South Africa's Foreign Policy: Tempering Dominance through Integration

"Southern Africa has always featured prominently in South Africa’s foreign policy. During apartheid, the National Party government saw fit to unleash a destructive agenda on neighbouring countries as an integral part of its strategy to quash support for the liberation movement. Since 1994, under a democratic dispensation, South Africa’s foreign policy has aspired towards greater regional integration. This has necessitated a more pacific re-orientation of policy. However, over the past 20 years South Africa’s leaders have struggled to rebuild trust because the country’s economic and political dominance looms large over its neighbours. The intersection between ‘trust-building’ and ‘dominance’ is where South Africa’s (sometimes clumsy) foreign policy is to be located. This is why this paper draws on the themes of ‘dominance’ and ‘integration’ to explain some of the findings emanating from a perceptions survey that the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) conducted in 2013."