In This Review

The United States and South Africa, 1968-1985: Constructive Engagement and Its Critics
The United States and South Africa, 1968-1985: Constructive Engagement and Its Critics
By Christopher Coker
327 pp, Duke University Press, 1986
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In this sophisticated and authoritative examination of the Nixon and Reagan Administration approaches to South Africa, extensive argumentation only partially masks a cri de coeur: constructive engagement, the author seems to feel, was an excellent strategy (if sometimes misapplied), but the times were never ripe for it. Despite his ambivalence about the big picture, Coker thoroughly recounts the main events and underlying rationales for policy initiatives. The chief lacuna is in his treatment of the Carter Administration (here viewed as a "critic" of constructive engagement), which is too summary to substantiate his harsh criticism.