NATO and South Africa, 1974–83

  • Christopher Coker
Part of the Rusi Defence Studies Series book series (RUSIDS)


Critics of the Western Alliance have accused NATO of collusion with South Africa ever since the Alliance came into existence. No doubt the option has been discussed, if it has not been acted upon. But what the critics offer as evidence does not in itself explain anything that we do not already know. And if the lesson we draw is that the Alliance has only been prevented from working closely with South Africa for fear of being discovered, we do less than justice to the facts. Despite all accounts of NATO’s ‘collusion’ with South Africa, accounts indeed that are beginning to constitute quite a large corpus, it cannot be established with any accuracy that collusion on any significant scale has ever taken place. Instead, NATO’s political leaders, representing a wide spectrum of political opinion, have seen South Africa as a country suffering from internal pressures too intense for it to serve any useful role, or indeed for it to want to.


Spare Part Western Power Defence Minister Southern AFRICA Warsaw Pact 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
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  2. 2.
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    Richard Bissell, South Africa and the United States: The Erosion of an Influence Relationship (New York: Praeger, 1982) p. 57.Google Scholar
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    Secret Collaboration of the West with South Africa (Centre Against Apartheid: Notes and Documents, 32/78 September 1978).Google Scholar
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    Abdul Minty, ‘Implementing the Arms Embargo’, op. cit.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
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    The Guardian, 29 July 1981.Google Scholar
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    Pierre Hassner, ‘Superpower Rivalries, Conflict and Cooperation’ , Diffusion of Power Part 2: Control and Conflict, Adelphi 134 (London: IISS, 1977).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© RUSI 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Coker

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