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Monday, 23 June 2008

Collier in praise of toppling Mugabe....

Paul Collier has a new article in the Washington Post where he proposes coups to eliminate despots like Mugabe. Full article below:

Let Us Now Praise Coups

The government of Zimbabwe recently ordered foreign aid groups to
halt their operations within its borders, thereby blocking the food aid that the United Nations funnels through such organizations from getting to the country's starving people. Last month, the government of Burma
issued a similar ban. Of course, when we say "the government of Zimbabwe," what we really mean is President Robert Mugabe, just as "the government of Burma" these days means Senior Gen. Than Shwe, the leader of the ruling junta. In justifying the bans, each ruler harrumphed that outsiders should not be allowed to tell his nation what to do. But the real obstacle blocking international food aid is not the principle of national sovereignty; it is the insistence of dictators on being left to call their own shots. Mugabe decided that his citizens were better dead than fed; his nation had no part in the decision.

This murderous outrage reminds us of a central problem in trying to help ease the misery of the developing world, especially the "bottom billion" inhabitants of countries being left behind by global prosperity: Leaders in such sad little states as Zimbabwe and Burma are quite ridiculously powerful. They have turned parliament, the news media and the judiciary into mere implementers of their strangling systems of control. But the extraordinary lack of external restraints on these dictators is poorly understood.

Many people are still trapped in a politically correct mindset that sees a strong rich world bullying a weak poor world. The disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 played straight into this mentality of seeing wealthy countries as bullies. Yet the planet's key power imbalance is not between rich and poor; it is between confident, open governments willing to pool sovereignty to help their publics and crabbed, defensive governments determined not to give up a scrap of sovereignty. The former produce prosperity; the latter manufacture misery.

Compare the powers of Germany's government to those of Zimbabwe's. The German economy is around 400 times larger than the Zimbabwean. But it is the Zimbabwean government, not the German, that has independent monetary, fiscal, trade and migration policies, an independent currency and courts from which one cannot file international appeals. Like virtually all rich countries, Germany has learned that there are real advantages to limiting its own sovereignty and pooling it with neighbors and allies. But the governments of failing states such as Zimbabwe and Burma have refused to share any sovereignty with anyone. And remember, in these countries, "government" means the president or other head of state: Mugabe and Shwe have powers that eclipse those of President Bush, let alone those of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

So how can the grossly excessive powers of the Mugabes and Shwes of the world be curtailed? After Iraq, there is no international appetite for using the threat of military force to pressure thugs. But only military pressure is likely to be effective; tyrants can almost always shield themselves from economic sanctions. So there is only one credible counter to dictatorial power: the country's own army.

Realistically, Mugabe and Shwe can be toppled only by a military coup. Of course, they are fully aware of this danger, and thus have appointed their cronies as generals and kept a watchful eye on any potentially restless junior officers. Such tactics reduce the risk of a coup, but they cannot eliminate it: On average, there have been two successful coups per year in the developing world in recent decades. A truly bad government in a developing country is more likely to be replaced by a coup than by an election: Mugabe will presumably rig the runoff vote scheduled for Friday by intimidation. Or he could follow the example of the last Burmese dictator, who held an election, lost and simply ignored the result.

I find it a little awkward to be writing in praise, however faint, of coups. They are unguided missiles, as likely to topple a democracy as a dictatorship. But there is still something to be said for them.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the international community has taken the rather simplistic position that armies should stay out of politics. That view is understandable but premature. Rather than trying to freeze coups out of the international system, we should try to provide them with a guidance system. In contexts such as Zimbabwe and Burma, coups should be encouraged because they are likely to lead to improved governance. (It's hard to imagine things getting much worse). The question then becomes how to provide encouragement for some potentially helpful coups while staying within the bounds of proper international conduct.

In fact, some basic principles are not that hard to draw. For starters, governments that have crossed the red line of banning U.N. food aid -- a ghastly breach of any basic contract between the governors and the governed -- should temporarily lose international recognition of their legitimacy. Ideally, such moves should come from the United Nations itself; surely banning U.N. help constitutes a breach of rudimentary global obligations. But realistically, other dictators, worried that they might wind up in the same boat, would rally to block action at the United Nations, so we must look elsewhere.

Which brings us to the obvious locus of international action: Europe. The European Union has a long tradition of setting minimum standards of political decency for its members, who must protect their minorities and defend basic rights. A collective E.U. withdrawal of recognition from the Mugabe or Shwe regimes would be an obvious and modest extension of the values that underpin the European project. Making any such suspension of recognition temporary -- say, for three months -- would present potential coup plotters within an army with a brief window of legitimacy. They would know that it was now or never, which could spur them to act. And even if the loss of recognition did not induce a quick coup, E.U. recognition would be restored after the three months were up. This would spare the world the gradual accumulation of a club of unrecognized regimes, something both problematic and unrealistic.

