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A ‘free’ South Africa in a Cold War scenario, the stuff of 20th century nightmares

Thy will be done: Vladimir Putin at an Orthodox Easter service. (fake images)

WWith the US now accusing South Africa of supplying Russia with munitions, we have officially been thrown into something comparable to the Cold War scenario of the mid to late 20th century. Many African nations that gained their independence after World War II were thrown into this world, where he was forced to decide whether he was with the West or with the communists in the East.

Communism may be its lowest point, but there is still a choice that will have to be made.

For most African nations in the latter part of the 20th century, this game was not beneficial. At worst, proxy wars were fought on the ground when governments and rebel movements were funded by either of two opposing worlds. Congo lost a revolutionary hero and its first democratically elected president in Patrice Lumumba in this war for influence over the richest piece of land, and found itself with a murderous regime from the Western-backed dictator in Mobutu Sese Seko. Our close neighbors in Angola and Mozambique were torn apart in their respective wars during the Cold War era. Will we ever really know the true human cost to the African continent of the settlements after the end of the two world wars?

If there is one thing I could point to as possibly advantageous in our delayed freedom (which comes 37 years after Ghana’s independence), it is that South Africa entered a global arena where the Cold War was “supposedly” over. Capitalism, democratic norms had won the moral argument. China had embraced the former, while Russia, at least on the surface, embraced both. In practice, it meant that this new government led by a black majority in Africa would not be a pawn between Washington and Moscow, but would instead have some sovereignty (as long as it stuck to free market rules and didn’t go on too long). entrenched interests) to begin charting its course. Nelson Mandela’s criticism of George Bush’s war in Iraq is proof of this.

The argument was so well established in the early 1990s that American political scientist Francis Fukuyama wrote the 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man, a book in which he argued that with the rise of the West and the dissolution of the Soviet Union Union, humanity had arrived “…not only at the end of a particular period of postwar history, but at the end of history as such.”

How wrong you have been shown to be; The West (at least the baby boom generation) has rejected globalization through decisions like Brexit and the continued relevance of former US President Donald Trump. While embracing capitalism, China has eschewed democratic norms and Xi Jinping will become that country’s longest-serving leader since Chairman Mao.

Russia has Vladimir Putin, who by starting a war with Ukraine in 2014 began to reignite tensions and mistrust of yesteryear. It seems we are back in a bipolar world, a world in which this now dysfunctional ANC has never ruled. The choice for men like ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula is between the US-led West and the East, which is led economically and politically by China, but with Russia demanding a leading role. We couldn’t be in better hands.

South Africa, as one of the most industrialized emerging market nations and with its highly liquid currency in the rand, will come under increasing pressure to take a position. The weakness of the rand this week is proof of this. Its decline, and if it continues, will only add more pressure on us as consumers, while exporters will smile in the short term when their products are priced in dollars. In the medium and long term, mining companies and our other exporters will feel the pressure of a weak currency as the cost of the machinery they import will continue to rise.

This is the pressure that is being brought to bear now, and it will only get worse in the coming weeks and months as we await the arrival of the Russian Tsar. Our sovereignty will be put to the test.

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