From Pariah to Promoter: South Africa
South Africa's historic transformation from dictatorship to democracy is paralleled by an equally remarkable transition in foreign policy: from realist supporter of regional instability and unholy alliances to principled exporter of global human rights. It provides a role model for other emerging regional powers, demonstrating that underdevelopment, non-Western culture, and historic divisions are not necessarily impediments to an active and principled foreign policy role. Nelson Mandela came to power with an ambition to transform South Africa's foreign policy liabilities into strengths, as well as an extraordinary level of personal principle, charismatic leadership, and international legitimacy. In the era since Mandela, South Africa has been caught between the global values of its increasingly distracted civil society and the regional realities and historic loyalties embodied by its centralizing leadership. Like the consolidation of domestic democracy, for South Africa the construction of cosmopolitan internationalism remains a contested and fragile process.
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