Friday, April 18, 2008

Mugabe

Do you suppose Robert Mugabe imported a shipload of ammunition, including three million rounds of 7.62 x 39 not to use it? The Daily Mail reports:

A huge cargo of Chinese guns and ammunition sits marooned aboard a ship off South Africa. It would have been used to arm the tyrant Robert Mugabe's thugs in Zimbabwe.

But dockers in South African port of Durban won't unload the 77 tons of mortars, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons. ... These include nearly 3million rounds of ammunition for small arms and AK-47s, about 3,500 mortars and mortar launchers, as well as 1,500 rockets for rocket-propelled grenades.

Congratulations to the dockworkers for doing what governments can't nerve themselves to do. Unfortunately, they can only delay the inevitable. However, I am given to understand that things happen in Africa without any apparent cause. If I recall aright, when I was in equatorial Africa, a Congolese Navy ship sank in harbor without definite culpability. Bridges fall down. Airplanes fall out of the sky. Vehicles mysteriously run themselves into trees. And nobody knows why.

Maybe a ship full of Chinese ammunition can develop leaks. It could happen. But it probably won't. Back in 1987, a popular African politician called Robert Mugabe wrote an article in Foreign Affairs calling for US action against the "apartheid" regime in South Africa.

Racial discrimination against black Africans was an evil in itself. But one would be mistaken to think that the revulsion towards apartheid was motivated entirely by benevolent feelings towards black Africans. There was also a component of "anti-colonialism" in it. For as long as the white man was the target, the international commmunity found it it easy to rise up in indignation against it. Now that Robert Mugabe is embarked upon the destruction of his people, no act of resistance is too small as to lie within the power of international do-gooders. Robert Mugabe will eventually buy 3 million rounds from China and China will get away with selling it to him. Nobody will care because it can't be spun to fit the domestic political agenda of the Western left.






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45 Comments:

Blogger NahnCee said...

Wouldn't it be nice if the ship didn't sink, but ran aground so that all the common citizens of Zimbabwe could arm themselves against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them?

There's worse things than being cowboys. And if you're going to die any way wouldn't you rather die shooting at Mugabe than by starving to death?

4/18/2008 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger rob said...

time to target Mugabe with UAV hellfire. politicians need to accidentally vaporize once in a while...

4/18/2008 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger Fidel said...

Robert Mugabe blames everybody and anybody (the brits, the west ganging up on him and his government, MDC, etc) for the failure of his government and the hyper-inflation Zimbabwe now suffers. He only has himself to blame. I think the only other precedent for this hyper-inflation was during the Weimar Republic in Germany; that unfortunately was followed by the ascendancy of Hitler.

4/18/2008 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I can't stand Mugabe. I hate his name, can't stand his face. I recall all the liberal churches, mine included, huffing and puffing about minority rule. The cooler heads said, "they'll brook no opposition" which has turned out to be the case.
Where are these liberal churches now? Mine included.

Habu said one time, they needed another 100 years of colonialism. He was right, in this case.

4/18/2008 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

But dockers in South African port of Durban won't unload


Well good for them.

4/18/2008 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Africa, and Mugabe in particular are a sad case.

Other nations and regions suffered colonialism. Even the chaotic Philippines is better run than the best African nation, and no one would accuse the Spanish of overweening mercy and kindness in their colonial affairs.

On the other end of the scale, Korea emerged from brutal war and colonialism as brutal as Congo's and nasty dictators, with great wealth. Most of it not based on resource extraction.

The basis of prosperity is always human capital.

Africa suffers from Big Man disease. Polygamy is a leading indicator, and one of the major symptoms, but not the final cause. It's tribalism meets Plato's absolute philosopher-king. It prevents nationalism, large-trust networks, and things like physical security, rule of law, resource mobilization by the average person, and so on.

Another 100 or 1,000 years of colonialism would be completely useless. Beside the point. What is needed is deep social change in how families are formed and how people relate and trust each other. I honestly don't see how that will change any time soon, absent some catastrophe.

Which ironically Mugabe is providing. Catholic Charities estimates that over 3,000 people die in Zimbabwe each week, mostly of starvation. That's 3 times the death toll in Iraq during the height of the violence there.

4/19/2008 12:02:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

I remember a quote from Mugabe:

"We don't need all these people around here anyway."

I kid you not.

Where are 'the kids' when you need them? Where are the college students on this matter?

In an ideal world, we'd send in our good Marines, and end it.
But we won't.

4/19/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Another 100 or 1,000 years of colonialism would be completely useless. Beside the point. What is needed is deep social change in how families are formed and how people relate and trust each other. I honestly don't see how that will change any time soon, absent some catastrophe.

