Norms in International Relations: The Struggle Against Apartheid

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Norms in International Relations: The Struggle Against Apartheid

By Audie Klotz
Cornell University Press, 1995
183 pp. $29.95

To say that interests do not determine foreign policies would be heretical, but what defines interests? Set alongside strategic and economic concerns, what weight, if any, should be given to upholding moral principles when these conflict with the pursuit of more standard foreign policy objectives? Examining the anti-apartheid cause as a case where a moral norm took on a coercive and socializing force in its own right, this study challenges established realist approaches by looking at how and why many countries defied conventional policymaking patterns in adopting sanctions against South Africa. Separate chapters review the policies of three multilateral associations (the United Nations, the Commonwealth, and the Organization of African Unity) and three governments that fashioned responses to sanctions pressures (the United States, Britain, and Zimbabwe). While the author's belabored attempts to discredit "conventional" theory are not wholly convincing, she does build a persuasive argument that in the South African case the moral principle of racial equality influenced policy on a different, often conflicting, level from economic and strategic factors.

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