"The storm of controversy that followed the announcement of South African arms sales to Syria in January 1997 raised a number of questions about South Africa's foreign policy and, specifically, its relations with the United States (US) and so-called "pariah" states. First, nearly three years after the advent of democracy, the strategic purpose of Pretoria's foreign policy appeared to vacillate between a principal concern over human rights, a need to offset the direction of apartheid South Africa's foreign relations, and a desire to pursue the national interest above all else. Second, a lack of clarity over the strategic purpose of South Africa's policy has, at times, led to a welter of confusing signals and opinions from government.Third, there appeared to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the goals and aspirations of US foreign policy, particularly with regard to third party relations with pariah states."