Disengagement From Southwest Africa: Prospects For Peace In Angola And Namibia

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Disengagement From Southwest Africa: Prospects For Peace In Angola And Namibia

Edited by Owen Ellison Kahn
Transaction, 1991
256 pp. $39.95
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This book brings together papers presented at a December 1988 conference on the Angolan-Namibian negotiations that were then moving toward their conclusion. While the book's contributors can be forgiven their lack of inside information-what really happened in the battle for Cuito Cuanavale, for example, or how the actual peace negotiations progressed-the heavily overlapping papers mainly recycle media information, spiced in some cases with vague speculation and flagrant political biases. We learn that there was "a peaceful transfer of power" in Namibia, which would surprise most Namibians who survived the long independence war, and that UNITA's headquarters was in Jamba, although the book's map of Angola fails to show it. But we learn little new about what determined the foreign policies of the participant governments. Angola's government gets only passing mention, as does the history of the American role in the carnage. The most informative piece is by Vernon Aspaturian, who traces in interesting detail the Soviet Union's evolving calculations regarding Third World conflicts.