Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Applying the Five Point Blair Test to Mugabe

We read today that Mugabe is killing known supporters of the opposition with total lack of restraint. And this on top of: ignoring the earlier poll victory of Morgan Tsvangirai; preventing international charities from disributing food; and claiming the UK/US are behind an imperialist plot to reclaim Zimbabwe for the whites. Today the Guardian offers apoll on whether African states should intervene to 'avert bloodshed'? Others still maintain the west should intervene and topple the shameless dictator.

We know Blair would have liked to get rid of the liberator turned tyrant and in his 1999 Chicago speech offered a five point test to judge whether such 'liberal humanitarian' intervention is justified:

1. Are we sure of our case? There can be no doubt that Mugabe has ruined his country's economy, plundered its resources and imposed upon it a heartless regime of brutal totalitarian control. The evidence is now overwhelming.

2. Are diplomatic options exhausted? It seems South Africa and China are not inclined to use their considerable potential influence and all other attempts at sanctions and the like has found Mugabe contemptuously immovable.

3. Are we prepared for the long term? hard to say as nobody as yet is even on the starting blocks.

4. Are national interests involved? not directly, apart from the interest everyone has in defending human rights.

5. 'Are there miltary operations we can sensibly undertake'? Mugabe would last no time at all should even a small force be deployed if his army is as cossetted and unsued to action as I suspect.

But this last is the killer condition. Mugabe is a monster but a number of African states- few of which worry too much about human rights- still admire the man for standing up to the west and not so long ago gave him a standing ovation at a meeting of African states. As long as he retains such support western intervention is well nigh impossible. Zimbabwe's geography makes it hard to invade and for forces to be kept supplied- nearby allies would be necessary. The UN would be paralysed by vetoes from African states, not to mention China, which now has big economic interests in the country. So the tragedy continues and we can only stand impotently by, until either Mugabe dies- and for an 84 year old he looks pretty fit- or surrounding African states change their minds.

But what about Mbeki? South Africa remains the most important power in the region and he's been very soft.

He paid a price in terms of race riots recently, but still sits on the sidelines.
I agree, He has been incredibly weak and earned the ire of his rival- Jacob Zuma. But a number of South African leaders arer now at last raising their voices. But with the election less than a fortnight away, they are probably too late to stop the awful Musabe.
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