Following a March 29th vote where no candidate won an outright majority, Zimbabwe held a run-off Presidential election Friday. But, after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew, citing harassment and violence against his party and supporters, only current President Robert Mugabe's name appeared on the ballot. Even then, the government terrorized the electorate. Unsurprisingly, Mugabe won.
The result was denounced by most Western observers, including the EU, the US and Canada. Continuing its gutless string, however, the United Nations decided Saturday to sit on its hands:
The UN security council failed to agree on declaring Zimbabwe's run-off election illegitimate today in the face of South African opposition.Tuesday, the 53-nation African Union "conferred behind closed doors, with Mugabe in attendance" and "rejected calls to deny recognition to the disputed election results in Zimbabwe." So it shouldn't shock that Robert Mugabe refused calls to quit.
Instead, it merely issued an oral statement of regret over the one-candidate presidential vote.
US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad, who chairs the council this month, said members "agreed that conditions for free and fair elections did not exist and it was a matter of deep regret that the election went ahead in these circumstances".
The US and its European allies had pushed for adoption of a British-drafted statement that would have stated that the results of today's election "could have no credibility or legitimacy".
A Western diplomat said the aim was to send a strong message to persuade African Union (AU) leaders who will meeting in Egypt on Monday that they needed to get tough with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Adoption of the text would have required unanimous approval by all 15 members, but South Africa, backed by Russia and other countries, opposed it.
More destructive than an Asian tsunami or an Indian-ocean cyclone, Mugabe ruined Zimbabwe "through a series of disastrous, self-serving policies that have turned the former breadbasket of southern Africa into one of the world’s basket cases." Reporter Neely Tucker, who was based in Zimbabwe for three years until expelled in 2000, details the consequences of 28 years (six terms) of Mugabe's rule, in Tuesday's Washington Post:
Life expectancy is 36, the lowest in the world. Annual inflation at an unofficial rate of 4 million percent, which is, you might have guessed, the highest in the world. Grocery store shelves are empty. There are power failures every day and water shortages most days. There are roadblocks on most main roads, many of them run by armed thugs who will steal your food and remind you that the West is the enemy. There aren't any tourists to speak of. There was a presidential election the other day that doesn't really mean anything because the old man running the country has made it clear, in his megalomaniacal kind of way, that he will kill any number of black people so that he can spend the few years he has left in a deranged version of comfort. (There aren't enough white people left to make any difference.) The nation is one of the world's AIDS epicenters, a crisis that doesn't even rate headlines anymore because so much more is so much worse.After years of hearing "it can't go on like this", it has. So it's worth asking what, if anything, we have learned? In the Telegraph (U.K.), Simon Heffer answers:
A few years ago, when the tyrant of Zimbabwe was moving from being wicked to being downright evil, I wrote that we should invade Harare, depose him, and supervise free elections. Invited to appear on a BBC programme to defend this stance, I was assailed by an "Africa expert" who told me that diplomatic pressure on Mugabe was bound to work, that the idea of sending the Parachute Regiment in to sort the monster out was offensively colonialist, and that I was wrong.Conclusion: Contrary to the mainstream media, African slaughter isn't a product of global warming. Rather, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, murder mostly arises where evil remains unconfronted or is challenged only by the hortatory hand-twisting of hallucinatory hypocrites. And it's no use deferring to international norms--enforcement of "police powers" requires a sovereign, and since there's no "world government" (see UN Charter, Art. 2, cl. 1), international law often will fail to check Robert Mugabes. Still skeptical? Just ask, as Max Boot suggests, "the Vietnamese boat people or the victims of the Cambodian killing fields."
White liberals like him are as much to blame for the terror, starvation, brutality and genocide that now scar this once-rich and stable country. The supposedly civilised world has allowed Mugabe and his horrors to happen, mainly unchecked. Sanctions on his country merely starve those who disagree with him. Zimbabwe has all the natural, and had all the human, resources to be an example to the rest of Africa. It is now merely a symbol of what happens when a dictator takes charge, and those who might rein him in simply look away. . .
I know what a shock it must be to Leftists of all parties, with their uncritical adoration of African leaders from the saintly, such as Nelson Mandela, to the repulsive, such as Mugabe, to see that sometimes black people can be evil too. But that is the truth. And Zimbabwe may be the prologue to what may happen in South Africa after a decade of failure by Thabo Mbeki is followed by the rule of the dubious Jacob Zuma. It may be very uncomfortable and embarrassing for whites to intervene to stop the butchery of black tyrants. But if they don't, hecatombs of lives will be lost.
The connection to the question of whether the Democrats have the stones to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan--especially when we're winning and civil order expanding--seems obvious.
Norm Geras is correct that Heffer exaggerates--only murderers are responsible for murder--but downplays the broader point that a more interventionist foreign policy among Western nations would shorten the time span when thugs can kill.
(via Instapundit, Norm Geras, Jonah Goldberg)