South Sudan: A Diplomatic Fiasco

By James Pui Yak Yiel,


Norway's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende, met Salva Kiir in January 2014 to see how Norway could help in South Sudan. Today Salva Kiir's government rejects TROIKA in the mediation process, also restricting their visits to the country(Photo: Astrid Sehl, MFA)

Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende, met Salva Kiir in January 2014 to see how Norway could help in South Sudan. Today Salva Kiir’s government rejects TROIKA in the mediation process, also restricting their visits to the country(Photo: Astrid Sehl, MFA)

April 5, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Foreign policy is the process of setting goals, making decisions and taking of actions by the country government in its interactions with other countries in order to further national interests in the international arena while putting into account domestic political influences and external factors considerations.

In analyzing foreign policy process there are three factors that account for the variations in process and these are differences among domestic political systems, situations at hands and the issues being decided. Inasmuch as , decision makers adopts various models when taking foreign policy decisions the most widely used model is what is called the rational model where leaders uses their rational cognitive thinking to arrived at decisions. In this model decision makers set goals, evaluate their relative importance, calculate the costs and benefits of each course of action, then choose the one with high benefits and low costs.

Following south Sudan independence as the world youngest nation in 2011, it was hoped that the leadership of this nascent country will learn from the past mistakes of other countries in the regional surrounding of Africa if not all the countries of the world and eventually chose a path that will bring more stability, economic growth and possibly developmental progress and prosperity. However, due to the combine elements of poor leadership qualities, wrong foreign policy choices and uninformed political decision making process the country slipped into yet another man made crisis that haunted the people of south Sudan even after the post independence period.

Government wrong foreign policy choices:                                                 

The government of south Sudan was bound to disengage with the SPLM north following the secession of the south from the rest of Sudan but this never happened instead it continue to harbor these Sudanese rebel groups including elements from the Darfur rebels especially the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) culminating into the Sudan – south Sudan war of April 2012 five months after the country independence. Today these Sudanese rebel groups are still supplied with weapons and other military hardware by the government of the republic of south Sudan while at the same time operating from inside the territory of south Sudan where they make incursions into the Sudanese territory in their fight against the government of the republic of Sudan.

The government in Juba established friendly relations with the republic of Uganda that supplied by proxy weapons and other military logistics to the Sudanese rebel factions and a known regional destabilizing hegemon believed to have engendered multiple regional conflicts such as the Congo DRC and Rwandan conflicts among others. The Ugandan government under President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is known to have soar relations with most of African countries in the region and especially with Sudan and Congo DRC as the former tries to impose himself as a regional leader.

The government of south Sudan established relations with the Chinese authorities with the purpose of soliciting financial assistance as well as to be supply by the Chinese with weapons as the country is heading toward downward spiral of economic collapse and an endless internal conflict. They also established relations with the Russian federation and went as far as extending an invitation to President Vladimir Putin of Russia to visit Juba but this Invitation was later turned down and had never materialized. These moves by the government of south Sudan ultimately compromised their relations with the west especially its bilateral relations with the United States who were the main architects of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA), the backers of independence of south Sudan and the main development partners since 2005.

In September 2012, the two presidents of the Republics of Sudan and south Sudan signed the twelve cooperation pacts which were anticipated to usher in a period of détente following a sever relations that had characterized the two states following the country split. However, these agreements were short live and could not change the status quo as south Sudan government suddenly invited Uganda–a bitter enemy of the republic of Sudan to bring into south Sudan its military known as Ugandan Defense Force UPDF to protect the country leadership from losing power in the aftermath of the war that had flared up in the country capital Juba in late 2013. Moreover, south Sudan government invited the Sudanese rebel movements to fight alongside its forces in its war with the SPLA/M IO promising them with a lot of cash and other war dividends as well as supplying them with military logistics that would enable them fight the government in Khartoum.

Finally, faced with a looming economic sanctions and arm embargo and following the dismissal of its version of events of an attempted coup as the main cause of the current conflict, the regime in Juba is falling out with the countries of the region and even beyond as far as the western hemisphere citing neglect by these countries who according to them should support them during their difficult times. Today the regime is at a collision course with troika countries ie (United States, United Kingdom and Norway) the so called friends of IGAD and rumors had it that the regime went as far as planning to sever relations with those countries.

The correct foreign policy decisions that would have been taken:

If the government of south Sudan were to apply the rational model in making their decisions by weighing the benefits and costs of each decision, they would have not opted for Uganda relationship instead of Sudan where south Sudanese much of the economic survival depends at least for the time being. The money that the government in Juba obtains from the oil trade flowing through the Sudanese territory which accounts to 98% of the country GDP cannot be found from Uganda rather it is the republic of Uganda which is the main beneficiary in its bilateral relations with the republic of south Sudan.

On the other hand, to harbor the Sudanese rebels inside south Sudan territory and supply them with weapons to fight the government of Sudan that have just help the south become independence and which is the main economic life line for the south Sudanese people due to the pipeline that currently transport the country oil is a decision that diplomatically makes no sense at all. If you weigh the benefits of the military assistance obtain from Uganda with the economic interest from Sudan you will undoubtedly go for the economic interest because right now the oil is the backbone of the country economy while the military assistance from Ugandan siphon these money out of the country.

