Legum, CoIin
July 1976
Foreign Affairs;Jul1976, Vol. 54 Issue 4, p745
The root of the conflict in Southern Africa is entirely indigenous that is, it arises from the determination of black Africans to bring an end to the white supremacist regimes there. Most African leaders would much prefer, in their own interests, to see this come about through nonviolent means, as was demonstrated by their response in 1974 to the offer to start talks by South Africa's Prime Minister Johannes Vorster. They will, nonetheless, support violence if no other way seems open, as they do presently in Rhodesia. Similarly, most influential African leaders are hostile to communism and strongly opposed to the intrusion of big-power politics in Africa; but because they see white racism in southern Africa as a bigger menace to them than communism, they will welcome anti-Western forces in the struggle against the white supremacist regimes. Neither the Soviet Union nor China has had any conflicting interest or ideological difficulties in wholeheartedly supporting the African drive against white-minority rule. The Western position, on the other hand, has necessarily been more ambiguous, given a sizable western economic stake in the area and strong social constraints against the risk of a race war which guerrilla tactics would unavoidably entail.


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