Africa fails again on Mugabe

posted at 9:15 am on July 8, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

True to form, the collection of dysfunctional states on the African continent have turned toady for one of their own brutal dictators.  South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki leads once again in running interference for Robert Mugabe, arguing against international sanctions for Zimbabwe while he remains in power.  Mbeki and and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade warned the G-8 away from action:

Africa leaders have told the G8 group of nations meeting in Japan that they oppose sanctions being imposed on Zimbabwe following controversial polls.

“I said that sanctions… wouldn’t change the regime,” Senegal’s leader Abdoulaye Wade told AFP news agency.

South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki reportedly told G8 leaders that UN sanctions could lead to civil war.

Excuse me, but what exactly does Mbeki believe to have happened over the last few months — and years? Mugabe’s goons have murdered scores of opposition leaders, displaced thousands, and plotted to drive two million people out of their homes. Does that qualify as a civil war — or perhaps a genocide, at least a political one? Mugabe has declared war on his own people; Mbeki refuses to recognize it.

Tanzanian president and head of the African Union, Jakaya Kikwete, insisted that a power-sharing arrangement between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai was the preferred solution.  How exactly would that work?  The militias and the military leadership of Zimbabwe would suddenly shift their allegiances to Tsvangirai after murdering his supporters?  A power-sharing arrangement would be an invitation to assassinate Tsvangirai, because Mugabe wouldn’t share power at all.  If Mugabe wanted to honestly share power, he wouldn’t have ordered the murder of his political opponents and the massive terror campaign against their supporters.

The answer from the G-8 should be short and to the point.  If Africa insists on protecting Mugabe, then Africa has seen the last dime of aid from the West.  Bono and Bob Geldof notwithstanding, the West does not need to prop up tyrannies and the toadies that act as their apologists.  South Africa in particular should be ashamed of its role in assisting Mugabe with his oppression.   Let them survive on normal trade and the consequences of their own political choices.

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But Bush is a fascist.

Farmer_Joe on July 8, 2008 at 9:22 AM

I don’t mean this as a commentary on you, Ed, but where’s Allah? We haven’t seen him around in the past few days.

A power-sharing arrangement would be an invitation to assassinate Tsvangirai, because Mugabe wouldn’t share power at all.

I don’t think he’d even kill him. The military would be under Mugabe’s command and Tsvangirai would have less power than a community organizer. Like with the election, Tsvangirai would realize the futility and walk away.

amerpundit on July 8, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Africa is a mess…
Is there a more miserable place on earth then some of these African nations…

right2bright on July 8, 2008 at 9:35 AM

Africa is the worst waste of foreign aid dollars in our history. Pull out, stop sending them a penny, and let them figure out how to function. It’s not rocket science. They can do it.

Jaibones on July 8, 2008 at 10:03 AM

It’s only a matter of time before S. Africa goes Zimbabwe.
It’s quite clear that the leading politicians in S. Africa admire Mugabe.

MarkTheGreat on July 8, 2008 at 10:05 AM

Anyone with a passing remnant of a brain stem knew years ago that Mugabe was a fiendish henchman of the first order. The fact now, years later and thousands dead and millions impoverished, I could care less what happens in that part of Africa. In fact if you told me today that last night the entire area disappeared I would continue reading the sports page. I would figure that the good went to heaven and the bad are burning. Either way, it’s better there than here.

Africa for the most part is a godforsaken shit hole run by tribal leaders who pretend to walk on two legs. I repeat what I said years ago, Mugabe should be shot on sight.

Where are the Zimbabwe patriots at home and abroad? How many family members does he have to kill before you take it personally? There have been ample opportunities to whack this piece of shit these last twenty years. Before the current phony outrage at Mugabe’s behavior, he flitted about the world showing up at any number of galas, not to mention being feted at the UN, enjoying the sights and sounds of New York nightlife while spying his next Rolex.

My sympathy well has run dry. If old Rhodesians are not prepared to do anything why should I.

As to South Africans, Mandela, the Rev Tutu et al, they are useless finger pointing race baiting hustlers. These suckers are all about tribe. F’k em.

patrick neid on July 8, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Sanctions are certainly not the answer. They hurt the poor, not the tyrant.

Kevin M on July 8, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Cap’n Ed vs AP….

Is this a Hot Air Coup de’tat?

:)

Vntnrse on July 8, 2008 at 10:13 AM

patrick neid on July 8, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Oof.

