Incomplete Engagement: Reagan's South Africa policy Revisited

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Events in Southern Africa during the early 1990s have re-opened a debate over the effectiveness of the Reagan Administration's policy of ‘Constructive Engagement’. This was a controversy that had previously been laid to rest with the US Congress passing its Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in October 1986, since the ensuing punitive sanctions imposed by the enactment of this legislation scuttled Ronald Reagan's strategy of using friendly persuasion to encourage the South African Government away from its practice of apartheid. Yet, with hindsight, it may appear that the President's method of drawing the Pretoria regime into the international community, through offering recognition and encouragement in exchange for reform, has been triumphantly vindicated. After all, has not the African National Congress (ANC) come to power via a democratic process, thereby avoiding a bloodbath on the scale that so many had predicted?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-101
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Modern African Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1995


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