Cold warning – neos and unis will be no more in the ANC’s new bipolar world order
In a rare and exceedingly honest interview, a key ANC adviser explains what the party means with recalibrating the neocolonial, unipolar world order and how its trip to a post-communist Russia will provide all the great learnings to achieve this.
Many in South Africa remain puzzled not only by the ANC and the government’s “nonaligned” support for Russia, as it enters a second year of war crimes in Ukraine, but also by the party attending talks with Russia’s ruling party.
The stated intention of the visit is to work towards the “recalibration of the global order to reverse the consequences of neocolonialism and the previously prevailing unipolar world”.
Now, it’s often hard to decode ANC-speak, because what is said frequently flies in the face of reality (see the present secretary-general and “the ANC has never supported corrupt leaders”, etc). So we at Daily Maverick had a secret briefing with a key adviser to the party’s Committee on International Relations and General Craven Sucking Up to Authoritarians and Dictators.
This adviser shall remain nameless, but rest assured that he is fully cognisant of all the issues at play, and able to interpret the sayings and doings of the ANC for citizens confused by the party’s moral vacuum, which is so often filled with meaningless ideological wittering.
DM: So, Mr [name redacted], tell us how this “recalibration of the global order” works. We realise this is aspirational rather than a real thing.
Adviser: No, no, it’s a real thing. It may take decades, even centuries, to recalibrate the world order, but that does not mean we should give up. As you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Soviet Union – it took 50 years of oppression and millions of deaths to achieve the highest stage of underdevelopment, but it got there.
DM: Okay, so talking of deaths, the Tsar of All the Russias and Even Some Places that Aren’t Russia, Vlad Putin, is sending tens of thousands of Russian men to their deaths in the “meat grinder” of the war in Ukraine, and his army and his mercenaries have been accused of war crimes because they have bombed civilians, kidnapped children, and so forth. Would you argue that those deaths are contributing to the recalibration of the world order?
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Adviser: Yes, and heroically so. The sacrifices of the people of Russia and the people of Ukraine will be lauded long into the future by all the free and enslaved peoples of the world. That’s if the future ever arrives, but we must stand firm in our belief that it is better to die for a future that never comes than for a present in which the ANC has insufficient power to loot the state to death.
DM: I see. Or at least I think I do. Does that mean that when Tsar Vlad visits South Africa for the BRICS conference he will not be arrested, even though the International Criminal Court has put out a warrant?
Adviser [laughs uproariously]: You are so funny, you white or whitish liberal do-gooders… No, there’s no chance of an arrest. You will recall how the South African state, under our Glorious Leader and Breeder Jacob Zuma, spirited Omar al-Bashir out of the country when he was about to be arrested for murdering thousands of his people in Sudan. We’re prepared to do that again. And Tsar Vlad will have some well-armed mercenary units on hand to assist us in that regard. Just because a tyrant has blood on his hands, even massive amounts of blood, does not mean that we as the ruling party and the government of South Africa can’t stand by him. To suggest otherwise would be an insult to national pride.
For the rights price
DM: So, the days of the ANC being a beacon of human rights are over? Our commitment to international justice and the ending of crimes against humanity has fallen by the wayside?
Adviser: You could say that. But we don’t want to say it out loud, oh no. You see, we want the West, which invented human rights after centuries of violating them all over the world, to keep giving us money. Lots of it.
DM: But when the West gives us money, isn’t that neocolonialism in action?
Adviser: Only if there are conditions attached, like decrease your national debt, reduce your bloated bureaucracy, or deal with corruption. It’s not neocolonialism if the money is freely given and we in the ANC get our cut.
DM: Right. But you’re saying, at the same time, that it’s necessary to support Russia in its attempts to undermine liberal democracy while funding the rise of neo-fascism and ultranationalism in the West. Because the West is guilty of neocolonialism and we here in South Africa suffer such a huge amount of postcolonial resentment that it feels good to trash our major trading partners?
Adviser: Indeed. That is actually very well put, thank you – I congratulate you, and I may in fact quote you on that in future workshops run by the ANC’s Committee on International Grovelling to Non-Democratic Superpowers. After all, we need to keep the Chinese Empire onside, in particular, because it’s going to be the next global superpower, if it isn’t already.
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DM: It’s a pleasure. And you don’t see initiatives such as China’s Belt and Road as a form of creeping colonialism? Or Russia’s building of nuclear power stations at enormous cost to the poor nation in question as a form of colonialism? After all, the colonialism we suffered here in Africa since the 1600s began with commercial interests – slavery, for instance – and only later became a matter of the Great Powers actually colonising anywhere, with boots on the ground, you may say?
Adviser: Well, yes, we’re aware of that long and tortured history. But we’re also aware of the fact that the US is the leader of the unipolar world that emerged after the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union, and that’s what we want to end. It would be much better for us if we returned to the bipolar world of the Cold War and we were then able to play both sides against the middle, as it were. We call this being “nonaligned”.
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DM: Ah, so that’s what it means. We thought it just meant sucking up to Tsar Vlad and the Great Emperor of China because we’re afraid of them.
Adviser: Oh, no, ha ha! [Looks nervously from side to side.] We don’t fear them. In fact, we admire Tsar Vlad very much for the way he has taken his society from post-communist disaster capitalism to full-on oligarchy, with massive privatisation of state monies, while violently clamping down on internal dissent and rendering democracy a hollow sham. We in the ANC admire that very much, and trips like this to Russia are intended to provide us with many learnings in that regard. Viva Vlad! And welcome to the future of South Africa. DM168
Shaun de Waal is a writer and editor.
This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.