Well said sir.

LimeyGeek on July 8, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Sanctions would either become completely corrupt and a cash cow for Mugabe and UN kleptocrats — like Iraq — or an excuse to starve the people of Zimbabwe and blame the US — like Iraq. Saddam created the template for turning sanctions against the world community. Saddam nearly pulled off the hat trick: world approval, no sanctions, and WMDs.

Beagle on July 8, 2008 at 10:17 AM

I just want to say that Hot Air’s Ed and Allah are the absolute best tag-team political/current event analysis evah!

aquaviva on July 8, 2008 at 10:22 AM

At this point, foreign aid serves primarily to further enrich the rulers, little to none of it ever reaches the people in need.

Continuing aid to such countries serves one purpose, and one purpose only. To make the person (or country) giving the aid, feel good about themselves.

It’s past time to end all foreign aid.

MarkTheGreat on July 8, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Is it White guilt, or the bigorty of low expectations, in the UN that says, “Africa can continue to be corrupt & murderous–what else do you expect?”

jgapinoy on July 8, 2008 at 10:30 AM

Ed:

the West does not need to prop up tyrannies and the toadies that act as their apologists.

Nope. That’s the job of the Russians and, especially, the Chinese. (Witness the latter’s dirty fingers in Sudan and Zimbabwe.) And they’ll be more than happy to pick up the slack once we go home.

Emotionally, I agree with you, Ed. But the strategic and humanitarian realities of Africa require our involvement.

irishspy on July 8, 2008 at 10:48 AM

“Sure Mugabe is a lying, murdering idiot but he’s our lying, murdering idiot.” – African leaders.

TooTall on July 8, 2008 at 10:52 AM

Too bad the monster isn’t White. That would solve the problem.

Hening on July 8, 2008 at 10:54 AM

“Mugabe hasn’t killed anyone but his own people!”

“Sadaam hasn’t killed anyone but his own people!”

Same old, same old.

(HT ProtestWarrior.com)

psrch on July 8, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Africa.

Leave it alone.

Stop all foreign aid to Africa. Close all our embassies in Africa. Walk away. Let it go.

It’s time to let Africa sink or rise on its own. We have no business there. Let them take care of themselves.

pabarge on July 8, 2008 at 11:00 AM

Leave Africa to its own destiny.

For a continent so large, why come does the rest of the world have to keep pouring money into a lost cause?

madmonkphotog on July 8, 2008 at 11:05 AM

The key comment here is the fact that cessation of foreign aid will lead to a CIVIL WAR. If that’s what it takes for the people to stand up to tyrants and dictators so be it!

Remember our own country’s history…it wasn’t all that long ago.

PatriotPete on July 8, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Leave Africa to its own destiny.

For a continent so large, why come does the rest of the world have to keep pouring money into a lost cause?

madmonkphotog on July 8, 2008 at 11:05 AM

Two main reasons – diamonds and oil, possibly uranium also.
There are many natural resources in Africa that the rest of the world wants.

That and they can’t go under until they transfer that 75 mil that I won to my account – they seem to have run into some paperwork problems – very inefficient.

Corsair on July 8, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Sanctions were used heavily to allow Mbeki and others to get into power in South Africa. Is he saying sanctions are skin-tone sensitive?

However, lumping all of Africa into the Mbeki mold is a mistake; the countries over there are as different as elsewhere. And, like everywhere else, the leadership rarely speaks for the people (does it even do so in this country anymore?). Mbeki’s own popularity at home is suffering on this issue.

All aid must stop for Zimbabwe, period; it’s only used to keep that monster in power. People need to rise up, or vote with their feet. Our resources can go elsewhere, into more stable regions.

michaelo on July 8, 2008 at 11:24 AM

It’s so ironic, to me anyway, when scientists claim that the African continent (including the Middle East) was the “birthplace of man”, and they’re sooo far behind in the evolutionary process.

For being the birthplace of man, the African continent sure is evolutionarily challenged. The African continent has always been inhabited by tribal savages, and it seems it always will be. They have nothing to offer the world but drama and suffering. It’s time to cut the cord.

SilverStar830 on July 8, 2008 at 11:36 AM

we need to fund a guerilla war against mugabe…give him a taste of his own medicine…

right4life on July 8, 2008 at 11:43 AM

patrick neid on July 8, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Very well said.

