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  • Southern Africa and American PrioritiesAuthor(s): George ShepherdSource: Africa Today, Vol. 14, No. 5, American Policy in Southern Africa (Oct., 1967), pp. 1-2Published by: Indiana University PressStable URL: .Accessed: 16/06/2014 06:44

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    "Southern Africa & American Priorities" - 1 George Shepherd

    "The East African Community" _ _ __ 2 Sheldon Weeks

    "Lesotho and Botswana: Challenge to American Policy - -4

    Richard Stevens


    "Southern Africa and United States Policy: A consideration of Alternatives" - _ - - _ 5

    John Marcum

    "United, States Policy Toward the Rhodesian, Rebellion" --14

    Leo Cefkin

    "South Africa and the Future: Illusion and Necessity" 18

    Christian P. Potholm

    "Re-Thinking the Rail Link" 22 from BUSINESS and ECONOMY of Central and E. Africa


    "Nigerian Novels of 1966"-Bernth Lindfors _ - 27


    Southwest African Terrorism Trial - - 33

    Methodists Vote Sanctions on South Africa ---33

    U.S. Army Makes Large South African Purchase __33

    South West Africa Council Installed - -33

    Zambian Literary Society _ - --- 33

    Academic Notes 33


    Succession to High Office, edited by Jack Goody _ 34

    Promoting Economic Development, With Illustrations from Kenya, Jacob Oser _ 34

    African Writing Today, edited by Ezekiel Mphahlele 34

    Africa, A New Geographic Survey, Alan B. Mountjoy and Clifford Embleton - - - --35


    The Biafra Secession ------- 35

    Copyright 1967, Africa Today Associates, c/o Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver, University Park Campus, Denver, Colorado 80210


    Southern Africa and

    I ~~~American Priorities

    The failures of the Western world in decolonization have, since 1950, been the ma- jor source of conflict for the United States. From Korea to Vietnam and the Congo we have been involved in crises and wars that have not been simply precipitated by "Commiunist aggression" but have been, in large measure, created out of the rotten core of a Colonial system that failed in transition. Circumstances have varied but con- sistently the United States has felt compelled to enter these areas with force after our Western Allies have reached the end of their resources and have withdrawn their con- trol of the situation. At this point it has usually been too late to create order out of the chaos by peaceful means.

    The experience of nearly twenty years of conflict might have taught the United States that it is from this source that we experience our greatest danger. However, we have never adopted priorities in policy-making that reflect such uinderstanding.

    Southern Africa is far down the list of priori- ties in the Johnson Administration and seems to be slipping further each year. During the first two years of the Kennedy Administration there was some hope of vigorous readjustment of priorities in favor of the decolonization problems

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  • of Africa. In the last months of his Administra- tion, President Kennedy is said to have been con- sidering a review of our relations with South Africa. All of these promising beginnings were blasted into the dust in Dallas and the United States reverted to its earlier pattern.

    Rupert Emerson, in his recent book on Africa and the United States Policy, points out Africa is low on the priority scale for two basic reasons: first, Africa is not regarded by policy-makers as a major area of confrontation with communism at the present time. Secondly, the United States expects the former and existing colonial powers to play the major role of external influence. The United States sees its role as primarily suppor- tive rather than leadership. Therefore where we cannot directly play a supporting role, as with Portugal, we at least do not interfere.

    This assumption that the former and present Colonial powers will be able to provide an ac- ceptably smooth transition from dependence to self-government in Southern Africa is mere wish- ful thinking unsubstantiated by any real evidence. The articles in this, issue point out the numerous danger signals flashing in Southern Africa. The prospect that the United States will be involved in not one but a series of military rescue missions to extricate the remnants of European colonialism has risen almost to a point of certainty if present policies are continued.

    America is not sympathetic to white supre- macy or Portuguese colonialism nor is our diffi- culty that we have huge interests in Southern Africa to protect, or that American security is directly threatened by revolutionary nationalism or communism. Our basic error arises when com- munist influences infiltrate revolutionary nation- alism and we are then persuaded that we can provide a democratic alternative to chaos and' communism by supporting existing regimes. This was our initial eror in Vietnam and it is increas- ingly likely we will repeat it in Southern Africa.

