J. E. Davies

J. E. Davies taught international relations at the University of Wales, Swansea, and is now a freelance writer living in Wales.

Listed in: African Studies · International Studies · African History

Constructive Engagement? · Chester Crocker & American Policy in South Africa, Namibia & Angola, 1981–1988
By J. E. Davies

The notion of engagement represents an indispensable tool in a foreign policy practitioner’s armory. The idea of constructive engagement is forwarded by governments as a method whereby pressure can be brought to bear on countries to improve their record on human rights, while diplomatic and economic contracts can be maintained. But does this approach succeed?

“The failure of constructive engagement is revealed quite early on in the book, when the author points out how ‘remarkable’ it was that Pretoria's admission that it was ‘not prepared to play the reciprocal role demanded by constructive engagement’—the reform of apartheid and the release of Namibia in exchange for ‘respectability’ as a U.S. ally in the Cold War—had ‘no apparent impact’ on Crocker's policy.”