Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mugabe and National Interest

The morning paper has a nice inside story on how Robert Mugabe engineered (with a great deal of help) his recent election "victory" in Zimbabwe. This man is evil, he is a criminal, he and his band of thugs have taken a country poised for success at its colonial handover and driven it into the ground.

But what should the US role here be? Should we lead the chorus of international disgust? Yes. Should we initiate sanctions and other economic weapons to weaken his rule? Yes. Should we provide any and all technical and intelligence assistance to an indigenous effort to overthrow him? Yes.

But this is as far as we should go. Our interests must continue to drive our foreign policy. We have little or no interest in Zimbabwe, aside from humanitarian. I am unconvinced that the humanitarian case here is worth American blood. It is certainly worth African blood and the blood of the colonial powers who birthed the failed and failing states all over that continent.

There are of course, situations where humanitarian questions transcend simple matters of emotion. The Balkan Wars in the early 90's are an excellent case, as the Balkan States have always been a strategically tender area. Where West and East meet, one World War started here and a Cold War found great purchase here. Our actions there were warranted, especially in light of European fecklessness.

Zimbabwe does not rise to this level of strategic importance.

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