Lastly, the relationships of south Sudan with the Chinese and Russians at the expense of the west does not give any incentive to the south. After all the Chinese are just interested in oil investment where their giant oil corporations benefits from the oil sector investment in south Sudan not to mention the Russians who seem to be so distance from Africa in general leave alone south Sudan. The Russians have no trade link nor any other interest be it political, economic, cultural or otherwise with south Sudan, and therefore to dump the west that had propped up this nation from its cradle is not only a decision detrimental to the national interest of the south Sudanese people, but it also justifies complete ignorance from part of the regime with the diplomatic realities of this volatile world.


Judging from the actions taken by the government of the republic of south Sudan in its dealing with foreign policy issues, you would clearly understand that these decisions were taken without following sound diplomatic procedures and ultimately leading to decisions that were not well informed. Obviously, to risk a diplomatic war with the west, the south Sudanese government is absolutely playing with fire that they will not be able to extinguish once its gather momentum. According to the realists’ school of thought, the notion of self help where “might makes right” is still very much at play in the international politics so long as states wield enormous power. While cooperation between states sometimes exists, yet states have various diplomatic cards at their disposal which they can use as a remedy depending on the diplomatic situation at hand. It is therefore imperative that South Sudan government adjust its diplomatic standing among the community of nations; otherwise it will be branded as antagonists that do not follow the standard norms by refusing to play by the diplomatic rules of the game.

You can reached me at

  10 comments for “South Sudan: A Diplomatic Fiasco

  1. latdieu2008
    April 5, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Thank you James for your opinion yet a illiterate person can’t performed and copying mechanism of others. Its hard work to educate byre man whose main had been dominated by grabbed. Kiir is not aware about the quality of who have been to save people life than interests.


  2. GatNor
    April 5, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    The war would have been over by now had one of the super powers directly armed, trained and logistically equipped the Oppositions on a loan payment to start upon victory of forming the new government type of a deal. Those who wish to export democracy to this particular region of Africa should have invested millions even billions and their investment is guaranteed a huge return the shortest time possible in a democratic environment without corruption and looters.


    • April 6, 2015 at 12:37 am

      GatNor, Lou stupid Man, you where given guns loan by Arab to distort liberation war against Dr: Garang until you give Arab power to take Juba again in 1991, you were defeated now we have the country, get guns loans and that cheated country will regret or you will sell LOU cows to paid, let Ngundeng give you loans, nuers never have good history of uniting for good things for the country. you always unity for only Nuers benefits and worse to other tribes since all nuers wars are useless, not worthy to be mentions even ,
      just internal looting,killing within the South, Death and failure will follow them all the time may God give Kiir, power, to give Nuers enough suffering in their home land so that they may not travel to raids, kill Dinka , Murle and shilluks in their home land. Nuer population is a curse to this country.


  3. Ghol Chol
    April 6, 2015 at 12:31 am


    There will be no way those so-called superpowers of yours that would dare openly arm your Nuer tribal armed aimless rebellion, but probably would likely arm your tribal and aimless armed rebellion on the sly just like they are currently doing now. Because those so-called superpowers of yours are not that stupid to openly support a sociopath, like Riek Machar; for they know Riek Machar isn’t wanted by the South Sudanese people and the South Sudanese people would get Riek Machar anyway, Whether those so-called superpowers of yours want it or not.

    Ultimately, the bucks stop with the South Sudanese people and not from any rubbish from the distant lands. Look when those so-called superpowers of yours messed-up Libya, see how Libya is now? When those so-called superpowers of yours messed-up with Syria, Iraq and Ukraine; see how those countries are fairing now?!

    It another very easy to meddle in other people’s affairs and it is another thing all together to won-up the eventual messes you may be getting yourself into. If South Sudan and the South Sudanese people do behaved like Riek Machar and his Nuer tribe men, there wouldn’t be South Sudan today, everybody knows this and those superpowers of yours can’t risk to openly support a sociopath that is even not wanted in South Sudan let alone (Riek Machar) be allowed to rule anyone in South Sudan again—-it will be a waste of their time and resources those so-called superpowers of yours.

    Even if a peace would be signed today, there will be now way under the sun will Riek Machar and his Nuer goons be allowed to walk the streets of South Sudan, not under any circumstances, never ever again in South Sudan.

    Welcome back Riek Machar and his Nuer tribal goons as part of the new government of South Sudan to rule South Sudan and the South Sudanese people and they will be shot and kill no secret about this. And the Nuers will throw their usual tantrums again and the Dinkas that the hate will fight them again.

    Another Nuer apart from Riek Machar will help the situation, but Riek Machar Riek Machar and his Nuer tribal goons isn’t welcomed back into South Sudanese people. Not unless there are no Dinkas in South Sudan, majority rules. The Nuers must understand this, if they don’t want to accept this plain fact; then the Nuers must pack up their bags and move else.

