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Zimbabwe: Modern failure

DemiurgeDemiurge Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
Zimbabwe, currently undergoing the worst economic crisis in modern history, with inflation over 100% a day and a dictatorship government in all but name. Recently the opposition presidential candidate backed out of the election because of intimidation and many of his supporters being beaten, killed and raped for supporting his candidacy and Mugabe was "re-elected".

A lot of pressure has been put on Mugabe from the international community, China, a former ally of his government has been distancing itself, viewing any money invested in the country at this point money down the drain.

What are people's views on the situation? Should the internatiol community step in? Are sanctions enough, will it only expand the problem? There are currently over a hundred thousand people displaced after the election, whole towns have been bulldozed as part of a project to "clean up".

I firmly believe that waiting it out and hoping he dies off soon will only worsen the situtation and prolong the suffering, a millitary intervention is neccessary and a provincial government set up until the country can be brought into a form of normality.

Demiurge on
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Posts

  • MeizMeiz Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, cause we all know how well military intervention works out.

    Quick kick flip comment aside, that's probably a fair assessment though but in order for any kind of intervention to work, multiple international parties would have to be involved.

    We could do something as asinine as giving them free gas like we did North Korea too...

    Meiz on
  • King RiptorKing Riptor Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    It'd be a wasted effort. I mean look at our track record with deposing dictators.

    King Riptor on
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  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I'll be the first to admit that I know a lot less about African politics than I'd like, but I found the stories coming out of Zimbabwe really horrifying. The Media then tells me that they African summit was conveining and that they were hoping that neighbouring nations would apply pressure and even refuse to Accept Mugabe.

    I figured that this sounded like a potential win for international diplomacy... Until I caught the tail end of the BBC coverage where they went through who all these "Leaders" at the summit were. Man, not many of them seemed any better than Mugabe!

    I'd love to know if anyone has a good source where I can get a better look at who these guys are and what they've done.

    But I was definitely all like D:

    Fallingman on
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  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    What makes this all the worse is that before Mugabe instituted his "land reforms" Zimbabwe was doing really well, they were essentially the bread-basket of Africa, with plenty of food to go around.

    In a few short years the country has pretty much collapsed.

    subedii on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think this may be a situation where intervention would perhaps he a good thing, though I understand that a unilateral approach would be amazingly shitty, given the current U.S. image problem and logistics problems.

    Zimbabwe is not at all analogous to Iraq however, and I think criticisms that link the two are horribly in the wrong.

    Loren Michael on
  • FallingmanFallingman Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I honestly dont know how you can interveine in something like this...?

    Fallingman on
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  • hesthefastesthesthefastest Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The only thing that can make Zimbabwe a fair and democratic country is the people of Zimbabwe.

    hesthefastest on
  • Something WittySomething Witty Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Canada should intervene and unveil the true power of their moose cavalry.

    Something Witty on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The only thing that can make Zimbabwe a fair and democratic country is the people of Zimbabwe.

    People need at least a modicum of stability and assurance that they won't be raped or murdered when they try to institute change. Roving gangs of thugs are kind of hard to organize against.

    Loren Michael on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fallingman wrote: »
    I honestly don't know how you can intervene in something like this...?

    Ideally with a massive military force that has international (preferably U.N.) backing, I think?

    Loren Michael on
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Fallingman wrote: »
    I honestly don't know how you can intervene in something like this...?

    Ideally with a massive military force that has international (preferably U.N.) backing, I think?
    I was under the impression that among other things, this would be a pain in the ass. Chiefly because Zimbabwe can just say "no way" and threaten to fight it and then we're facing the idea of an internationally backed invasion of a land locked country. Which is a hell of an issue by itself, even in an age of air power.

    electricitylikesme on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yes, I think that, short of an intervention of maybe a Teletubbies recording, there is a pain in the ass involved in the effort.

    I think that the Zimbabwe situation would definitely benefit form one though, and after the initial takeover, I think conditions would improve in, relative to Iraq, extremely short order. Zimbabwe, if I understand it correctly, is not stable in the same way Iraq was.

    Loren Michael on
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, the only real upside is that ostensibly there is a pre-existing government to turn power over too, but let's face it all we need is some equivalent of debaathication to take hold to fuck that up.