Which ironically Mugabe is providing. Catholic Charities estimates that over 3,000 people die in Zimbabwe each week, mostly of starvation. That's 3 times the death toll in Iraq during the height of the violence there.


This is the kind of cure which unacceptable. Surely things can be managed better than that. This morning I was remarking to a friend that the tolerance of Mugabe was the price of Western vanity. Nobody in the West has the "moral authority" to tell him to go to hell, because we have made wearing the badge of guilt the ultimate symbol of virtue. And we are going to maintain that virtue if it costs the last African to pay for it.

In a color blind world, Robert Mugabe would neither be able to appeal to the "solidarity" of his fellow heads of state or to Western guilt. He would simply be another thug. Which he is.

But while I can say this, while Zimbabweans can say this, while anyone with half a brain can see this, who among the statesmen of the world can propose action against him without being considered a "colonialist".

So it falls to a few dockworkers to perform the most obvious act of solidarity with the poor people of Zimbabwe. There was never a better argument for the abolition of the UN and its myriad Human Rights Tribunals than the existence of Robert Mugabe.

4/19/2008 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

I agree.

4/19/2008 12:22:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Now there will be those who will argue that things will be worse after Mugabe. That he has so thoroughly shattered Zimbabwe, driven its most productive citizens into exile, thronged it so heavily with militias that however bad he is, what follows will be even more nightmarish. And if that sounds like the consequences of decades of Saddam Hussein's rule, the parallel was intentional.

Whatever the cost of creating a functioning civil society, it is nothing compared to eventual costs one will have to face after decades of relying on the false economy of dictators. Mugabe will not live forever. Neither would Saddam have. Time and old age spare no one.

But there was a time before Mugabe ripped the fabric of Zimbabwe totally apart. There was a time when it would have been relatively easy to put Zimbabwe back on track. That time is passing, if it is not past already. Each year the West dithers is another year given over to the locusts. Eventually nothing will remain to be salvaged.

And the most damning thing about Mugabe is that he wasn't, as Saddam was, at the head of an Army of Millions. He didn't occupy a strategic crossroads in world affairs. Bob Mugabe was nothing but a low-rent, tinpot, no-account and jumped up dictator. No easier target, no less demanding test of the "international will" to uphold human rights could be found. It only took 2,500 French troops to put a stop to the genocide in Rwanda after it had happened. Taking down Bob Mugabe might have required even less.

And that got me to thinking whether all those advocating turning over the prosecution of the war on terror to the UN can be serious. If the UN can't stop Mugabe, what chance do they have against Osama Bin Laden?

None. None whatsoever. The sad fact is that most people must look to themselves and to their legitimately elected representatives for salvation. To hope for protection from the mythical "international community", some strongman, or abasement is only self-deception.

4/19/2008 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

We call them guns; Mugabe calls them ‘campaign materials’

"I hope that people following this story have their eyebrows raised to hairline level in China’s complicity in the Mugabe’s violent treatment of the Zimbabean people. If you remember, we started following this story because we’d learned of the presence of Chinese military in Mutare. This is all utterly unacceptable. The idea that China is hosting the Olympics is just too incredible for me to comprehend.

My mind is turning to ways we can lobby against them in that quarter.

Let’s be realistic about this: even if the weapons don’t get to Zimbabwe this time, the existing presence of the Chinese military in Zimbabwe indicates that China already has a vested interest in aiding and abetting human rights violation in our country. That has to be stopped.

Update: Less than a few minutes after posting this, we got a call telling us that the ship had left the port and was in international waters. That’s the rumour anyway. I guess it’s on its way to Beira..?"

4/19/2008 01:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But if they have come as individuals to enhance their moral entity as human beings, and to cure them from their diseased way of life, then they have come to the right place, [...] This is the church, this is the organisation that can purge them."

Speaking after addressing the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches

— Robert Mugabe, April 1998

more quotes

4/19/2008 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

Man, Doug, you are really really good at getting stuff.

I don't know how you do it, but I tip my hat to you.

4/19/2008 01:44:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Why, thanks, Al-Bob!
And a handsome hat it is.
(I liked my all-green model better: My favorite cap. Can't remember if I was wearing it when I almost lost my head.)

4/19/2008 03:26:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Classic

4/19/2008 03:29:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Does a John Deere cap technically qualify as a Cat Cap?

4/19/2008 03:49:00 AM  
Blogger ADE said...

W

who among the statesmen of the world can propose action against him without being considered a "colonialist".


Why, Pope Benedict XVI, who is actually doing a very good job of it.

ADE

4/19/2008 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Of course to use it, but 3 million rounds is really not a whole lot for a four-five brigade army.

