This conceptual paper addresses a popular dichotomous African nationalist and independentist approach to foreign policy mainly characterized by soft balancing and quiet diplomacy. This dichotomous approach has been dominated by the need to maintain independence from resurgent neo-colonial claws through promoting the African agenda. The African nationalist and independentist approach are used to interrogate the misconceptions created by the resurgence of the coming together of former liberation movements in Southern Africa. Using the work of Machiavelli on international anarchy complemented by the soft balancing as a real-power politics theory, the paper offers alternative lenses to the interpretation of the impact of sanctions and subsequent strategic alliances formed after 2002. Depending on the dominant realist paradigm to analyze sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, the paper confirms the anarchic nature of international society and that the formation of alliances was not an ad hoc reaction. Arguing that the world is anarchic and there is no international arbiter, the paper recommends soft balancing as a political survival strategy.
Keywords: soft balancing, sanctions, regime security, alliance formation, liberation movements, real politic