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« Barrier Review - Part 2 | Main | Lebanon About to Erupt? »

July 10, 2007



Robert's book is quite heavy on the paranoia (just like the man he defends), but I thought he made quite a few good points on Zimbabwe. As he rightly asks: what are the alternatives? Do we want to invade Zimbabwe? I think not. Do we want to impose sanctions? Most people who think SA should do something about Zimbabwe had the view that sanctions on South Africa was a bad idea because it would hurt the very people it was supposed to help, so they would surely not support sanctions against the innocent people of Zimbawe. The truth is that there is not much we can do to stop the rot in Zimbabwe. Unless we get the USA to invade - but look what happened in Iraq....


Ironically Pierre, most people who supported sanctions against Apartheid South Africa and Smith’s Rhodesia now oppose sanctions against Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

I don’t believe that we can just throw our hands up in the air and say oh well there is nothing that we can do and what goes on in other peoples backyards (not matter how gruesome) is not our problem. When tyrants like Mugabe engage in the systematic oppression of their own people, the international community must act. I personally believe that a legitimate multinational organization should be charge with the authority to act in such cases. In theory the UN would be the idea tool. But given its utter incompetence in the face of Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur etc, other organization unfortunately have to take on the role. Fukuyama in his book After the Neocons makes the interesting point that legitimacy and effectiveness seem to be inversely proportional in relation to international humanitarian interventions. A UN sanctioned mission will far more legitimate may be severe watered down to accommodate the conflicting positions of its many diverse members. At the other extremely an American unilateral intervention may proved the necessary scope but of course lacks international credibility which in the end also hurts the chance for success (eg Iraq). He resolves this problem by arguing picking and choosing international organization depending on the extent of the crisis.

Quiet diplomacy has clearly failed. So now its time to ratchet up the pressure. Some combination of international stakeholders need to come together whether its SADC or the AU or the Commonwealth with South Africa as point man and set out a list of demands for Mugabe to meet. Include must be the punitive action that will take place if he fails to comply by a given time. I would start with sanctions. But ultimately if there is not other way to get him to stop his unacceptable behaviour than I would not rule out military action.


Pierre, I find it interesting that you oppose sanctions against Zimbabwe but probabely fully support sanctions against Israel.


Helen Zille's weekly letter makes a clear statement about Mugabe and his destiny as an international criminal. The crunch could be the Portuguese having the will to refuse him entry for the EU Africa meeting

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