Just to add some perspective :

One way to look at it is thats 100 rounds per man for Zimbabwes 30,000 man army, or barely enough for an annual qualification shoot.

Or less than a combat load for the infantry battalions.

Not nearly enough to conduct a single years training by the standards of any Western armies.

4/19/2008 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger davis,br said...

...I believe islam delenda est is the proper response to your screed, 621317251521.

4/19/2008 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Whatever the cost of creating a functioning civil society, it is nothing compared to eventual costs one will have to face after decades of relying on the false economy of dictators.

The problem with "creating functioning civil societies" is that there's only one country rich enough, smart enough and determined enough to do these things and frankly, as a taxpayer, I'm getting tired of bearing the load of cleaning up other people's social messes.

I guess we're supposed to look at it as being good humanitarians, looking after our brothers and all. But really, if Darwin declared that failed species should learn their lessons or die, when why on earth should America be rewarding the failed societies of the world for their sloth, greed and ignorance?

What Mugabe as done to Zimbabwe, Mubarek has done to Egypt. Egypt is rapidly failing, too, having food riots in the streets right now, with rapist cops bold enough to take pictures of their depradations and flash them around the world.

And we've been actively supporting Egypt for decades now to the tune of millions of dollars every single year ... and they're *still* starving.

As an American, I feel like the adult parent hollering from the other room to other people's misbehaving brats, "Don't make me come in there, or you'll be sorry!" And I'm just really really really tired of being the world's babysitter, and am not willing to risk the life of one single American Marine to "save" a place like Zimbabwe from itself.

(If that sounds like I think that American Marines are more important that downtrodden Zimbabweans, then yes, I do.)

And to the little Muslim hit-and-run poster, why don't your Arab oil ticks use some of their filthy riyals to save their own people, like Egypt, rather than spending them all on yachts and gold toilets and expecting America to protect and feed the world?

4/19/2008 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Teresita said...

Fidel: I think the only other precedent for this hyper-inflation was during the Weimar Republic in Germany; that unfortunately was followed by the ascendancy of Hitler.

The difference was that Germany didn't have to import their weapons from China.

Nothing will come of this because most of the politicians in Washington rely in campaign donations from corporations which in turn rely on China's boat not being rocked. This won't change until we get public financing of all campaigns. And that won't change because its those same politicians who can veto that idea.

4/19/2008 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

Does a John Deere cap technically qualify as a Cat Cap?

4/19/2008 03:49:00 AM

No, not in my county.
But, if you can score a Steiger Tractor Company hat, or, even better, a Big Bud cap, you have some bragging rights where ever you set your foot.

4/19/2008 08:14:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

Buy your Big Bud Tractor Here


This is sad. Big Bud has gone down. Alas. Also Steiger. I used a Steiger for many years. On my trip back east last summer, we spotted some Buds, up in northern Montana. They are a hell of a machine, Bob can tell ya.

4/19/2008 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Does a John Deere cap technically qualify as a Cat Cap?

Not even technically. The Caterpillar cachet has always been jealously guarded by the lofty senses of construction workers who operate Caterpillar equipment. Their old brass belt buckles were only to be worn by Cat operators, and some broken bar furniture and medical bills still testify to the outrage aimed at those who presume to the label without having ascended to a true Caterpillar seat. John Deere caps are wholly honorable, since 'the farmer is the man who feeds us all', but wearing Caterpillar without the credentials is like... well, showing up on Nob Hill in the same dress as the exclusive on the svelte curves of Teresa Heinz Kerry.

4/19/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

So Pope Benedict proposes action against a vicious murdering dictator in Zimbabwe, but opposed action against a vicious murdering dictator in Iraq?

Pardon me if I am confused. What criteria does the pope use? The outrage of his fellow Europeans? If Mugabe had an oil-for-food scam going, would the pope support him?

We need a higher moral authority. Where does George Clooney stand on Zimbabwe?

4/19/2008 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Derek Kite said...

nahncee:

Do you think it is by accident that this has happened?

The Canadians were in Rwanda, on the ground, armed lightly. They watched the genocide happen, and then took on the mantle of victim when the commander fell apart.

At the last meeting of the Commonwealth conference, the brits were trying to get issued a condemnation of Mugabe and his ilk. cbc.ca

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien refused to go along. Refused to condemn the lawlessness that was happening at the time.

I have a theory. The western world's opposition to the US war in Iraq is simply that the US is doing what everyone else has decided is impossible, hence not their responsibility. The US must fail. Otherwise the next time some tinpot idiots starts shooting his own people someone may have to do something. Now that wouldn't be right, would it.

