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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Regional security in southern Africa in the 1990s: challenging the terms of the neo-realist debate
Authors:Vale, PeterISNI
Daniel, JohnISNI
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Geographic terms:Southern Africa
South Africa
Subjects:regional security
defence industry
arms trade
External link:http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/africanjournals/html/itemdetail.cfm?recordID=623
Abstract:The debates which shape current security policy in southern Africa reside in a corps of neo-realist thinkers who are mostly, though not exclusively, associated with the Institute for Defence Policy (IDP), established in 1991. The 'new' thinking rests largely on four closely linked understandings of international society beyond the Cold War. 1) Defence is an integral part of the life of a nation; 2) South Africa's defence capability is enhanced by the country's armaments industry; 3) southern Africa itself is a source of support for the further consolidation of South Africa's industrial-military complex; 4) security forces are important vehicles in the overall process of nation building in South Africa. The authors criticize this neo-realist view. One of its weaknesses lies in the fact that the intellectual and political gaps which are apparent in its approach to South Africa's place in the world are not questioned. The obvious point that exporting (or procuring) arms may add to existing insecurity is missed. Also missed is the point that South Africa's economy and industrial base would be strengthened at the expense of her neighbours. To transform the region into a zone of peace a political agenda of reconciliation and nonhegemonic engagement must fill the policy space occupied by the dark and destructive fantasies of the neo-realists. Bibliogr., note, ref.