The spy-plane controversy and the "new " foreign policy

This Brief Report describes South African and international reaction to the American spy-plane incident involving American aerial photography of South African installations. The international view is that the South African Government used the incident to draw attention away from the information scandal and to justify its suspicion of the American role in the Namibian negotiations. It illustrated South African’s worsening relations with the United States and reinforces a attitude of mistrust between South Africa and the West. The United States’ influence in Southern Africa has been reduced and the South African Government intends to adopt a more neutral posture towards the West. This disassociation may not be long term, since it has occurred before, and is a possible reaction to the policies of Western governments. On the issue of whether the new policy is temporary or longer term, the report raises various worrying questions for which there are no simple answers, but which cannot be overlooked. The interests of the South African people should be considered and foreign policy should not be determined by emotional considerations but by national interest.