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The US, Europe and China must come first when it comes to the pursuit of alliances around the globe. Other regions such as Africa, Russia and Latin America can come second for now, writes Phumlani Majozi.
In his State of the Nation Address last week,
President Cyril Ramaphosa said "Now is the time to focus on implementation".
He was right – it is time for implementation. Implementation on everything –
mechanisms to grow our stagnant economy – and fixes to our foreign relations.
No talk now.
But what will matter the most, are
the elements of what will be implemented. If Ramaphosa's Cabinet goes ahead and
implements the ludicrous Nasrec resolutions – then South Africa is surely
doomed – and will never come back under the governance of the African National
Amongst the things that need to be thought through and
implemented by Ramaphosa's administration, is a strategic foreign policy that
will contribute to South Africa's prosperity over the long-term.
Over the past
ten years under the scandalous Jacob Zuma, South Africa's foreign policy hit
the bottom. Because of this reality, most of my previous commentary on News24 has
been focused on the shortcomings of South Africa's foreign policy.
departing from that habit. I will instead argue what I believe ought to be a
strategic approach to our foreign policy going forward.
along with his newly appointed top diplomat, Minister Naledi Pandor have to take
on a different path – that will reverse the reputational losses we saw under
Zuma. The anti-West stance we have seen
over the past years must be reversed urgently.
Beyond the idea
of a foreign policy that upholds human rights, we also need a well-crafted
strategy on international affairs. At the core of our strategy, and top of our
priority list, must be the ability to equally balance our relations with the United
States of America (US), Europe and China. I think other regions such as
Africa, Russia and Latin America can come second; at least for the next ten years.
Though there is
much progress to celebrate on Africa over the past thirty years, the fact is that
the continent remains dirt poor and politically dysfunctional.
Since the end
of the Cold War, Russia has been a weak and declining super-power. And it doesn't
look like Vladimir Putin will ever meaningfully reverse this decline – though
he's trying hard – even using wrongful tactics.
has been largely ruled by left-wing zealots over the past years – so it's still
trying to get its economic act together. And the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela is now likely contributing to the slow pace of
progress in that region.
It's on this
basis that I suggest these regions – Africa, Russia and Latin America – along
with the dangerous Middle East – be second on our foreign policy priority list.
The US, Europe and China must come first when it comes to the pursuit of
alliances and strong relations around the globe.
As a starting
point to this foreign policy approach focused on US, Europe and China it's crucial
for Ramaphosa to meet President Donald Trump of the US as soon as possible.
There has to be a renewed, reenergised, lively engagement with the world's
largest economy and military power – the US. This has been lacking – not just
under Trump – but even during the Obama years.
Things became worse
over the past three years, as Trump has been preoccupied by America's domestic
affairs, the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula.
also been swamped by the storms of our politics – the factional battles in the
ANC, the removal of Zuma as president of South Africa, and of course last May's
election. These events are now behind us – it is time to fix our relations with
Yes Europe is
divided and mired in political headwinds of its own – but it remains one of the
richest regions in the world. Our relations with Europeans need to be restored
and kept intact. We need European investments.
chosen to leave the European Union (EU) – which I think was the best decision by
the Brits. We should seek to have a mutually beneficial trade deal with Britain
after its departure from the EU. I see Brexit as an opportunity we should not
lose sight of.
The Chinese are
the world's next superpower and the engine of global economic growth. They are the
world's second largest economy, the world's most populous nation, and accounts
for more than 15% of global gross domestic product. Its burgeoning global
political clout is becoming more and more visible. So we have to maintain and
strengthen our relations with them. It's in our interest to cooperate with that
My view is that
a foreign policy marked by the reversal of our hostility towards the West, and a
reformation that continuously sharpens our relations with the US, Europe and
China, will be fundamental to our economic success in the tumultuous global
order of the 21st century.
It is Ramaphosa
and Pandor's opportunity to pursue such a foreign policy for the benefit of our
country and the restoration of our image around the world.
- Phumlani M. Majozi is a politics and
foreign affairs analyst, a senior fellow at AfricanLiberty.org, radio talk show
host, and non-executive director at Free Market Foundation South Africa. Views
expressed here are his own; not of the Free Market Foundation South Africa.
Follow him on Twitter: @PhumlaniMMajozi
Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.
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