Derek

4/19/2008 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Where does George Clooney stand on Zimbabwe?

As far away as possible, lest they hit him up for a donation.

4/19/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Touche [1] Peter Grynch, and [2] Derek.

4/19/2008 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"wearing Caterpillar without the credentials is like... well, showing up on Nob Hill in the same dress as the exclusive on the svelte curves of Teresa Heinz Kerry."
LOL

4/19/2008 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Wretchard said:

"And the most damning thing about Mugabe is that he wasn't, as Saddam was, at the head of an Army of Millions..... It only took 2,500 French troops to put a stop to the genocide in Rwanda after it had happened.... And that got me to thinking whether all those advocating turning over the prosecution of the war on terror to the UN can be serious. If the UN can't stop Mugabe, what chance do they have against Osama Bin Laden?"

As usual, Wretchard has scored a direct hit. If the UN wouldn't remove Mugabe, why do we believe for a moment that it would deal effectively with Iran?

The only effective force out there for dealing with egregious evil is the good old USA. Unfortunately not even the USA will get involved if the problem doesn't directly impact its national interest, e.g. Robert Mugabe.

4/19/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Not My Job Award Winner

Article

4/19/2008 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Derek: “I have a theory. The western world's opposition to the US war in Iraq is simply that the US is doing what everyone else has decided is impossible, hence not their responsibility.”

Eggplant: “Unfortunately not even the USA will get involved if the problem doesn't directly impact its national interest, e.g. Robert Mugabe.”

Two very good points. Now think about this.

First, if you are among those who profess such great concern for “Africa” (e.g., Rev Wright) or The Third World in general, how must you feel when some American – and very probably a white American, at that – wearing a uniform and carrying a gun goes over to Iraq, spends a year there fixing things and shooting bad people - and thus does more to help the oppressed and downtrodden than you will your whole life. It must just tear you up inside, man.

Second, each and every member of our military takes and oath to “Uphold and defend the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” I have no problem with applying that to our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, or for that matter, in turning Iran into a glass-lined self-lighting parking lot, if it comes to that. But saving Zimababwe, or Rawanda, or Darfur, or Kosovo, or Bosnia or Haiti? Does not compute. And that business about everyone being entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” ain’t in the Constitution – look it up!

Third, the people who profess to be most upset about the carnage in the Third World are also absolutely opposed to violence, under any circumstances. So the fix to the problems – killing a lot of bad – or at least badly led – people and sinking ships full of weapons and the like – will be hotly opposed by the very people who profess to be the most concerned about the carnage. Why? Well, see my first item for one reason.

So, it ain’t our job and the only solution we could impose would cause hysterics among the people who claim to be the most concerned.

4/19/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

That critter has a yellow stripe down its back, Doug. Cowardly, cowardly critter.

4/19/2008 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

He's just playin Possum.

4/19/2008 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger F451-2.0 said...

Derek Kite

I take it you mean by lightly armed Canadians you're referring to both of them.

By leaders and their governments failing to act what you're referring to is this: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/
200109/power-genocide
Bystanders to Genocide

4/19/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard -- I've seen accounts that it was the Rwandan Patriotic Front under Paul Kagame (along with the heroic stand in Kigali by the elements of the RPF there under agreement when the killing started -- like an Alamo that did not fall) that ended the killing. Not the French.

But Rwandans themselves.

I believe Classical Values or a blog like it has an account of a Westerner to the Milles Collines, i.e. Rwanda, post-massacre. His observation was that fundamentally, the way people interacted with each other HAD changed. By Rwandans themselves, with a relatively efficient and "patriotic" government.

While yes there was a labor levy, the corvee, with oddly enough all Hutus assigned to it, there were no more identity cards with ethnic labels. There was no desire by the Tutsis to wreak vengeance on the Hutus. There'd been little forgetting, and even less forgiving, but peace, and a framework at least for people to relate to one another outside tribe, clan, and so on boundaries. That implicit (at least how I read it) in the aftermath of the genocide was that tribes stopped existing because Rwandans who stayed stopped believing in them. Since they had failed.

In that sense, the US or UN or whatever involvement (I agree with your assessment of the bankruptcy of the UN and the Human Rights Commission) is ultimately futile. The genocide did not just arise from the ground like Magic, and while many (including the French) deliberately stoked it, the ground upon which it grew was tribalism.

Which is the principal plague of our day.

While America can safely ignore tribalist massacres in Rwanda, the same tribalist impulses could level DC or NY. That we cannot ignore. Nor do I think that Marines or Army soldiers can address that as well, though they are likely the only instrument we have that actually works on any level.