Redhead Infidel on July 8, 2008 at 12:34 PM

“If Africa insists on protecting Mugabe, then Africa has seen the last dime of aid from the West. Bono and Bob Geldof notwithstanding, the West does not need to prop up tyrannies and the toadies that act as their apologists.”

Now there’s an empty, feel-good gesture! Ditto for economic sanctions, which if anybody bothers to look at Saddamist Iraq or North Korea, for example, clearly do more to prop up tyrants than any form of aid ever did. Dictators controlling and hoarding resources simply consolidate their power, while resistance is further reduced by impoverishment and starvation. China and Russia, of course, are always happy to step into the breach — expanding their spheres of influence without the inconvenience of competition from the west and cementing corruption at every level.

While I sympathize with the desire to do something, economic measures do nothing to rectify injustice; they are a tool of containment which simply fences in the slaughter till dictators consolidate enough power & lucre to begin exploring their potential nuclear options.

JM Hanes on July 8, 2008 at 1:03 PM

Maybe a few million african americans are needed over there in africa to lend their expertise in good ol’ western democracy and entrepreneurial spirit. They care, right?

wildweasel on July 8, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Mbecki is one of the biggest racists out there.

He’ll behave cowardly and unethically by not lifting a finger to help the suffering masses in Zimbabwe, confident that no black african leader will cajole him.

He’s equally confident that no white leader will cajole him for fear of being called a “RACIST!”.

He’s seen how well this works for Obama so you can’t blame him for trying it himself.

No news here. Africa has been a stinking cesspit for decades precisely because of people like Mugabe (a perp), Mbeki (an enabler), and the rest of us (financiers).

We are as guilty as the rest.

Ares on July 8, 2008 at 1:50 PM

If Africa insists on protecting Mugabe, then Africa has seen the last dime of aid from the West. Bono and Bob Geldof notwithstanding, the West does not need to prop up tyrannies and the toadies that act as their apologists.

Damn right. What you subsidize, you get more of. What Africa does not need is more tyrants like Mugabe.

Socratease on July 8, 2008 at 4:13 PM

Maybe we could loan them a candidate of hope and change that could simply charm Mr. Mugabe into relinquishing power by assuring him that he is safe from America?

Isn’t that basically the Dem approach to foreign policy? Let’s give it a shot and see if it works!

drunyan8315 on July 8, 2008 at 5:15 PM

Abandoning Africa wouldn’t leave them to themselves, but to the tender mercies of the rapacious Chinese. More militarism, more Marxism, more slash and burn economic exploitation. Hell yeah cut off Mugabe. Yes too to shaming South Africa on the world stage. We ought even to loudly insist on conditions to aid and enforce it. But cutting Africa off completely would not bring the apocalyptic bliss that some here seem to pine for; it would leave our hands unclean and invite Marxist tyrants to make things worse.

Maquis on July 8, 2008 at 5:16 PM

Mugabe, Obama, William Jefferson, Cynthia McKinny, that fool mayor of Detroit……I’m waiting for a Black politician that delivers the mail. I sure havn’t seen one in office yet.

It seems that all the good Black politicians like Michael Steel don’t get elected. Believe it or not, Jessie Jackson Jr. seems like a good man when you listen to him. But, I think the victim baggage many Blacks kling to fogs their ability to reason soundly.

saiga on July 8, 2008 at 5:27 PM

Perhaps it wouldn’t work to cease foreign aid as the Russians and Chinese would step in and expand their sphere of influence.

But, could we be smarter with our aid? Stop letting it go to corrupt politicians and start making sure it actually helps people?

Perhaps some “guerrilla aid” where we operate outside of the corrupt governments so they can’t steal their 90% processing fees off the top….

What we’re doing now certainly isn’t working, and I don’t see any reason to keep throwing good money after bad.

JadeNYU on July 8, 2008 at 5:34 PM

If Africa insists on protecting Mugabe, then Africa has seen the last dime of aid from the West.

So George Bush is like hitler for deposing a brutal murderous dictator and now he can be a hero for deposing a brutal murderous dictator?

I’m confused.

peacenprosperity on July 8, 2008 at 5:36 PM

Two main reasons – diamonds and oil, possibly uranium also.
There are many natural resources in Africa that the rest of the world wants.

