When Russia invaded Ukraine with massed forces, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) rightly condemned it. Within 24 hours they obsequiously changed their position to plead for negotiation even though Russia was in complete contravention of the UN Charter regarding the vivisection of sovereign member countries. Their attempts at justification ran the gamut from the moral equivalence of the US con job – the Iraq War – to ‘we have shown the world the way of negotiation to solve problems’. It maintained that it was non-aligned but was actually aligning itself to China and Russia to help create a bipolar world. Along the way it allowed a Russian ship to dock in Simonstown with its transponder turned off and surreptitiously load unknown cargo in the dead of night. It followed this up by taking part in naval wargames with their newfound buddies, Russia and China. A bit of navel gazing would have been more appropriate. SA has also been all at sea with how to deal with Putin if he arrives for the planned BRICS conference later this year. All the while, SA repeatedly abstained from numerous votes in the UN condemning Russian aggression.
Suddenly, on 2 May, SA abstained as per normal in the UN – ho, hum – but their ‘non-aligned’ buddies; China, India and Brazil, threw them to the wolves by voting to condemn Russian aggression.
Oops. SA has found itself naked and clueless.
Quo vadis SA?