South Africa’s announcement of joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Indian Ocean in February 2023 created a stir in South Africa and in some European capitals. While the official US response to these exercises was low-key, there was some expression of concern. The American media, however, paid little attention.
The issues raised by the South Africa-China-Russia naval exercises, however, are important. Do the exercises, the second time since 2019 that South Africa has held joint exercises with China and Russia, have significant implications for US national security? Three noted experts in African security affairs, Paul Nantulya of the National Defense University’s Africa Center, Dr. Bob Wekesa of the Africa Center for the study of the United States at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and David Rusa, lecturer in international relations and security studies at Cavendish University in Kampala, Uganda, join FPRI Africa Program chair Charles Ray in a discussion of the broader implications of this military exercise and what it might mean for future US-South Africa relations.
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Paul Nantulya - Paul Nantulya is a Research Associate at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. He is a subject matter specialist on Chinese foreign and security policy, China/Africa relations, and Africa’s relations with Southeast Asian countries.
David Rusa - David Rusa served in the Ugandan Security Service for 37 years and retired at the level of Director in 2021. Currently He is a lecturer on international relations and security studies at Cavendish University.
Charles A. Ray - Charles A. Ray, a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Africa Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, served as US Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of Zimbabwe.