Options and Scenarios for South African Actions Against lis Neighbors
South Africa's economic and military dominance of ;he regionroad range of options for actions against its neighbors, many of which it has exercised repeatedly. Pretems regional policy under Stateotha, who came to power8 alterears as Defense Minister, has been especially prone to coercive measures, ranging from "economic pinpricks" such as recently restricted supplies of lubricants for Zimbabwean diesels to full-fledged support for Angotar. insurgents.emorandum:
enu of South African economic and military options for each of Pretoria's neighbors, with actions listed in order of severity, including the probable impact on the country, the country's probable response. 3nd an estimate, where possible, of the cons to the United States and the West ofountry for damage.
Formulates several scenarios, startingaseline assessment, that project Pretoria's probable regional reactionlternative US and Western initiatives toward South Ainca. indicates the options and targets the South Africans are likely tc choose, and assesses the impact on US andnterests.
Outlines briefly our understanding of the general priorities and factors that affect Pretoria's policies toward its neighbors.
We begin by examining the forces that affect Pretoria's calculus, refieciing our judgment that the evolving crisis inside the country has caused Pretoria to take an increasingly demanding and coercive stance inor. J
The View From Pretoria
We doubt that South Africa proceeds within the region from any "grand strategy" but rather believe that leadersretoria react io events and scire opportunities as they present themselves. Nevertheless, ihe Botha government's decisions on deaimg wuh individual black states appear to fallramewor* of ge-cral objectives and priorities We aclieve. however, that several key factors, many of them reflect irt^tomestic political conditions, critically affect how Pretoria implements us regional
A (lacking Ami-South African Insurgents. Pretoria's hostilityeighbor is directly influenced by the exleni to which itis perceived toAfrican National Congresshe South-West Africa People's Organization (SWAPOi. and the'Pan-Africanist
Congress (PACj- Pretoria appears determined to attack these groups external links, either by forcing its neighbors to crack down on their activities or. as appears to be the case more recently, taking direct action themselves to crush what they see as outside subversives. We believe theretrong psychological dimension driving this prime objective of South African regional policy since Pretoria's suspicions about its Mack neighbors reflect .is severe anxieties about its black majority, no independent black state, except possibly Swaziland, can ever do enough to satisfy Pretoria's demands on the ANC issue. Even Botswana's determined, albeit unsuccessful, efforts to eliminate ANC activity wiihin its borders his won it Utile relief from South African saber rattling, assassination teams, and cross-border raids. The Botha government, moreover, has often played toover rising domestic unrest, recent ANC attacks, or the "too rapid" pace ofattacking ANC facilities across its borders or punishing its neighbors for their actual or putative support for the ANC. |
Maintaining. Regional Supremacy. Pretoria's profound skepticism abOul the longer term possibility of peaceful coexistence with neighboring black states, in our judgment, has led it toecond major regional priority, keeping itsthose it regards as mostandretoria has maintained its status as the region's superpower by creating instability and dependency throughout southern Africa: by 'sacking insurgencies and dissidents in Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho; by its ready use of economic and transportation leverage to undercut regional efforts to reduce the dependence of black-ruled states on South Africa; and by conducting covert operations, such as2 attack on Zimbabwe's Thornbtll Airbase, that preempt challenges to South African power. Pretoria's realpolitik regional poiicy is reinforced, in our judgment,eeply rooted belief that, in order to maintain power over an increasingly restive black majority. Pretoria must demand respectful behavior from its black-ruled neighbors. For example, normally compliant Botswana's close security liaison relationship with South Africa still falls short of Pretoria's desireormal security pact. Most white South Africans, including the often prickly State President, also appear particularly sensitive to verbal and diplomatic slights from rveighboring countries. We suspect that the ruling Afrikaner's traditional need to show who is "baas" will increasingly be acted out on iis black-ruled neighbors as Pretoria's frustration with its inability to suppress domestic unrest grows.|
