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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The right place at the right time, or the right person in the right place? Determinants of South African Defence Minister influence on foreign policy
Author:Siko, JohnISNI
Periodical:African Security Review (ISSN 2154-0128)
Geographic term:South Africa
civil-military relations
foreign policy
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10246029.2012.654804
Abstract:South Africa's military has, since the First World War, been an oft-used and effective tool in the conduct of South African foreign policy, but this role has not always translated into power for Defence Department principals in its formulation. South African Defence Ministers for most of the country's history have played a minor role in the making of foreign policy; despite a change in this dynamic between approximately 1975-1990, the post-apartheid era has once again seen a diminishment of Defence's power in this arena. This article examines why Defence Ministers have generally been such weak players, with an eye toward disaggregating whether this was a product of interpersonal relationships with Cabinet and - most importantly - the Head of State, or whether this influence (or lack thereof) was more a function of South Africa's international standing. While determining who has influence on this process is difficult given the primacy of the national leader in making foreign policy and a lack of insider accounts by participants in the process, the article relies upon several interviews with participants and knowledgeable observers that help illuminate the process and Defence's role in it. Ref., sum. [Journal abstract]