Dilemmas of postcolonial diplomacy: Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda, and the Middle East crisis, 1964-73

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This article examines Zambia's engagement with the Middle East conflict from 1964-73 as a window into the political strategies and ideological ambitions of Kaunda's government in the first decade of independence. At the start of independence, Kaunda's domestic agenda led him to establish ties with Israel and to advance a program for cooperative development based on Israeli technical assistance. However, broader international concerns, filtered through the struggle against white minority regimes in southern Africa, ultimately led Kaunda to embrace a leadership role in international protests against Israel's policies towards its neighboring states. Zambia's foray into Middle East diplomacy in the first decade of independence enables a focused examination of Kaunda's presence in the international arena, while also revealing the compromises he made in the face of conflicting interests. Zambia's role in the Middle East conflict highlights this era as a time of confidence and claim-making by African leaders, but also one of concessions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-119
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of African History
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Diplomacy
  • Ideology
  • International relations
  • Politics
  • Postcolonial
  • Southern Africa
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History


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