    EDIT: The other issue is, where would the US get the military forces for such an intervention? Iraq and Afgahnistan mean they certainly don't have much to throw around (I would say none). The UK is in a very similar boat, though probably much more able to legitimately exercise military power in Africa and able to ramp up it's deployments more.

    electricitylikesme on
  • SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    It's been like this for more than a decade. It just doesn't get into the news.

    What can we do? Convince S. Africa to stop helping Mugabe.

    Speaker on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    As I said, resources are tight right now. The U.S. would have a logistical nightmare in staging an intervention. I have no idea what the status is of other countries are, but I trust that they tend to be smaller but less tied up in two wars. International intervention would be ideal.

    The real upside is that there is an opportunity to return the country to stability. That is, the country is in a chaotic death spiral now. There's a lot more opportunities for the situation to improve than there is with no intervention at all, I think.

    Loren Michael on
  • SpeakerSpeaker Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Wait, what?

    Why in the name of hell would we invade? That wouldn't help anything.

    Jesus, Mugabe has been maintaining himself in power for years by claiming the British are trying to come back and reestablish control over the country. The last thing in the world they want there is a foreign occupying army.

    Speaker on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Speaker wrote: »
    Jesus, Mugabe has been maintaining himself in power for years by claiming the British are trying to come back and reestablish control over the country. The last thing in the world they want there is a foreign occupying army.

    I thought that when I typed "the U.N." and "international force" people would interpret those words as they were written. And when I suggested that a unilateral approach would be amazingly shitty, I was operating under the hope that people wouldn't overlook it.

    Loren Michael on
  • DemiurgeDemiurge Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well, I'm not American and this wasn't a "fix this shit america". When I say millitary intervention I mean a combined force of UN nations or the EU with UN backing. Of course this is impossible to pull off with Russia/China likely to veto anything like it (Russia is already threatening to veto sanctions).

    Demiurge on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited July 2008
    "International force" is a very nice phrase that's appealing to western liberals, but it doesn't change much on the receiving end of that force. Africans aren't very fond of European armies. You might even say they'd be less fond of them than an American one.

    And dammit, Mbeki! Stop being such a disappointment.

    Elki on
  • FirstComradeStalinFirstComradeStalin Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    To be fair, sanctions are completely useless and only serve to worsen a country's economic situation. The only thing Mugabe is concerned about maintaining is power. He clearly doesn't give a shit about the economy.

    FirstComradeStalin on
  • KartanKartan Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Speaker wrote: »
    Jesus, Mugabe has been maintaining himself in power for years by claiming the British are trying to come back and reestablish control over the country. The last thing in the world they want there is a foreign occupying army.

    I thought that when I typed "the U.N." and "international force" people would interpret those words as they were written. And when I suggested that a unilateral approach would be amazingly shitty, I was operating under the hope that people wouldn't overlook it.

    He would simply claim that the UN are there on the UKs behalf.


    Also, UN peacekeepers have a very spotty record in actually keeping the peace in the face of a determined opposition.

    the only ones who could do anything are the other african countries, and they won't. As for, democratic or peaceful change, several militias have announced that they would start a civil war if the opposition won in the presidential elections. This isn't one man and a bunch of thugs against his people, its one man and a non-trivial amount of the population against the majority of the population.

    Kartan on
  • QliphothQliphoth Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Kartan wrote: »
    the only ones who could do anything are the other african countries, and they won't.

    Pretty much this. The African Union could have taken a stand and booted mugabe out of the union but instead some of them supported him and the others said nothing. You'd think some of those countries that have seen genocide and civil war in their own countries would be more willing to help another country from heading down that road, but apparently not.

    Qliphoth on
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  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I don't think there is anything in the military sense that the international community can do in this situation, not easily anyway. Zimbabwe is landlocked, and its neighbours with good port facilities will be unlikely to allow a non African Union force to use their territory in this sense. This isn't anything personal against Mozambique/SA/Zambia etc, it is just the way that the AU operates. Further, even if they did suddenly overturn 50 years of non intervention then what exactly would they use? The AU is having enough trouble supplying effective military forces in the Sudan and the various other areas where it needs to operate. I suspect they wouldn't have the material forces to invade a country where they have uncertain chances of victory.

    In fact very few countries would let situations like this happen I suspect. Situations like Afghanistan , Kosovo or even E Timor are very rare and usually have other reasons in addition to preventing humanitarian disasters (say revenge/regional powers who value stability).

