Thursday, July 31, 2008

Zimbabwe - Samantha Power, Time Magazine, July 2008

The entire article in the July 3, 2008 Time magazine may be found by clicking.

As I have previously offered, I am deeply enamored by Samantha Power / and or by her brilliance and her passion. Her writing style is equally engaging and thought-provoking. She could have a huge wart on her nose and chin, and it would be overlooked.

Having clarified my bias, I have to disagree with her set-up of the Zimbabwe question.

Robert Mugabe, mass murderer, killer, thug, dictator, and monster, stole an election in which the majority of people in Zimbabwe (the ones who remained alive and were able and willing to vote) voted for Morgan Tsvangirai. Mugabe ignored the facts and continued on his merry path as dictator, living in a palatial property (I have previously posted links to it, while his country falls into ruin.

Power informs us that there are two approaches (simply put) to the Zimbabwe issue:
- mutlilateralists, and
- moralists

The multilateralists want to solve the issue through engagement, while the moralists are consequence-blind of the intended outcome.

Power does not believe either position will work. instead, we need a third option, and she provides her thoughts on that option:

Get Kofi Annan (remember Rwanda - he handled that one very well, and will spend eternity in working off the sins of his Rwandan contributions) involved as a representative of the UN.

Get each African leader to take a position on the election and ultimately amass a significant number of African leaders to recognize Morgan Tsvangirai as president. Those countries would then refuse Mugabe and his henchmen entry into their country.

Morgan Tsvangirai would set up a government in exile and carry on like any government from some other location, ultimately resulting onto UN states lining up with Mugabe or Tsvangirai. Forcing member states to face the difficult issue would ultimately force a change. nations tend not to appreciate having confrontational issues offered up for the world to watch, and we would humiliate (this is my term, but basically this is what would be hoped for) them into changing sides and supporting Morgan Tsvangirai.

I hope I summed it up reasonably well Ms. Power.

I understand all you have done in regard to the Rwandan Genocide. From the travels, book, lectures, articles, columns, lobbying, private conversations with government officials - I recognize all of that, but.

Your approach to Mugabe does not end Mugabe's rule this week, month, or even this year. The deaths will continue, the systematic rape, and murder of the innocent will continue. Your approach is more multilateral than not. You believe that the individual member states will do the right thing because. Yet Russia arms the worlds bad guys, while Israel, France, and Germany arm anyone who isn't armed, and the US fills in the gaps to governments in need. The right thing Ms. Power. Rwanda went on for 100 days, as you know, but it had gone on for decades in greater and lesser ranges of violence, Uganda, Burundi, Congo ... and those member states you believe will act ... never did and have yet to act. Sudan. What have the member states done as yet, but offer demands to a government that does not care, and platitudes to the dying.

I do believe Ms. Power that your approach will work, eventually. Do you think Mugabe cares that he cannot land in a few countries. His country will sell goods and import regardless. So he doesn't visit other despotic leaders for life, in other countries - what does he ultimately care? I do not think he does. He prefers countries where money buys access and I assure you, whatever public face is put on it; a few dollars will buy him access to wherever he wants to go - much like Saddam's bribes to various governments, to oppose the US in the UN.

Further, you assume Mugabe is in control. Recent revelations by someone in close proximity to him (the article/news of this is located within an article I have posted and listed under the label Zimbabwe), in attendance at a meeting called by Mugabe after the election at which time he told the attendees he was about to resign, at which time the military informed Mugabe, that he would not be permitted to quit. Imagine how your plan would work out Ms Power - he resigns and the military take control and a bloodbath ensues.

Your policy would perpetuate the actions in Zimbabwe just as Kofi aided indirectly in the genocide of Rwanda. He should not be a UN representative; he should be in the dock.

As I stated above, I do think your policy would work - eventually, and to expedite it, a more aggressive approach would be useful - the moralists, if you will.

Despite the fact you believe the moralists start from flawed assumptions, including the fact that moralists want to revive the Bush Doctrine, I wish you would stay off Iraq, but it is well worth a full discussion.

Ridiculing multilateralism - much like the Bengali approach to Rwanda, or perhaps the UN approach 101 days later. I refuse to ridicule the multilateral approach - I prefer condescension to ridicule. Pathetic is one word to describe multilateral efforts. UN peacekeepers a) end up killing/raping the innocent or, b) end up killed. There is the Bengali approach - we're here for training, not fighting.

I would suggest that world super-powers (the US) has an obligation to act in cases of genocide or comparable, with or without the UN, as provided for in the Rome Statutes.

Whether it is to indict the leader or remove him, demand he leave, force him to leave using all the resources available to the US short of war, while always keeping war as the final option available should all other options fail. You argue that the stick approach (or as you deem it, the Bush Doctrine) is, without a doubt on every level, wrong - I would suggest you have forgotten your book and a theme that ran through Problem from Hell. I feel very comfortable agreeing with Bishop Tutu on this issue, and I am pleased he recognizes the right of a nation to intervene (or the UN) in a member states domestic issues in specific cases. I don't recall where he was with Iraq, but at least he arrived to the party.

Bush offered Saddam 3 years worth of opportunities to leave, flee, go away - Saddam did not believe that Bush was serious due to the incoherence in the multilaterlalist Democratic congress / media, the French, the Germans, the Chinese, the Russians, and the world media.

Had he known what awaited him, that Bush was deadly serious - he would have left. We know he would, because until the last hours, he believed the US would ride in and save his life, put him back in control to stem al-Qaeda influence.

If the US spoke with commitment and determination to Mugabe - leave, take you baggage with you, go to wherever you wish, here is a suitcase of cash - go now. It is, in my opinion, more than likely that he would.

Use your approach, and the stick, and bang the bushes a bit, as you negotiate.

I want him gone as much as you do, for humanitarian reasons. I believe that your approach alone will perpetuate the death, and rape of Zimbabwe; while multilateralists will see Mugabe gone only when he dies of old age.

Samantha Power



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