Volume XXXVII – Number 1

Ngozi Caleb Kamalu, Ph.D.

Abstract: Negotiations in the realm of international relations are very rarely bilateral, defined as a negotiation between two actors that agree to act in a specific way to get a response out of the other. Reality is much more complicated, where international negotiations are contingent on the actions of multiple states to get the desired response out of one another. Issue linkages, better known as linkage politics, is when a state adopts a given policy stance that is dependent on another state’s behavior in a separate policy area. In this paper, I argue the cases of Namibian independence the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait to argue that the United States’ use of linkage politics in Southern Africa and the Middle East has been contradictory. In the case of Namibian independence, the United States was able to successfully use diplomacy to advocate for Namibian independence and the normalization of relations with Mozambique in negotiations to roll back South Africa’s destabilization campaign in Southern Africa. On the other hand, the United States saw force as the only option when dealing with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, due Hussein’s call for Israeli presence in the Occupied Territories (the West Bank and Gaza) being made the condition for his withdrawal. The use of diplomacy in one case and military force in the other shows that the United States’ attitude towards issue linkages in these regions is contradictory, and that the United States values expediency over morality.


Keywords: Linkage Politics, South Africa, Angola, Namibia, Iraq, Palestine, Kuwait, Israel

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