Africa Notes: The Shared Tactical Goals of South Africa and the Soviet Union - April 1983
April 26, 1983
What are the Soviets up to in southern Africa, and what should be done about it? South Africa justifies its massive military buildup of recent years, as well as its increasingly aggressive policing actions throughout the region, on the grounds that the Republic is the target of a Soviet-directed "total onslaught." The reality is that there is a symbiotic interaction between the growth of Soviet, East German, and Cuban presence and influence in southern Africa and South Africa's paranoid behavior toward its neighbors: each feeds on and amplifies the other.
The basic Soviet interest in southern Africa as of 1983 is to encourage (1) the polarization of the region and (2) the genesis of a Soviet-African alliance "of socialist orientation" against the United States in particular and the West in general. To serve these ends, the Soviets know that they must provoke the United States into a closer association with South Africa. Thus, the great irony is that the Soviet Union and South Africa, because they share an overwhelming interest in moving the United States into closer association with Pretoria, are tactical allies in the restructuring of southern Africa now under way.