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Schrire: South Africa's Foreign Policy

Interviewee: Robert Schrire
Interviewer: Stephanie Hanson
November 16, 2007

South Africa is considered to be a leader on the African continent, but it has been criticized for its stance on Zimbabwe and some human rights issues. Robert Schrire, head of the political science department at the University of Cape Town, discusses South Africa's foreign policy under President Thabo Mbeki. The president struggles to balance pragmatic concerns with the maintenance of South Africa's global image, he says. Though South Africa wants investment from countries such as the United States, it resents the U.S. role as a global superpower. Schrire argues that this perspective explains some of South Africa's controversial actions at the United Nations this year. On Zimbabwe, he suggests that Mbeki both dislikes the opposition party and is not sure how to effectively influence Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Finally, Schrire says that after Mbeki leaves office, there will likely be a "depersonalization" of South African foreign policy and a turn to domestic issues such as social inequality and HIV/AIDS.

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