International Politics

Bill Browder and Tony Leon argue that money, not morality, dictates South Africa’s support for Vladimir Putin

King Charles III has conferred a signal honour on South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa. He has invited him on a state visit to Britain this month, the first by a foreign leader since the king came to the throne. That is in spite of South Africa’s refusal to condemn Russia’s merciless war in Ukraine. In [...]

ANC candidates sing from the same ideological hymn sheet

To see how little distinguishes the lead candidates for the ANC presidency when it comes to policy and ideology, consider their stance on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill currently before parliament. In June 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa, apparently famed for his consensual approach to public policy, announced that NHI was “coming to you whether [...]

Democracy is slowly chipping away at the denialists in the US

Last Tuesday, election day for the mid-terms in the US, found famed American historian and presidential envoy Deborah Lipstadt thousands of kilometres from home. Instead, she was addressing a seminar at the Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Cape Town. Lipstadt, who achieved celluloid fame via her portrayal by Rachel Weisz in [...]

Youthful nations are infatuated with good old lies — why?

A flurry of elections — two just held and one next week — in three hugely significant geostrategic countries — tells us quite a bit about the universalism of current politics and some striking similarities between contests fought locally but felt globally. Brazil is the sprawling giant of South America, and despite its sub-par growth [...]

The empire strikes back, and it could very well be the UK’s saviour

I arrived in London on Tuesday, the day of a political revolution. Not that any observer would have noticed from the apparent autumnal normalcy of the bustling UK capital, abuzz with busy shoppers, snarled traffic and crisp weather. But it was a day of extraordinary change. Out went Liz Truss, the shortest serving and most [...]

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. [...]

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