Cultural Revolutions

"Fundamental Human Rights"

South Africa has been unable to deflect interference with its exercise of sovereign rights within its own borders. Other states have declared that racial discrimination as practiced in South Africa is such an egregious offense against "fundamental human rights" that interference is required, and since the Carter administration, the United States has relentlessly asserted that South Africa could best be understood through the prism of human rights. This same guiding principle was reasserted during the second Reagan administration. Over the past decade, America has increasingly criticized South Africa for claiming the sovereign right to project itself by striking the havens of armed opponents across its borders. South Africa has been said to be internationalizing apartheid by attacking black-ruled regional states such as Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Zambia.

Yet for at least the past two decades, and often quietly, South Africa has been reinforcing its international sovereignty and credibility by participating in a number of important development projects to assist other African states. Pretoria's Africa-centered approach was confirmed in New York City on December 22, 1988, when it joined Cuba and Angola's MPLA party in signing the Tripartite Agreement to provide for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Angola and for "internationally acceptable" independence in neighboring South West Africa/ Namibia.


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