I think the means are slow, halting, but ultimately the only thing that works. Which is replacing Tribalism with A Modern Nationalism. Not in vogue since 1945 but the only thing that works. To do so will take economic, cultural, and social measures by indigenous governments (a Lee Kwan Yew, a Paul Kagame, and so on) assisted when possible by the US and other First World nations.

But it must begin within. We can only help, not drive the change ourselves.

4/19/2008 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Old Tractors Don't Die, They Just Ride in Parades

4/19/2008 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Bobal,
One of my uncles (a Colorado wheat farmer) used Steigers for years.

I think that a couple of air strikes would be extremely effective in adjusting Mugabe's attitude, with virtually no potential for loss of American lives. The problem is that the left, and Europe, would take the opportunity to hammer the administration for it, trotting out the civilian casualties (even though probably 1000X as many lives would be saved as were lost.) I don't think that the administration thinks it is worth it at this point.

4/19/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

The Tibet protests demonstrate that there is a way that American and Euro protesters can be convinced to protest against their usual pet causes (communists, dictators, etc) by shaping the narrative. It has to be made stylish the same way that commie protests are made the stylish, happening fashion accessories, the same way they sell kefiyahs to American pacifists.

4/19/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger amr said...

"Catholic Charities estimates that over 3,000 people die in Zimbabwe each week, mostly of starvation. That's 3 times the death toll in Iraq during the height of the violence there."

Yep, and our media is largely silent. Remember how Clinton apologized for our lack of interest in Rwanda, well here we go again. Only this time it is more one man rule than tribalism. We can't be the world’s policeman, but maybe, just maybe, if we proclaimed ourselves to be more interested the world may just wake up and do something; if for no other reason that to keep us contained. It is time we went back to JFK’s solution in the Congo.

4/20/2008 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger BobmustGo:Wisdom said...

Foolishness begats outright madness. Guns or no Guns what kind of war is going to be waged against Zimbabweans by Mugabe. Soldiers don't Just Shoot law abiding citizens for nuts. Zimbabwe is not highly polarised like, Kenya, Rwanda, e.t.c. If it was going to be a war between Mashona and Matebele then either Mugabe or Tsvangirai must be the leader for the other. However our political landscape is not based on tribal or ethnic basis. Soldiers cannot shoot their mothers or fathers just like that. If you want proof come to Zimbabwe and see it for yourselves.

We need Tsvamgirai to lead us, but we don't want to do it in a very foolish way.

I need a copy of the conspiracy theory that Mugabe is going to use soldiers to kill his own people.

We are not starving, though we can accept that things could be better. Some people give us statistics based on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Kuhura hunge wakaguta.

Enda Pamuzinda,Kwamereki, Globetrotters,emthunzini,Bira,Chez,etc Uone madyiro anoita mazimba mari.

4/21/2008 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Steeple said...

For all of the lovers of the term "Freedom Fighter"

Item Number:5 Date: 04/18/2008 COLOMBIA - REBELS EXECUTE WOUNDED SOLDIERS IN AMBULANCE (APR 18/REU) REUTERS -- Leftist rebels ambushed an ambulance ferrying troops to a hospital, and executed two wounded soldiers, Reuters reports. The incident occurred near the town of Yarumal in northern Antioquia province after the soldiers were injured by land mines, according to the army on Wednesday. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels set the driver and medical staff free. The driver told local television that the rebels "killed them in cold blood." The Yarumal area is considered a FARC stronghold. Rebels frequently use land mines to impede army operations.

4/21/2008 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger Angela said...

As an American, I feel like the adult parent hollering from the other room to other people's misbehaving brats, "Don't make me come in there, or you'll be sorry!" And I'm just really really really tired of being the world's babysitter, and am not willing to risk the life of one single American Marine to "save" a place like Zimbabwe from itself.

(If that sounds like I think that American Marines are more important that downtrodden Zimbabweans, then yes, I do.)


Your attitude disgusts me! ANY human life is as important as the next one! What would happen if your family or yourself, if they were being raped, tortured and murdered by a mad dictator, and people who could help just stood aside and watched!

You sound as barbaric and racist as the evil Mugabe himself!

4/21/2008 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Angela, just FYI - I tend to pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to people who punctuate solely with exclamation points. It shows a definite lack of maturity, not to mention judgment. In fact, I have noticed that sorority girls strew exclamation points around with the same glee they do pearl necklaces, so that's the level I usually assign to people such as yourself and your opinions.

Unless you're a troll, and then semi-touche.

4/21/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger DWMF said...

A single torpedo will solve this problem. Any takers? The RN could then redeem itself.

4/22/2008 06:30:00 AM  

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