1st Edition

Disengagement from Southwest Africa Prospects for Peace in Angola and Namibia

By Sander L. Gilman, Owen Kahn Copyright 1991
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Gorbachev's new thinking on superpower relations assumes that struggle between two opposing world systems no longer characterizes the present era. This second volume in the East-South Relations series explores the implications of Gorbachev's new thinking for regional conflicts. Because these conflicts jeopardize tranquil relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, they are perceived as contrary to the new spirit of global cooperation. This volume suggests that the accords on Southwest Africa may illustrate how the superpowers will resolve conflict, and shows how smaller powers may now have new roles cast for them by the superpowers.

    In 1975, Soviet-Cuban assistance to the Leninist-oriented Movement for the Popular Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was the first extensive Soviet-allied military intervention in the Third World. While the Soviet-backed Cubans propped up the MPLA, the South Africans intervened, on a smaller scale, in support of the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) under Jonas Savimbi. After 1985 UNITA began receiving United States support, and a military stalemate ensued. The contributors to this volume analyse how the Soviet Union and the United States used this stalemate to move the MPLA, Cuba and South Africa to settle not only their differences, but also the vexing question of the Independence of Namibia.

    Central issues explored are how and why South Africa and Cuba got into the Angolan arena, why they stayed so long, and why they saw fit to get out. While the authors differ on the forces at work, their debate is itself enlightening, and offers valuable insights into the policy options of regional powers. The contributors also review further steps, beyond military disengagement, needed to finally resolve the Angolan civil war, and ensure regional stability. They assess the potential for breakdown of the accords, and the likely consequences should this occur.

    Disengagement from Southwest Africa will interest policymakers and researchers concerned with developments in southern Africa and Cuba, and with relations between the superpowers.

    I. THE USSR AND THE CONFLICT IN ANGOLA AND NAMIBIA 1. Gorbachev’s New Political Thinking and the Angola Conflict2. Gorbachev’s Policies on Southern Africa Colin Legum 3. Soviet Foreign Policy for Angola/Namibia in the 1980s: A Strategy of Coercive Diplomacy II. CUBA AND THE CONFLICT IN ANGOLA AND NAMIBIA 4. Cuba’s Role in Southern Africa: The Angola- Namibia Negotiations and the Future of Superpower Conflict in the RegionIII. SOUTH AFRICA AND THE CONFLICT IN ANGOLA AND NAMIBIA 5. South Africa and the 1988 Agreements6. Retrenchment and Recalculation: South Africa and the Angola-Namibia Agreements IV. ANGOLA AND NAMIBIA BETWEEN EAST AND WEST 7. The Angola/Namibia Agreements: Likely Results and Policy Implications8. The Namibia-Angola Settlement and the Future of U.S.-Soviet Competition in the Third World V. CONCLUSION 9. Perceptions and Peace Appendix A: UNLIKELY DIALOGUE: SOVIET AND UNITA VIEWS ON THE CONFLICT I. Soviet Attitudes Toward Southern Africa II. UNITA’s Role in Angola


    Owen Kahn, volume editor, is assistant professor of political science at the Graduate School of International Studies, the University of Miami. Born in South Africa, he received an M.A. from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.