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Title: Chester Crocker's strategy of constructive engagement in South Africa, Namibia and Angola, 1981-1988
Author: Davies, J. E.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2004
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Crocker was Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1981 to 1988. This thesis presents an evaluation of his policy of ‘constructive engagement’ in South Africa, Namibia and Angola. The policy was ostensibly designed to influence Pretoria away from apartheid. Under the auspices of constructive engagement, Crocker also linked the granting of Namibian independence from South Africa to the removal of Cuban troops from Angola. A number of writers agree that Crocker failed in his attempts to persuade Pretoria to abandon apartheid, but that his ‘linkage’ of the situations in Namibia and Angola was a success – achieving both regional goals. This thesis questions these conclusions by identifying an implicit, Cold War-driven agenda behind Crocker’s policies. His real priority in South Africa was to present a policy which would allow Washington to continue its strategically important relationship with Pretoria without the appearance of endorsing apartheid. Crocker’s failure in South Africa was two-fold: neither his explicit nor his implicit agenda was achieved. The success of Crocker’s regional agenda is also called into question. A variety of factors achieved in the final Namibian settlement, some of which had their roots in Crocker’s policy, but also some which were directly contradicted by it. Regarding the withdrawal of Cuban troops, Cuban military strength was vital in convincing South Africa that it could not longer occupy Namibia and support UNITA in Angola without facing an increasing cost. Cuban technical superiority also brought home to Pretoria the implications of sanctions, a policy which Cocker has also opposed. Crocker’s policy did contribute to his explicit goals of Namibian independence and to removing the Cubans. The credibility gained by Cuba through this settlement, however, and the hostility that constructive engagement and linkage generated towards Washington, meant that Crocker largely failed in his implicit, anti-communist, regional agenda.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available