The notion of engagement represents an indispensible tool in a foreign policy practitioner\u2019s 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? To answer this question this book offers a critical evaluation of one of the best-known examples of constructive engagement-the Reagan administration\u2019s policy toward South Africa. Chester Crocker was appointed as Reagan\u2019s assistant secretary of state for African affairs in 1981. Crocker maintained that unvarying hostile rhetoric leveled at the apartheid regime in South Africa only served to increase Pretoria\u2019s mistrust and dislike of Washington and hardened Pretoria\u2019s intransigence. Crocker asserted that an open dialogue, together with a reduction of punitive measures, such as export restrictions, would gain the confidence of Pretoria, enabling Washington to influence South Africa toward a gradual change away from apartheid.
This book aims to determine how successful Crocker\u2019s constructive engagement policy was in South Africa and the neighboring states of Namibia and Angola. In this timely and brilliant study, Davies examines the implications for current applications of constructive engagement as a tool of foreign policy.