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Iraq And The Post Cold War Order: Will unilateralism become more common? - 2003-04-09

A South African political analyst says President Thabo Mbeki’s opposition to the U.S. led war in Iraq is justified and in accordance with established rules of international diplomacy.

Dr. Garth le Pere, Executive Director of the Johannesburg-based Institute for Global Dialogue, says Mr. Mbeki was correct in warning that the war on Iraq would introduce what he calls a new and dangerous dimension to the post-cold war order. He says such a policy of unilateralism may become the new theme that governs relations between states.

Dr. le Pere discounts Mr. Mbeki’s warning that African countries could suffer Iraq’s fate if they are seen as stepping out of line. He says such concerns are somewhat exaggerated.

Regarding governance, Dr. le Pere says Africa has ventured into what he calls a new frontier – a radical departure from its past. He says the continent now has its own architecture in the form of the African Union and the New Partnership for African Development.

Dr. le Pere says Africa has began to address the legacies of authoritarianism, and develop a collective consensus on the minimum standards for democracy. The analyst credits African countries for actively promoting the building blocks of democracy: elections, human rights, justice, institution building and accountability.

Dr. le Pere spoke from Johannesburg with English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje.