from Africa in Transition

U.S.-South Africa Cooperation

May 7, 2012

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Earlier this spring, the Stanley Foundation and the University of Pretoria jointly sponsored a dialogue on South Africa-United States cooperation. Sixteen participants (including myself) from South Africa, the United States, and Canada attended. While the conversation was governed by Chatham House rules, a summary of the discussion and principal conclusions, signed by the participants, has now been published.

High points were our consensus that UN Security Council reform is imperative if it is to retain its legitimacy. However, there was extensive discussion of the difficulties to overcome, not least the lack of international consensus on the size and composition of a reformed council. With respect to international financial institutions and an eye toward the impending selection of a World Bank president, participants also agreed that the leadership process should be merit based and no longer the exclusive purview of Europe and the United States.

There was also a clear-eyed discussion over divergences between the foreign policies of the United States and South Africa based on history and differing national priorities. In this context, the conversation focused on Libya, Iran, nuclear disarmament, and Responsibility to Protect (R2P).

In my view, the conference advanced the bilateral conversation between two multiracial democracies with respect to their differing leadership roles on the world stage. Given the solid foundation for more cooperation, clearly more such dialogue would be beneficial.

Read the summary here.

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