The Economist slams ANC foreign policy

Johannesburg - The Economist magazine said the ANC is turning its back on human rights and freedom by siding with some of the world's ''nastier'' regimes.

In an article headed "Clueless and Immoral'' on the majority party's documents for its National General Council, it referred to opinions in the discussion document which included that the fall of the Berlin Wall ''marked not the freeing of captive nations in Europe but a regrettable triumph of Western imperialism''.

The ANC also labelled pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in China as ''an American-backed counter-revolution'' and Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine ''a conflict directed from Washington'', suggesting South Africa seek to have American military bases thrown out of Africa.

''If this were a spoof, it might be amusing. Yet the document is entirely serious: its contents are to be debated at the ANC’s policy conference in October. Its authors include several serving and retired cabinet ministers, including a former foreign minister. South Africa risks becoming a laughing-stock, not least in Africa itself,'' the leader continued, with its illustration showing a flag tearing.

The magazine said South Africa's foreign policy, based on human rights ideals, were inconsistent when presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki were at the helm, but under President Jacob Zuma they had drifted even further.

The refusal to allow the Dalai Llama to visit was compared with Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir's quick exit in spite of an indictment by the International Criminal Court for allegedly orchestrating genocide and mass rape in Darfur.

''All countries struggle to balance principles and national interests. Yet South Africa’s revolutionary foreign policy serves neither. ''

The Economist said ''few buy the ANC’s argument that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a victim and Barack Obama its cruel oppressor''.

It noted that the African National Congress is involved in BRICS as part of forming an alternate world economic force, with Brazil, Russia, India and China.

But, none of the BRICS countries can claim, as the US can, to have saved millions of African lives through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

They also did not help as Western countries did, to provide soldiers, equipment and intelligence, against militias in Mali or northern Nigeria.

Many countries traded successfully with China, without turning their backs on America and Europe, it added.

''If the ANC now rejects South Africa’s liberal friends and throws in its lot with some of the world’s nastier regimes, it will be doing Africans a grave disservice."