Literature Corner: Consistent or Confused The Politics of Mbeki's Foreign Policy

Eusebius McKaiser describes Dr. Oscar van Heerden's book titled Consistent or Confused: The Politics of Mbeki's Foreign Policy, 1995—2007 as an easy read.

McKasier says the book reflects the author puzzling through an area of South African political discourse that has not been paid enough attention.

Author, Dr. Oscar van Heerden says he tried to make the reader familiar with the content and concepts of his book in the first two chapters, debunking some of the more heavier academic material.

He says foreign policy is directly linked to domestic politics. Dr. van Heerden adds that what plays out in the domestic political scene influences the world's view of South Africa, citing Marikana as an example.

Whether people are involved in trade negotiations in Brussels or whether they are trying to vote in a particular way at the United Nations, an incident like that immediately gets the kind of international coverage that impacts on South Africa's reputation negatively.

Dr. Oscar van Heerden, Author of Consisted or Confused

In the book, Dr. van Heerden tries to demonstrate that though South Africa negotiates a trade agreement with the European Union it has a fundamental impact on the consumer and what they will be paying for certain products.

Dr. van Heerden says given South Africa's history, it came as no surprise that the likes of Mandela, entering the 1990's placed the cornerstone of foreign policy on human rights.

Dr Van Heerden is an International Relations scholar, focusing on international political economy, with an emphasis on Africa and SADC.

He holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

Previously, he studied at Turfloop and Wits University.

He is an active fellow of the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflections (MISTRA), and a trustee of the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation.

For the full interview listen to the audio below:

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