategy Toward Southern Africa: the National Liberation Connection (New York: Praeger, 1989), pp. 1–33.Google Scholar
  5. 15.
    John Marcum, ‘Bipolar Dependency: The People’s Republic of Angola’, in Michael Clough (ed.), Reassessing the Soviet Challenge in Africa (Berkeley, CA: University of California, Institute of International Studies, 1986), pp. 12–30.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    Stockwell and other CIA operatives covertly monitored the anti-MPLA forces as part of the US support effort; John Stockwell, In Search of the Enemy (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978).Google Scholar
  7. 26.
    David Martin and Phyllis Johnson, The Struggle for Zimbabwe (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1981), pp. 235–6.Google Scholar
  8. 28.
    Robert I. Rotberg, ‘South Africa and the Soviet Union: A Struggle for Primacy’, in Robert I. Rotberg et al. (eds), South Africa and its Neighbors: Regional Security and Self Interest (Lexington, MA: Lexington Press, 1985), pp. 55–67.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    For a thorough examination of South Africa’s policy of destabilization see Joseph Hanlon, Beggar Your Neighbors (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1986).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Roger E. Kanet and Edward A. Kolodziej 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel R. Kempton

There are no affiliations available

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