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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The GDR (German Democratic Republic (East Germany)) in Africa: A Gradual Disengagement?
Author:Winrow, Gareth M.
Periodical:Afrika Spectrum
Geographic terms:East Germany
Subjects:foreign policy
international relations
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Abstract:Since the early 1950s Africa has been an important element in the foreign policy of the GDR. Initially targeted by an East German regime desperate to secure international recognition, in later years Honecker maintained an active involvement there, particularly in the military/security sphere, as part of a strategy of affiliation with the Soviet Union. But Honecker's 'Afrikapolitik' was incompatible with the New Political Thinking espoused by Gorbachev. For example, the new Soviet leader's emphasis on the peaceful resolution of regional conflicts in the Third World, if successful, would have made effectively redundant the role of the East German military advisors and technicians in several African States. Honecker may have hoped that continued instability in southern Africa and the Horn would have enabled the GDR to continue to play an important role for the Soviet Union on the continent. But the post-Honecker leadership, eager for Gorbachev's support in their domestic crisis, appear more willing to follow to the letter the application of the New Political Thinking to the Third World. Since there is still considerable instability in southern Africa and the Horn, it would appear that neither the Soviet Union nor the GDR will seek to disengage completely from Africa for some time until peace is guaranteed and past obligations fully discharged. Notes, ref., sum. in German and French.