The fact that South Africa maintains and expands its relations with international pariahs such as Russia for nostalgic and ideological reasons could cost the country dearly since it cannot be assumed that the West will continue to stand idly by. The stakes are high — much of South Africa's investment and trade are with the West and its military equipment is sourced from there. If South Africa does not change its course and continues to try to play both sides, it risks ending up as a pariah itself.
In criticizing South Africa for its ties with Moscow, the West is once again applying double standards. This is also true of the naval drills with Russia and China, which in no way mean that Pretoria is abandoning its neutral stance amid the Ukraine war. Moreover, it is hypocritical to criticize the drills but remain silent when Washington demonstrates military power at will. As a sovereign country, South Africa is no longer willing to bow to Western definitions of right and wrong.