    It has becomes apparently clear that Riek Machar, his Nuers goons and their evil backers want to rule the South Sudanese people at all cost with their Riek Machar sociopath, just to fulfill their Ngundeng’s rubbish! This is not going to happen in South Sudan as far as South Sudanese and *the Dinka people *of South Sudanese are concerned.

    The Dinka people of the South Sudan took up arms before against the cloned so-called arabs and they will again take up arms to fight Riek Machar, his Nuer goons and their backers. Trust this.


    • Deng II
      April 6, 2015 at 6:27 am

      Ghol Chol
      definitely, I do agreed with your analytical well positioned. We always talk about democratic, well in democratic, majority rule when majority cast their vote. frankly speaking, it doesn’t matter if Kiir step down tomorrow and SS say let us schedule the elections, Riek will never win the election because no Dinka will vote for him. He may get Mabior Garang but not enough for God sake. So the question is, would Nuer keep rebelling when they see Dinka keep winning the election? If they keep rebelling when one of Dinka worn a election, then there will be no peace in SS.


    • GatNor
      April 6, 2015 at 8:27 am

      The ethnic regime of Jaang messed up South Sudan by massacring thousand of Nuers ethnics. Get that right.


  4. Francis Kenyi
    April 6, 2015 at 1:12 am

    Dear James,
    What honestly can the West or Troika Countries do for South Sudan,i know some of you are obsessed with Western Democracy or ideals,Human rights,the chaos caused by the Troika world wide is evident,Libya,Iraq,Afhagnistan,Congo,Tunisa Vietnam,one thing you seem to fail to understand is America is very greedy,they went to Iraq did they find Weapons of Mass Destruction NO,so iam sure you dont understand USA foreign policy very,well,they bent on destroying stable countries turning them into beggars,Libya was once a prosperous country,look at it now,its reduced to ashes,look at Iraq,Syria ..ISIS is a creation of the West to destabilise the Middle-East,when i see some of your articles,they are very shallow and lack the depths,The conflict in South Sudan is much more deeper than corruption,ethnicim,underdevelopment,but the key issue is more to do the with Oil,its the New Coldwar between the West and China ,Russia the really fact is the Troika want 100% oil control of our resources,they are not happy at all with Chinese,silently they offering their Support to SPLM/IO which is not a hidden fact,covertly providing weapons,paying all the costs of hotel bills for the Rebels in Ethiopia,Khartoum government is supply weapons to SPLM/IO its not an open secret,they even want to annex Abeyi,14 mile …so James America has no permanent friends,you talk of democracy but what works in the West cannot work in Africa,China has survived on Communism,running a free market economy but remained stable,Cuba is having a Communist regime but surviving,so its better to have our own systems of governance which are suitable for us……… i know some of you are used to being under Arabs or being Colonised that is why are you are saying we rather have a relationship with Khartoum,am sure you have forgotten so quickly the blood our fathers which has been spilled for our freedom,do you remember the oppression,suffering generations have suffered because of slavery by claim Uganda is not the best,but the fact remains that is a Regional Power,its doesnot have alot of resources,but Foreign policy is key for it,when Somalis were dying they went cleaned up Somalia which is in Progress,Rwanda Liberation was engineered by Uganda,Burundia peace process was handled by Uganda,hosting of Guerilla bases for ANC,it has stood with the people of Darfur and Blue Nile against the oppresive regime of Khartoum the bitter truth is Uganda has a country stands its ground am sure by now you would ask yourself how comes the West or Troika countries have failed to Push Uganda out of South Sudan not because they cannot but its American foreign policy at work,Uganda is America,China and Russia they do all the dirty work for them,America loves people like that,do the opposite of what they dont want and you will be their best friend so you can continue making noise………… Our leaders in the SPLM/IO are so myopic,the are just very greedy individuals,they were all in government siphoning billions of dollars invested in East Africa,Austrailia,UK and USA,they were all involved in Extra Judicial killings,they claiming now they fighting for Justice,Development,Equality……………they are just a bunch of greed goons……….


    • Deng II
      April 6, 2015 at 6:51 am

      Francis Kenyi
      I agreed fully with your comment with a lot an examples. I would added that, in USA for example, there are so many killing of Minority people on daily basics by the Police, in fact the law give them power to kill. Now do they have right to go to South Sudan and lecturing people for Human Right? I don’t know, it may be that they put in place a manipulation of law to justify killing of black people.


  5. April 6, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Tribal gov’t of Salva Kiir – Kuol Manyang – Malog Awan – Makui Lueth – Alew Ayieny – Philip Aguer is now existing and S. Sudan – peoples’ gov’t of Dr. Riak Machar – Gen. Ladu Gore will come into effect where every will feels proud of South Sudan in the eyes other Countries’ citizens (Foreigners). It is just a matter of time my fellow citizens!


  6. GatNor
    April 6, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Deng II,Ghol Chol and Deng, please stop lying and tell the truth for once.


Post a comment or reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: