The Foreign Policy and Intervention Behaviour of Nigeria and South Africa in Africa: A Structural Realist Analysis

  • Citation: Olumuyiwa Babatunde Amao (2019) The foreign policy and intervention behaviour of Nigeria and South Africa in Africa: A structural realist analysis, South African Journal of International Affairs
    • Topics:
    • IR Theories
    • Keywords:
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • conflicts
    • foreign policy
    • intervention
    • Nigeria
    • South Africa
    • structural realism

This article assesses the foreign policy and intervention roles of Nigeria and South Africa in Africa, given their status as regional powers, and the regional complexes within which they operate. Drawing references from a plethora of conflicts in which these two states have intervened, this article argues that structural realism, given its emphasis on the material structure of power and the pursuit of relative gains, is useful as a theoretical framework in this assessment. The article makes a contribution to the literature by illustrating the value of structural realism as an international relations (IR) approach within which the intervention behaviour of these two African states can be analysed. The author acknowledges that while structural realism points to the fact that the pursuit of relative gains may be behind the normatively-clad role conceptions of states, foreign policy cannot be reduced to the pursuit of relative power alone.

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