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There is something pathetic about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to spin the way he is handling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and his apparent naivete is ever more disturbing as Russia ratchets up its aggression against military and civilian targets alike.

Not that it matters in a global context: SA is a bit player and any notion that it could play any meaningful role in mediating a vicious conflict launched unilaterally by Russia simply reflects delusions of grandeur. SA may once have mattered in the era of Nelson Mandela, and it still sometimes punches above its weight in global forums such as the Group of 20, but it’s a small, shrinking and faraway economy and it matters little to the world now. Yet its economy will be hit, just as the world economy will be, by the consequences of the war against Ukraine. That war now looks like it could last for some time, whatever delusions of mediation SA’s president might have, and could cause huge human tragedy and major macroec...

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