The Racial Struggle in South Africa. As our preceding analysis suggests, we believe that while attitudes and perspectives formed during three centuries of white minority rule and now under increasing pressure from the black majority are criticalredicting Pretoria's future regional moves. Some white South Africans undoubtedly remain unrepentant racial supremacists who find the thought of sharing politicalalone livingystem based on politicalunthinkable, others clearly recognize that the "numbers" are against them and that whites must move to accommodate black aspirations. White South Africans of ail political persuasions, however, have been rearedociety built on racial dominance. Inicnsifiec pressure from growing black unrest and deepening international isolation.ur view, will sharpen divisions among whiles, strengthen polarizing tendencies that fuel both righiwmg extremism and white emigration, and cause Pretoria to follow more reactive, emotional, and seemingly irrational foreign policies. The growing siege mentality in Pretoria reinforces the independent Afrikaners' traditional preferencego-it-alone" strategy andlikely toore unconstrained transference of white anxieties and impulses into harsh actions against its black neighbors
Altitude Toward tne West. In (his climate, the while South Africans' long-heid love-hate relationship wiih the West is likely to intensify. On the one hand, whites identify wiih the Western. Christian, and democratic values, often pointing with pride to particular parallels between their country and the United States. On the other hand, they strongly resent Western opposition to ipariheid. frequently dismissing it as hypocritical meddling in their interna! affairs. Nevertheless, we beiieve that the Botha government has often recognized the tactical utility of cooperating with the West, such as when Pretoria shifted from its tough, coercive posture2 and mostJ to its participation in- in US-brokered diplomatic accords wuh Mozambique and Angola-However these periods of relativeconcerns over possible Western reaction have sometimes restrained Pretoria's hand with ushave been short lived. As unrealistic South African expect ions about the West's tolerance for apartheid are dashed in ihe wake of Western public reactionew outburst of domestic turmoil. Pretoria has tended to swing drastically in the other direction,etiam. hostile. anti-Western stance. In this mode. South Africa has often appeared intent on attacking :ts neighbors to spice the West, rather than simply in spite of Western
Southin tne Laager. Our reading of the principles and factors affecting South Africa's regional policy suggests that Pretoria is now on an increasingly harsh tack against itsin ihe absence of further "Western provocations" (that is. ianc:ionsi or "Western meddling" (that is.espite its imposition in Juneationwide stale ol emergency and the estimated detention of welllack activists and leaders, domestic unrest shows no signs of abating. ANC attacks are increasing, becoming more indiscriminate, and begtnnmg to dairr. white casualties. At the same time. Pretoria must contend with political challenges from an increasingly strident while right wing and harsher anttaparthcid rhetoric from South African blacks and neighboring states. South Africa feels pressed on all sides at home. Last year's imposition of limited sanctions by the United States and the politically inspired run on the rand that forced Pretoria toebt moratoriumew wave of hostility toward the West and the United States in particular. In our judgment, these trends ire likely to persist and ail suggest (hat Pretoria will choose liberally from its broad list of economic and military options for attacks on its neighbors.
South African Economic and Military Options Against Its Neighbors
South Africa's range of economic and military options is organized by country and ordered roughly by degree of severity. For each option,eries of text tables that follow, we have estimated its impact on the recipient and the likely response ;hat the affected country mayn some cases, where practical, we have tried to gauge what it might cos: the Westake remedialargely through direct compensation. We have not attempted an assessment of US choices in the face of each South African option since they range from public condemnations through vanous partial compensation measures to replacement inubjec: too complex and unwieldye trea:cd in these tablesflBHl
We recognize that South Africa has numerous small economicmpnexs as it -ere that are primarily aimed at irritating' ihe recipient without .articling signmeum damage. These measures subsumed within broader categories. Such measures include delaying or ousrouiing rolling stock, spccul lubricants, and jet fuel
Our scenarios Tor probable South African actions toward its neighbors beginaseline scenario, namely our readingouth Africa deep in the laager and girding itself for fairly strong sanctions. The scenario briefly sketches ihe principal factors affecting Pretoria's regional policies,actical assessment of those options Pretoria is likely to or could take, and evaluates their implications for US and Western interests. We then provide three additional scenarios" intended to gauge differences in probable South African reactionslternative US/Western initiatives to South Africa.
In the event the United States and the European Community adopt limited sanctions. South Africa's reaction may be relatively restrained, limited to some economic muscle flexing. The passage of only limited sanctions might reawaken Pretoria to the benefits of tactical cooperation with the West, possiblyoderating impact on its dealings with its neighbors.
In the event that the United States imposes strong unilateral sanctions, white the United Kingdom and the EC adoptimited package. South Africa's ire probably will be reflected in anti-US actions, both at its presence in South Africa and at countries involved in US initiatives.
