Courtesy Reuters

South Africa's Face to the World

More than any other nation today, South Africa's foreign relations are linked indissolubly with the internal workings of its society. Maintaining the country's present degree of interdependence with European and American private enterprise depends on the preservation of an image of internal "stability." In addition, deflecting further international sanctions requires the muffling of Western anxieties about racial injustice and potential racial conflict. Thus the most important aspect of South Africa's foreign policy must be a public relations campaign directed toward the governments and citizens of the industrial democracies. The chief underlying theme of this propaganda campaign is the implicit alliance between white, Christian, democratic and anti-communist South Africa and the "free world."

For example, the South African government often appeals to Britons and Americans for support by arguing that: "We fought on the same side in World War II." In fact, the country's ruling National Party supported Nazi Germany in World War II. At that time the National Party was in opposition to the governing party of General Jan Smuts, and bitterly opposed South Africa's alignment with the Allies. The result was that Smuts was never able to commit all his forces to the war against Hitler, having to keep some of them at home to deal with the Nationalists and their fringe organizations.

Such effrontery is no surprise to those of us in South Africa who oppose apartheid, because we know that South Africa's external policy is based on tactics to ensure that the Western world will not probe its facade too deeply. Pretoria's campaign has two basic aims: (a) to obscure as far as possible the true nature of the apartheid regime, and (b) to present an external image of moderation and pragmatism.

A main theme on which Nationalist propaganda is based is that the 25 million people of South Africa do not constitute one nation but a number of "national units" each with its own language, culture and territory. The full absurdity of this is only apparent to those

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