john campbell

Review of ‘Morning in South Africa’

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Despite a history of discrimination and racism and a current government that is lackluster at best, and mired in corruption, South Africa, according to John Campbell, an American diplomat who served in the U.S. Embassy from 1993 to 1996, during the transition from apartheid to a black-led government, believes that the country’s well-established rule of law will enable it to weather its current crises. In Morning in South Africa Campbell discusses the history of the country, its hot button issues of land reform, health care, education reform, and the economic inequality that persists more than 20 years post-apartheid.

Campbell believes that a closer relationship can be forged between the U.S. and South Africa, to the benefit of both countries, but it must wait for a new government to replace that of current president Jacob Zuma, who as president has made many of the country’s problems worse.

Written from the perspective of someone who represented U.S. interests in the country, but at the same time got to know the culture and society well, this Council on Foreign Relations volume should be required reading for every member of the incoming American administration, but in particular, the new political occupants at the Department of State, not just for what it can teach them about South Africa, but for what they can learn about how American diplomats work to support and defend the Constitution, and on behalf of all Americans, regardless of who occupies the White House. It should also be required reading for all Americans; a primer on foreign relations through the lens of relations with one country.

I received this book as a gift.

I give Campbell five stars for this excellent study.