All that will still be there when the famine, disease and genocide runs it’s course and it will be much cheaper.

peacenprosperity on July 8, 2008 at 5:38 PM

A little colonialism would do Zimbabwe well. Too bad there isn’t an East India company to seize a remote part of the country, defend it, and make it into a paradise to which the poor of Zimbabwe try to flock, running the gauntlet of Mugabi’s army to do so.

njcommuter on July 8, 2008 at 6:53 PM

IMHO, economic sanctions are the refuge of the ineffectual. Others here have made the case that the effects of economic sanctions were successfully routed by Saddam, with the willing complicity of the UN, Russia, and China.

The Bush Doctrine of strategic pre-emption suggests that the only way to deal with Mugabe is to invade and force regime change if its lawlessness becomes a invitation for terrorist groups to operate there.

While Mugabe may be a murdering b*stard, I haven’t yet come across any reports of al`Queda or any other groups setting up long-term shop in Zimbabwe, as they did in Sudan. Until something like that happens, all we can do is watch.

That being said, I agree with what patrick neid said above. When I was a much younger man, I used to believe that aid provided by NGOs such as World Vision would actually “help a child”. Now I understand that all such aid does is incentivize thuggish kleptocrats to continue raping their citizens through either outright theft of state resources, or else through a continued willingness to use strong-arm tactics to cow the populace and keep them in line.

Bottom line is, the citizens of African nations are ultimately responsible for the actions (or inaction) of their governments. If conditions get bad enough, eventually someone will rise up to push back on dictatorial leaders. However, as long as the West continues to pour aid into a black hole, those leaders siphon off enough of that aid to maintain their financial base with no need to correct any of their famine-causing policies.

I think Bono is the worst enabler in this regard. African leaders racked up huge debts that did nothing to benefit their citizens, and erasing those debts without first acknoweledging (and summarily deposing) the culprits only ensures that new debts will replace the old ones. Again, the citizenry suffers.

I realize that taking a strong stance on this issue flies in the face of “won’t you help a child?” adverts coming from the NGOs. Yet I believe that Africans deserve better from the West than the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Our help to those peoples should come as a reward for their having risen up and replaced bad leaders with good ones. Only then will our collective goodwill produce any tangible results.

Wanderlust on July 8, 2008 at 7:02 PM

It’s so ironic, to me anyway, when scientists claim that the African continent (including the Middle East) was the “birthplace of man”, and they’re sooo far behind in the evolutionary process.

For being the birthplace of man, the African continent sure is evolutionarily challenged. The African continent has always been inhabited by tribal savages, and it seems it always will be. They have nothing to offer the world but drama and suffering. It’s time to cut the cord.

SilverStar830 on July 8, 2008 at 11:36 AM

Are you saying Africa is less “evolved” than the west? And that civilizations “evolve” in a predictable, linear way? Cause if so you’re at least a few decades behind with your thinking. In other words, you’re sooo behind in the evolutionary process!!

I’m also interested how a continent inhabited by “tribal savages” is able to contain several countries experiencing 5% plus growth rates and developed, industrialized economies.

“I said that sanctions… wouldn’t change the regime,” Senegal’s leader Abdoulaye Wade told AFP news agency.

If you believe sanctions weren’t sufficient to cause a regime change in Iraq (and they clearly weren’t), why would they be sufficient in Zimbabwe? Wade’s statement isn’t an example of Africa “failing”. He was just making a reasonable observation.

crr6 on July 8, 2008 at 7:18 PM

The armpit of the world. A continent and people marked and cursed by God. I agree, cut off all aid, pull out. It will self destruct at a faster rate.

wepeople on July 8, 2008 at 7:35 PM

We can’t abandon Africa, even as screwed up as they are. It has been stated above, if we stop aid, the void will be filled by people with less than good intentions–the Russians and the Chinese. If we write them off, we will have another, bigger headache in 20 to 30 years.

p40tiger on July 8, 2008 at 8:59 PM

Believe it or not, Jessie Jackson Jr. seems like a good man when you listen to him.

saiga on July 8, 2008 at 5:27 PM

I disagree. He’s my congressman and I’ve listened to him plenty. I find him one click above retarded. His political philosophy is one click above Marxism (read his manifesto and tell me where I’m wrong).

He is embarrassingly stupid.

Jaibones on July 8, 2008 at 10:56 PM

I’m also interested how a continent inhabited by “tribal savages” is able to contain several countries experiencing 5% plus growth rates and developed, industrialized economies.

crr6 on July 8, 2008 at 7:18 PM

I’m not joining the original discussion, I just wanted to ask, which countries did you mean? Thanks in advance.

RD on July 9, 2008 at 1:16 PM