South Africa's Foreign Affairs Goes Missing in Action in the 2019 Election

The Electoral Commission of South Africa's Twitter page on May 6, 2019.
analysis

Both candidates and parties have given short shrift to explaining their positions on South Africa's crucial foreign and international economic policies, in the about-to-wrap-up national election. But these issues are too important to be left to a couple of lines in the parties' respective manifestos. At the same time, however, the media may have let them all off far too lightly to address the needs of voters. There is a better way.

During much of this current election campaign in South Africa for the national and provincial legislatures -- and, therefore, for the presidency -- it almost seems as if this campaign had been fought in Samuel Butler's mythic Erewhon, Jonathan Swift's cloud land of Laputa of Gulliver's Travels, or in the land portrayed in those ancient Arab/Persian tales about the mysterious, distant island of Serendip.

This has been instead of the basic truth that South Africa is inextricably tied to the world's economic, financial and political networks. A stable, growing global economy benefits South Africa, even as political and security instability, economic upheavals and a troubled global financial system can put paid to gaining much -- or any -- progress in meeting South Africa's pressing national needs.

And yet...

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