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No, I don't think it was an active case of imperialism, unless you want to count cultural imperialism as imperialism, and that doesn't even work in this case given the cultural and ethnic heritage of the ruling whites in South Africa.

I think the South Africa case is a good example of the power that non-governmental organizations and popular sentiment can still have given the formal mechanisms of democracy, especially in situations where no obvious interests were at stake.

But as you say, it was a case of shunning, combined with rather substantial internal pressure.  Not International Judgement, according to some set of formal procedures.  One might even call it popular diplomacy.  Diplomacy is great, and there should be more of it at all levels.

That diplomacy matters, though, because of the global system of trade, which is a by-product of empire, and the larger set of social and cultural expectations of the dominant powers in that empire.  

Actually, as I was trying to think through my newly formed and still largely incoherent thoughts on this issue, the South African case did pop into my mind.

by Zwackus on Sat Sep 3rd, 2011 at 04:05:34 AM EST
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