Friday, July 04, 2008

Saving Zimbabwe

from Time magazine

The ruthlessness and savagery of Mugabe have given rise to two basic reactions in Africa and around the world: fruitless hand-wringing by committed multilateralists who want to solve the problem through "constructive engagement," and consequence-blind militarism by zealous moralists who call for regime change by force. Neither approach offers realistic hope for the people of Zimbabwe. Ending the Mugabe nightmare is still possible, but it will require a more radical diplomatic strategy than the world has tried so far....

Translation: You can remove murderous dictators for oil, but not for chrome and asbestor and gold.
Besides, if you get rid of Mugabe, there are half a million worse places you'd have to go...

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon should appoint his predecessor, Kofi Annan, fresh from brokering a power-sharing deal for Kenya, as the U.N.'s envoy to Zimbabwe. One by one, those African and Western leaders who claim to be disgusted with Mugabe should announce that they bilaterally recognize the validity of the March 29 first-round election results, which showed the opposition winning 48% to 43%, though the margin was almost surely larger. The countries which do would make up the new "March 29 bloc" within the U.N. and would declare Morgan Tsvangirai the new President of Zimbabwe. They would then announce that Mugabe and the 130 leading cronies who have already been sanctioned by the West will not be permitted entry to their airports.

Tsvangirai and his senior aides should do as South Africa's African National Congress did throughout the 1960s and '70s: set up a government-in-exile and appoint ambassadors abroad--including to the U.N. That ambassador should be given forums for rebutting the ludicrous claims of the Zimbabwean and South African regimes.

If "the U.N." is disaggregated into its component parts, Mugabe's friends will be exposed. "June 27" countries will be those who favor electoral theft, while "March 29" countries will be those who believe that the Zimbabweans aren't the only ones who should stand up and be counted. This can be a recipe for gridlock in international institutions--but the gridlock won't get broken by lamenting its existence. It will get broken when the heads of state who back Mugabe are forced out into the open and when constructive engagement of the new President of Zimbabwe begins.

Yup. As if it will make a damn bit of difference. But it looks nice on paper.

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