Thursday, June 23, 2005

What Will the Vaunted International Community Do?

Zimbabwe is a democide taking place before our very eyes. Very soon, the place will visibly crumble as the deterioration speeeds up under the thug elite of Mugabe:

The current attacks on urban centers are part of a corrective strategy to drive perhaps two million people back onto the land. Once there, they will be cut off from the rest of the country and at the mercy of government-controlled food supplies. It is more difficult to starve people in urban areas where the outside world might catch wind of what's going on. As one displaced farmer puts
it: "The people don't want to go back to the rural areas because they are afraid and also they know the hardships they will face. In summer, it would be easier for people--even those who have lost the skills--to live off the land from berries and wild mushrooms--but it's the height of winter now and there is nothing."

But controlling this population becomes easier all the time, as millions have fled over the past few years, over 3,000 people die every week of AIDS, and most college graduates, many of whom are activists, leave the country. The result has been an astonishing decline in the population, which is down to around 10 million from over 13 million a few years back. Not that the government minds. In August 2002, Didymus Mutasa, today the head of the secret police, said: "We would be better off with only six million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle."

Once the bread basket of southern Africa, now Zimbabwe is now dying.

And there isn't much we can do about it. There simpy isn't any national interest in taking on that dirtbag of a dictator. It is landlocked and far away. And we have limits on our military.

The basic problem is with a humanitarian mission that attempts to treat a government-sponsored famine as equivalent to a natural disaster is that it is just asking for trouble. As soon as those responsible for the famine recover from the shock of foreign intervention, they'll start shooting at us. And when we start losing troops in a humanitarian mission, the public will to endure will evaporate quickly.

This is very sad. But we can't do much directly to stop it. South Africa could but they won't. I'm all for doing what we can short of military intervention, but we don't have a dog in this fight so our efforts must stop short of military action. Truly, I'm at a loss over what we could do to help. Maybe we could airdrop tens of thousands of Kalashnikovs and spare ammo all over the country in a real throw of the dice to give the people at least a chance of surviving the regime assault.

I wish the "international community" all the luck in the world sorting this out multilaterally without us. I'm sure there will be a lovely ribbon-fesooned leather-bound report issued a few years after the Zimbabwe thugs reach their goal of ruling over a paradise of six million loyal citizens.

Oh, and a side note: China, that sponsor of the bloody Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, has befriended Mugabe and is shipping arms and equipment to his forces. Somehow, I'm sure we'll be blamed for all this, too.

UPDATE: Well this is interesting:

At news conferences in Africa and at the United Nations, more than 200 international human rights and civic groups said the campaign, known as Operation Drive Out Trash, was "a grave violation of international human rights law and a disturbing affront to human dignity."

Police prevent journalists from filming the demolitions, so the footage was collected clandestinely by the church-based Solidarity Peace Trust.

The groups, including London-based Amnesty International and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, released the footage showing bewildered families sleeping in the open in the winter cold after police torched and bulldozed their shanty town homes. Street markets were also targeted, their stalls left in smoldering ruins.

Well that is absolutely fascinating. Just who is supposed to do something? Well:

The rights groups urged the African Union, which is meeting in Libya next month, and the United Nations to act against Zimbabwe — but did not specify how.

The human rights groups didn't specify how? Given their blathering about Gitmo, surely they wouldn't want America to make things worse by sending in our troops! Heavens, that would be bad in their world. Sadly, once you rule out asking America to do something, you're reduced to wishing and mumbling.

I can hardly wait for the AU or UN report in five years describing the democide. I'm sure it will be well indexed!