    Secondly, if the world didn't intervene during the near two decades of the Rhodesian UDI regime (the White minority regime that declared independence rather than submit to non racial democracy back in the 1960s), why would they now? At least back then Britain and France had spare forces or African experience to actually do something. Now, all the usual suspects are occupied in Iraq, Afghanistan or other areas, and most media reports I've read on military intervention capacity states that there is little spare capacity.

    Edit - Even if the AU had kicked Mugabe out, what good would that have done? It wouldn't have deposed him, it would just isolate him further internationally. Morocco was effectively kicked out of the OAU back in the day for invading W Sahara (well, it quit, but only after the OAU ruled against it). Morocco is still ruled by the same regime 30 years later.

    Kalkino on
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think the AU would be the best body to take care of this perhaps with some non-military backing by other nations.

    nexuscrawler on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Speaker wrote: »
    Wait, what?

    Why in the name of hell would we invade? That wouldn't help anything.

    Jesus, Mugabe has been maintaining himself in power for years by claiming the British are trying to come back and reestablish control over the country. The last thing in the world they want there is a foreign occupying army.

    No one likes the US, no one wants to have the US army invading their country. Simple as that.

    This is an issue only the Zimbabweans can properly solve, but they will need help with that, how can the rest of the world help?

    - Boycotting for the time being, all profit goes right in Mugabe's pockets anyway.
    - Supporting local people with food and whatever else they need, making them depend less on Mugabe
    - Getting Mugabe's friends to stop being nice to him.
    - AU should promise to back up the guy who won the elections (ie: the guy who was bullied away by Mugabe's thugs)

    To me the problem is that people like Tutu consider him their friend because he did some good things in the past. You can't get rid of someone when you've got mo'fuckin' Tutu sticking up for him. This diplomatic nightmare should be resolved by the AU, they function as a forum where most -all?- African leaders show up and they can put some real pressure on Mugabe. Us whiteys who fucked up Africa to begin with (and trust me, no one in Africa would forget this whole colonization thing from a few decades ago) cannot send our army in, shoot Mugabe through the skull and expect everything to be all right and being hailed as heroes.

    It's always important to remember that Africans leaders hardly ever leave office once their term is up, there's even a special monetary award for any leader who does, just to make it more interesting for leaders to leave when they're supposed to. This situation is hardly unique.

    Aldo on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The AU, like any organisation, is the sum of its parts. If the members won't take action then it can't or wont' do much. It doesn't really have the military capacity to invade a country like Zimbabwe, nor would it be allowed to by its members.

    I think the best we can hope for is that South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique to agree to cut Zimbabwe off. By this I mean not allow the country to trade. If you look at a map of the area, noting the rail/road/power connections the vast majority of goods travel through these three countries. Zimbabwe couldn't function without their access, nor of course could Zambia (well, it could, it did so during UDI). This would be a serious step to take because there could well be famine, given Zimbabwe's destroyed economy, so many people would die or flee. But it would do the job

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Kalkino on
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  • JohnOrangePeelJohnOrangePeel Registered User
    edited July 2008
    On the bright side, at least Zimbabwe doesn't have oil; if they did then they'd be really fucked.

    JohnOrangePeel on
  • Red or AliveRed or Alive Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The people of Zimbabwe are a little busy trying to feed themselves and/or not die from AIDS, state-sponsored violence, etc.

    Organised protest is hindered somewhat by the truly desperate situation most Zimbabweans are in.

    Red or Alive on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Oh hey. :o The more you know.

    t John: it does have a lot of other natural resources I believe.

    Aldo on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The people of Zimbabwe are a little busy trying to feed themselves and/or not die of AIDS, state-sponsored violence, etc.

    Organised protest is hindered somewhat by the truly desperate situation most Zimbabweans are in.
    No greater instigator of revolutions than an empty stomach.

    Aldo on
  • Red or AliveRed or Alive Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aldo wrote: »
    The people of Zimbabwe are a little busy trying to feed themselves and/or not die of AIDS, state-sponsored violence, etc.

    Organised protest is hindered somewhat by the truly desperate situation most Zimbabweans are in.
    No greater instigator of revolutions than an empty stomach.

    I'd be hard pressed to find a more glib response to the situation in Zimbabwe than than the above.

