Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

SA to accept US help on defense
The Mail & Guardian carries the story this morning of US offers to provide training and equipment to two SA infantry battalions, primarily for peacekeeping missions. US Ambassador to SA, Cameron Hume, stated that the SA had agreed to the offer.

The US has already assisted Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi and Senegal, which is rather bizarre as there are some states in that list that the US has been very critical of for human rights abuses. So often in the past, US assistance in military forces has ulitmately benefited rebels and militia and caused more problems than goodwill, however, it seems that the US has only been providing basic equipment such as uniforms and communication equipment. For SA, sources say the agreement will cover simulation equipment similar to that used at facilities such as the US Joint Readiness Training Centre where army and air-force units train together against an opposing force before deploying abroad.

Any strength that the US can provide to African states for peace-keeping is undoubtedly a good thing, both in assisting AU peace-keeping initiatives and the improvement of continental responsiblity by African states.