Africa-Russia & the Changing World Order

0
119

South Africa and Russia have pledged to deepen bilateral relations and will conduct a combined military exercise on the anniversary of Ukraine’s invasion. Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, paid a visit to Pretoria as part of his second trip to Africa since the invasion; he will also allegedly visit Botswana, Angola, and Eswatini. The journey largely served as a declaration of Russia’s “non-isolation,” sending the message that important strategic partnerships still exist despite Western sanctions and attempts to exclude it from the international scene.

The current global geopolitical tensions signal the need for institutional mechanisms that will have the stature form and global trust to promote and support global peace and security, according to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has suggested Pretoria could use the chairmanship to push for the admission of new members to expand the bloc’s presence and challenge the dominance of global superpowers

Shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, 2022, South Africa requested Russia to promptly remove its troops from Ukraine. But the tone has shifted since then. In the ensuing U.N. vote in March to condemn Russia’s actions, South Africa was one of 15 African countries to abstain. Asserting Russia’s withdrawal during their meeting would have been “simplistic and infantile,” South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said at a joint press conference with Lavrov. She also made reference to the massive transfer of arms that has since occurred from Western powers to support Ukraine’s military efforts. In addition, Pandor praised the expanding political, economic, social, and military cooperation between Pretoria and Moscow. It highlighted the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) group of top developing nations’ international obligations in a changing world economy.

South Africa will hold a combined naval drill with Russia and China. Hosting such operations with allies was a natural element of ties, refuting the idea that only certain nations are suitable partners. The combined drill, called “Mosi,” which is Tswana for “Smoke,” was timed to “attract attention worldwide.”

The current global geopolitical tensions signal the need for institutional mechanisms that will have the stature form and global trust to promote and support global peace and security, according to the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which has suggested Pretoria could use the chairmanship to push for the admission of new members to expand the bloc’s presence and challenge the dominance of global superpowers. In order to guarantee that it is part of a revised international order, BRICS should take a constructive role in developing processes.

Between February 17 and February 27, South Africa will hold a combined naval drill with Russia and China. Hosting such operations with allies was a natural element of ties, refuting the idea that only certain nations are suitable partners. The combined drill, called “Mosi,” which is Tswana for “Smoke,” was timed to “attract attention worldwide.” South Africa has resolutely refused to be “bullied” despite pressure from its Western allies to support its opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s ability to position itself as an anti-imperialist resistance force, playing on people’s animosity toward Western powers like the U.S., U.K., and France, owing to their history of tyranny on the continent, is key to its appeal to many African states. Russia has been able to take advantage of perceived “patronizing attitudes” from the West and “anti-imperialist emotions” despite its relatively minor trading ties with the African continent compared to that of the European Union.

Thirty years ago, the Russian Federation, then a part of the Soviet Union, supported the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa, which would later serve as the ANC’s foundation.

Countries like South Africa have bought into Russia’s narrative that it is an anti-colonial power, that it stands up for the underdog, that having one superpower—and having that superpower be the United States—is bad for the world, that there should be multipolarity, and that there should be alternative sources of power and alternative methods of power distribution.

Protesters were waving Russian flags in Burkina Faso as they denounced France and the regional organization ECOWAS in recent weeks, underscoring Russia’s expanding influence. Undoubtedly, there is rising discontent with France in its old playgrounds, while Russia thrives on instability, and its institutions are filling the void left by France’s withdrawal.

Along with spreading pro-Kremlin messages, Russian social media campaigns have capitalized on political rivalries and existing fault lines, such as anti-French or anti-gay prejudice.  Countries like South Africa have bought into Russia’s narrative that it is an anti-colonial power, that it stands up for the underdog, that having one superpower—and having that superpower be the United States—is bad for the world, that there should be multipolarity, and that there should be alternative sources of power and alternative methods of power distribution.

The newly appointed foreign minister of China, Qin Gang, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have all visited Africa in the last month; Yellen is scheduled to meet with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa this week. While U.S. President Joe Biden hosted a U.S.-Africa Summit in December, seen as an effort to reclaim some of the influence Washington has lost to China over the past decade or more, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also paid visits to the continent last year.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here