    Red or Alive on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aldo wrote: »
    The people of Zimbabwe are a little busy trying to feed themselves and/or not die of AIDS, state-sponsored violence, etc.

    Organised protest is hindered somewhat by the truly desperate situation most Zimbabweans are in.
    No greater instigator of revolutions than an empty stomach.

    I'd be hard pressed to find a more glib response to the situation in Zimbabwe than than the above.

    All I'm saying is that the empty stomach is usually a reason to start a revolution, not the other way around. I should have worded better, sorry.

    The other reasons make more sense anyway.

    Aldo on
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Aldo wrote: »
    Aldo wrote: »
    The people of Zimbabwe are a little busy trying to feed themselves and/or not die of AIDS, state-sponsored violence, etc.

    Organised protest is hindered somewhat by the truly desperate situation most Zimbabweans are in.
    No greater instigator of revolutions than an empty stomach.

    I'd be hard pressed to find a more glib response to the situation in Zimbabwe than than the above.

    All I'm saying is that the empty stomach is usually a reason to start a revolution, not the other way around. I should have worded better, sorry.

    The other reasons make more sense anyway.
    Could we do something subversive like blanket them with aerial food drops?

    I mean, the problem at the moment is that the result of a revolution of any sort is probably going to be that the people still generally starve. So, we drop heaps of food aid over the country, Mugabe predictably takes it over and cuts it off (since that's how you stay in control), and then something like that sparks off resistance to the government with the promise of equitable distribution of supplies.

    Certainly not the most moral thing to do, but one of the few sort of, active measures I can think of that might be plausibly implemented by the West. Of course the same thing didn't work in Sudan as I understand it.

    electricitylikesme on
  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Giving food has never proven to be a long term solution, but it can certainly help in the short run. As I stated before it can be used to make the people less dependent on Mugabe.

    Aldo on
  • an_altan_alt Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    One of the problems in getting the AU to step in is that many African countries support Zimbabwe and apparently think things aren't all that bad.

    an_alt on
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  • AegisAegis Not Quite TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yea, military intervention at this point in time to effect regime change would just blow up in the world's face. Now, if the people of Zimbabwe removed Mugabe themselves then that would be a perfect time to intervene in order to prevent a future civil war (or string of coups).

    Really though, Botswana and South Africa should be putting pressure on Zimbabwe at this point, seeing as how they themselves are pretty stable.

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  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Elki wrote: »
    And dammit, Mbeki! Stop being such a disappointment.
    That's one of the worst parts of this whole mess. Mandela stepped down in favour of this guy?

    EDIT: anyway, in terms of solutions I suppose you could just kill Mugabe.

    I understand that a lot of the leadership is not too happy with him and could turn out to be more moderate. Back during the initial election there was talk that the vote might end up rigged by the ZANU-PF leadership, but in Simba Makoni's (the splitter from Mugabe's party who came third) favour to get rid of Mugabe . . . but nothing really came of that.

    Andrew_Jay on
  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited July 2008
    I think the AU would be the best body to take care of this perhaps with some non-military backing by other nations.

    If AU members agreed that Mugabe needed to go, which they've just failed to do, that would probably be the end of him. Military intervention is not needed.

    Elki on
  • AegisAegis Not Quite TorontoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    Elki wrote: »
    And dammit, Mbeki! Stop being such a disappointment.
    That's one of the worst parts of this whole mess. Mandela stepped down in favour of this guy?

    EDIT: anyway, in terms of solutions I suppose you could just kill Mugabe.

    I understand that a lot of the leadership is not too happy with him and could turn out to be more moderate. Back during the initial election there was talk that the vote might end up rigged by the ZANU-PF leadership, but in Simba Makoni's (the splitter from Mugabe's party who came third) favour to get rid of Mugabe . . . but nothing really came of that.

    Somehow the idea of rigging a vote against a dictator isn't terribly palatable (nor under any circumstances internationally permissible). I mean, it's not like Mugabe and those loyal to him wouldn't bitch and scream and probably force the country into a civil war.
    Elki wrote: »
    I think the AU would be the best body to take care of this perhaps with some non-military backing by other nations.

    If AU members agreed that Mugabe needed to go, which they've just failed to do, that would probably be the end of him. Military intervention is not needed.

    Military intervention has been looked at as a helpful tool in stabilizing post-conflict situations, however, and is something that tends to be missing when proposing solutions to help dirt poor countries.

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