What Can Become of South Africa?

On South African television recently, Atlantic contributing editor Conor Cruise O’Brien put forward a scenario about the future of the country which drew this response from a former high South African diplomat: “That thing is my nightmare. ...” The “nightmareis joint U.S.—Soviet military intervention to depose the apartheid regime. This shocking result, O’Brien writes, is where the political dynamics generated by the “incipient civil war" in South Africa may be leading. The South Africa that O’Brien evokes for us here is at once grimmer and more ambiguous than the place depicted on our71screens—a country in which the cause of justice is championed by “a political movement whose sanction, symbol, and signature is the burning alive of people in the street.