Paying the price for recognition

2012-06-23 14:18

South Africa’s decision to contribute to the firewall that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is preparing if the eurozone comes crashing down needs to be commended.

We are not handing over a pot filled with two billion one-dollar bills, we are simply committing ourselves to be ready to help if the euro crashes.

Many, including Cosatu, say no. The IMF should be lending us the money they say.

But this is the price for international recognition and influence.

Why has the United States been the dominating world power since the Second World War?

It stepped up when needed, and helped where it could.

Of course, like the United States, South Africa made this decision with a firm eye on its self-interest.

If Europe goes down, we will not be left unaffected.

We trade more with Europe than with any other continent.

Pledging money to the firewall is a gesture that shows the world we are ready to take on the responsibility that comes with influence.

But we won’t go beyond our means.

We cannot match the contributions by our Brics partners.

China gave a whopping $43 billion.

We are not trying to keep up with the Joneses; we are showing we live in the same neighbourhood as they do.

And we will demand the same respect that they do.

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