International Politics

State dysfunction got airborne with Ramaphosa’s DRC flight of fancy

Last weekend, the Sunday Times ran a front-page exposé by Erika Gibson on the saga of high-flying Cyril Ramaphosa. His office splurged R2.6m to hire a 320-passenger SAA Airbus A340 to transport 12 people, including the president, to a single meeting in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the report said. A day late [...]

Babbling while Ukraine burns

For the least populated area in America, the Mountain West state of Wyoming has received outsize attention across the world in recent days. That’s because it was the site of the landslide defeat in a primary election of US congresswoman Liz Cheney, a three-term US Representative. Cheney is the daughter of a Republican dynasty headed by [...]

SA’s US policy is foreign to say the least

Remarks this week by international relations minister Naledi Pandor represent a rhetorical Venn diagram between her intelligence and experience on the one hand, and her obligation to parrot the party line, encased by impractical commitments and ideological rigidities on the other. This awkward intersection was on full display during the visit to Pretoria on Monday [...]

If I were the ANC I’d be a little concerned about my ties to UMK

Dealing with individuals sanctioned by the US can be hazardous. This is the lesson Vladimir Putin and his oligarch friends are discovering anew since the Russian invasion of Ukraine and swift and crippling sanctions imposed against them by the US, UK and EU. During the recent Franschhoek Literary Festival I interviewed, via video link, the [...]

Ramaphosa should know better than to endorse the ‘might is right’ world view

For someone who believes in antique ideologies — from state control of the economy to racial nationalism — Cyril Ramaphosa speaks in very postmodern terms. Postmodernism is the philosophy that there is no scientific or historical truth; and CR certainly peppered his remarks last week on the war in Ukraine with lashings of this concept. [...]

Presidential sounds of silence are fuelling the fire engulfing SA

Workers Day, May 1 2022, offered South Africans sharply contrasting images of President Cyril Ramaphosa and leader of the official opposition John Steenhuisen. Ramaphosa had a double indignity heaped on him at a rally at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, North West. The obvious injury to presidential pride was his forced removal from the keynote [...]

Putin’s war has sorted the wheat from the chaff — and there’s lots of chaff

Today, barring a huge upset, Emmanuel Macron will be re-elected president of France. However, if polling was always accurate President Hillary Clinton would be in her second term in the US and the UK would be still a leading member of the EU. The election in France revolves in part on how toxic the embrace [...]

Don’t cry for us: Argentina’s political nightmare is mirrored in SA

Big investor selloff; huge currency decline against the US dollar; a reformist leader hemmed in by populist and corrupt rivals; the former president uses the head of state’s difficulties to launch their fightback; a resource-rich economy is trapped in negative sentiment and low growth and unemployment and poverty ticks upward. If this looks depressingly familiar [...]

The economic miracle of a land dubbed ‘ardently capitalist communist’

A couple of weeks ago, from 10,000km away, I had an epiphany. Or several of them. On a family vacation, I was standing outside the enormous, postmodern Samsung factory near Da Nang, a coastal city and resort in central Vietnam. The first of these was a remembrance, aided by Max Hastings’ new book, Vietnam — An Epic [...]

By |2019-01-25T09:21:59+00:00January 25th, 2019|International Politics, Opinion, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Saudis reminded that even impunity has its limits

If the scriptwriters of the blockbuster television series Homeland had invented such a yarn it might have been rejected by its producers as too fanciful, and certainly too gory, to be filmed. A well-known dissident Saudi journalist enters his country's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and is never seen again; soon enough the host country provides lurid details [...]

By |2018-10-29T12:49:24+00:00October 29th, 2018|International Politics, Uncategorized|0 Comments
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