World 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 [...]

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 [...]

What will kick off SA’s Arab spring?

In 2011 Xi Jinping was simply vice-president of China, before ascending to the top post as party general secretary (or supreme leader), to which he is set to be affirmed for a third term by his Communist Party at its 20th national congress. Back then he hosted a visit to his country by Joe Biden, [...]

Pandor’s comical UN speech quickly sinks into oblivion

Imagine you addressed a conference on SA’s economic prospects, and you omitted to mention the catastrophic daily electricity blackouts darkening the country and imperilling business and investment. Or, as a conveyancing attorney, you forgot to state the price of the property sale you were briefed to execute. In the first case you’d never be invited [...]

Truss me on this one, Liz: new dawns get old fast

Newly elected (by the tiny universe of her own party members) British PM Liz Truss has surfed to power on a blue wave of Conservative support, though by a lesser margin than polls predicted, or any of her recent predecessors enjoyed. Still, a win is a win, and though she might soon founder on the [...]

De Klerk and the Gorbachev paradox

The comparisons between FW de Klerk, the last white president of SA and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, are striking beyond their roles as “midwives from tyranny to a new politics”. This is what British politician and veteran anti-apartheid campaigner Peter Hain writes in his obituary for De Klerk, who died aged 85 in [...]

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 [...]

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