In the event that the United States and its alliesomprehensive package that combines limited sanctions and positive programs reaching outlack South Africans and the black-ruled states in southern Africa, we believe that South Africa's resentment over Western interference and attempts to reduce Pretoria's regional supremacy will overwhelm its relief at escaping strong sanctions, leading Pretoria to exercise options that would undermine new Western initiatives|
i: BaselineSunlit Africa Deep in (he leaner
AfricaPcispectrvc jnd Kot-mim:
I- lUeI ihe Wnt
torn I'-.nxu'i pcrtptclirc. wek
South ^ :: K"
macimmi and ate already acting as if they had[ij.icil Consequently
.Kiil) gearing ii* regional poliiy idmes(events, relatively unfettered by concern about Ihe Western ftSDlMK.
In ill rcsion.il policy, nc cipcci Pretoria would:
when ii fed* necessary at ANC1 the region
Petiudicjlly cicrusc it* economic inutile io indicate iu iu neighbors the highof gelling i'.ii of lime
in.. ioilli I
mac lotcu lo IKgutMU "rcjlulico ugion.il
We would1'iouu |o.
Tjle hunted.igji-ni tclnicd.iirgcli llul will cany the mcviagc ih.il mure puiiiilung iinivcs .ire in tin oiling iflciuliiig iMlioni fail to GMpontt,
Strikeekcicd ANC targetse region. These operations may bu similar to Dig ommliiiiilcd mills earned uul lutl May .iiiniiikl Zimbabwe. Zambia, and lloiswuna. bill arc likely lo mull in more castialiicv Al tin; mite lime,s likely iu Hep up lit covert campaignNC milit.inls.
i /jIHOU. 11. ,
MorambKiue will iciiuui ptinie Urgcti.
o divudeni group* in Angola. Mur4inliK|uc. jih! /milubwe
abotage selected pd ANC targetslUtes.
In mii niiljin.it . wciunu wuiU
Cuinlcilirkiliun ul' llic Wctl'l refusal 10
Slrcngllicn ihe view in many countries ili.ii llic lime lorand "ilidloguu"iuh Africa is now past.
Ai the siimc lime. pmluUyuiet sigh of iclicl in sonic neighboring coniiliitt llul liny cx.ipcd I'ldurm't rclaluitonnctiom,ust will publiily condemn Wcilcinuin .ii.ily limn Wmcrn
1'iuduoc opfhHiiaiuiKt foi Soviets loprorugjmU nuinlte Soviet* aho jitacrciteK uury aoiiUate hi Zimbabwe.
Scenario III: SlroiiH Unilateral USmilcil European Cominuriity Saticlions
Africa's Perspective and Kcsponsc
for llic US .irit llic West
Pictoiii's perspective, wc believe Strung US Sanctions and relativelyanctions would bo
ui itier sign of betf.iy.il from the US and tonlumillion Out noiliiug I'icioiij docs wilt satisfy Washington.
An ominous trend that oilier probably will follow.
III Us regional policy, we opccl Pretoria would'
Make only minor adjustments in current regional policy,nning hi iluke il the ANC when it believes iteccsS.iiy.
Attempt tu demonstrate thui Pretoria, not Wdtliiii^uin, isutor power in llic region.
Publicly test US leverage .aid willingu become involved in ihe region by sinking at countries linked closely lo the
Work lo undermine US diplomatic cluiris in the region
We would expect Pretoria tu:
lake spceiliciuin. designed In express Pretoria's dissatisfaction with US policy: seek to reduce US diplomatic presence, severely curtail ollicial visits ami govcnime ill-In-govern me ni contacts; povsibly taigci known US conlUcIS in black cottiiminitics.
Tiy to foicc llic US to make good on commit uictils by sqiiecriivg neighbors such asnd Mo/atnbtuuc.
Sim lb Africa also could:
specific US economic interests
l'. IS USClllllCl III Align!.!
Underscore limited US diplomatic leverage by moving toward unilateral declaration of independence in Namibia and icultliug llmccord with Morjit|btt|(iu
Iisinformation citinrciign designed to embarrass the US or cxisosc US covert activities in the area.
In our judgment.otitprclicniive US
iniicltuns package combinedimited
UC package would'
Severely restrict US aeccss inside South Africa.
Produce strong approval from Tionllinc ami other African states, but create expectations nf greater US economic assistance to otliei impact or retaliatory South African actions
Create additional imeriuttional incisure unlates In follow iutt.
Produce at least tcmporaiy setbacks to Sovietllutis, but continue opportunities fur .urns sales and advisory assistance.
ii MlOriginal document.