    When we opted for the French over the

    Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1946 and sup- ported their reconquest of Vietnam we made a mistake fortunately not yet fully duplicated in Southern Africa. There is still time in Southern Africa to initiate programs that can bring a toler- able if not peaceful transition. This does not entail simply doing what the African nationalists urge us to do, although it is important to gain their respect.

    There are numerous positive alternatives open to the United States. Many of these are outlined in the following articles. John Marcum makes a strong case for military and economic, cultural and diplomatic disengagement from South Africa. Leo Cefkin sketches the history of the Rhodesian rebellion and proposes a stronger attempt by the United States to enforce its sanctions against those nations which are undercutting it. All the authors agree on the need for a more honest and effective American leadership in the area. How- ever, a common note is the realization that we cannot liberate Southern Africa. This will have to be done by the Africans themselves. But the U.S. can help greatly first by withdrawing the support presently given to white supremacy systems and secondly by helping to train and equip the African movements and leaders who will eventually take over in Southern Africa.

    The debate over our Southern African policy- has tended to polarize between the idealists who plead for an all-out use of power by the West to bring the reactionary white supremacists to heel and the realists who argue from the stand- point of security and "kinship-solidarity" against. turning Southern Africa over to incompetence- and pro-Communist leaders.

    The time has come to demonstrate the other hopeful options that are within the limits of American policy, provided we are willing to give Africa the priority it should have and exercise the? leadership we are capable of undertaking.

    George Shepherd

    The East African Community To many Americans Africa is a game reserve

    and continent of eternal chaos. Things continually fall apart. When things are going well, progress is made, and major steps are taken, few hear about it. One example was the June 6, 1967 Treaty signed in Kampala by the Heads of State of Ugan- da, Kenya, and Tanzania, creating an East Afri- can Community. Ignorant of this Treaty reporters still write about East Africa as a place where unity did exist, but where "unity is disintegrat- ing". The opposite is the case. President Jomo Kenyatta has referred to the Treaty as "one of the most advanced stages of co-operation between sovereign states anywhere in the world".

    The document is also remarkable for another reason: Kenya has made dramatic concessions to her two neighbors, meeting their criticisms of Kenya's favored economic position in East Africa

    and making possible new levels of cooperation. The capital of the East African Community will move from Nairobi (where EACSO, the old East African Common Services Organization has been based) to Arusha in Tanzania. The headquarters for the East African Posts and Telecommunica- tions will move from Nairobi to Kampala. 'Har- bours Services' is separated from 'Railways' and moves to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Headquar- ters for Services on Lake Nyanza will move fromr Kisumu to Mwanza. Nairobi will keep the head- quarters of the Railways and the East African Airways, though the servicing of piston planes. will move to Entebbe. The new Community will be governed by an East African Assembly, re-- placing the old Central Legislative Assembly. Most importantly, a new East African Develop) ment Bank has been created which will be based


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    Article Contentsp. [1]p. 2

    Issue Table of ContentsAfrica Today, Vol. 14, No. 5, American Policy in Southern Africa (Oct., 1967), pp. 1-36Front Matter [pp. 32-32]Washington Memo [pp. 24-26]CommentariesSouthern Africa and American Priorities [pp. 1-2]The East African Community [pp. 2-3]Lesotho and Botswana: Challenge to American Policy [p. 4]

    Southern Africa and United States Policy: A Consideration of Alternatives [pp. 5-13]United States Policy toward the Rhodesia Rebellion [pp. 14-17]South Africa and the Future: Illusion and Necessity [pp. 18-22]Rethinking the Rail Link [pp. 22-24]LiteraryNigerian Novels of 1966 [pp. 27-31]

    Action Notes [p. 33]Book ReviewsReview: untitled [p. 34]Review: untitled [p. 34]Review: untitled [pp. 34-35]Review: untitled [p. 35]

    Letter to the EditorThe Biafra Secession [pp. 35-36]


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