The scope of the torment in Burma and Zimbabwe should be more than enough of a goad to action. We need to move away from impotent political protest, but we must also face the severe limitations on our own power. The real might lies with a dictator's own forces of repression. Our best hope -- and the best hope of suffering citizens -- is to turn those very forces against the men they now protect.

Disappointed to see Paul abandone restraint in his writing. I can see the case for military intervention in a post Mugabe Zimbabwe to "guarantee peace" - in the same way the British intervened in Sierra Leone, they could do the same thing in post Mugabe Zimbabwe just to smooth things over and ensure whoever is in charge can take forward policies on a more secure platform. But to suggest a "western led" coup to eliminate Mugabe is just irresponsible and shows a lack of appreaciation of the complex issues that have brought Zimbabwe to this current situation and indeed the power dynamics at play within the country.

Paul is also wrong on two key points. First, the suggestion that things cannot get worse in Zimbabwe with explicit military control is misguided. The idea that Zimbabwe is somehow at the bottom list of failed states that Africa has ever witnessed is incorrect. Zimbabwe is a failed state yes, but some of its apparatus is still functioning. Secondly, the incentives for an explicit military move to topple Mugabe appear weak. Paul would do well to ask why they have not done so already in the way he has suggested. I suggest that not only are the military generals hands themselves full of blood (making them ideal candidates for war crimes tribunal), but also that they prefer to hide behind a human face while controlling things on the ground.

26 comments:

  1. I don't see why you're surprised..

    Of course, when we say "the government of Zimbabwe," what we really mean is President Robert Mugabe, just as "the government of Burma" these days means Senior Gen. Than Shwe, the leader of the ruling junta.

    That's simply not true. I mean, Burma is a junta, not a personnal dictatorship and Zimbabwe is probably a junta too.

    I can see the case for military intervention in a post Mugabe Zimbabwe to "guarantee peace" - in the same way the British intervened in Sierra Leone, they could do the same thing in post Mugabe Zimbabwe just to smooth things over and ensure whoever is in charge can take forward policies on a more secure platform.

    Why the Brits?
    S.A. is next door, doesn't have the colonial baggage, can handle it, should have an interest in a peaceful Zimbabwe and is partly responsible for the bullshit anyway.

    First, the suggestion that things cannot get worse in Zimbabwe with explicit military control is misguided. The idea that Zimbabwe is somehow at the bottom list of failed states that Africa has ever witnessed is incorrect. Zimbabwe is a failed state yes, but some of its apparatus is still functioning.

    Especially the army. I don't see how military rule for a year or two could make things any worse.

    I suggest that not only are the military generals hands themselves full of blood (making them ideal candidates for war crimes tribunal), but also that they prefer to hide behind a human face while controlling things on the ground.

    Mauritania, one of the example of "successful coup" got away with that. I mean the coup-makers were close to the former president and managed to convince everybody to move on.
    It could be a lot harder in Zimbabwe since the atrocities are a lot more widespread and everybody's involvement more documented.


    That said, I think one also has to remember that coups aren't about killing people. There has only been one bloody coup in Nigerian history and gods knows how many they had. Similarly, no one was killed in Thailand or Mauritania. And I think he has these two coups in mind, because they didn't do anything more than remove a dictator (it's more obvious in Mauritania) and organize election after a short transition.

    But who will kill Bush?

    Obama.

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  2. Thabo Mbeki's reaction to the Zimbabwean Crisis is sickening to say the least. Our own Mr Mwanawasa admitted how he has been sidelined by Mugabe's powerful allies, namely Angola, Namibia, Congo (the three were in the war in the Congo together with Zimbabwe) and South Africa. Mr Mwanawasa has had to rely on his intelligence and the media for what is going on across the Zambezi. I should reiterate my argument that "SADC is truly Mickey Mouse". See www.gndhlovu.blogspot.com/2008/06/sadc-sadly-mickey-mouse.html.

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  3. What would be an appropriate response by the Western World? It feels wrong to sit back and watch Mugabe deface the name of democracy and the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

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  4. - censor the western press and never ever put a mic close to anyone not close to the leadership of Zanu_PF
    - tell the IMF to send billions right now, unconditionally to the government of Zimbabwe
    - remove the travel ban on the ruling circles so they can spend that in Europe as they should
    - make sure Margaret Tatcher personally shines Mugabe's shoes as an appology
    - declare Zimbabwe an economic success and add "mugabeism" to economic programs

    that's what they should do.

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  5. Dictatorships, even personal dictatorships, do not have a political opposition which can run for and win seats in parliament, an independent judiciary which regularly finds against the government or an opposition press which openly criticizes the government.

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  6. MrK,

    What you seem to forget is that its not Bush who is a threat to Zambia’s national security but the henchmen in Zimbabwe. The situation has now gone beyond petty consideration of historic ties. Zambia’s safety and livelihood is on the line.

    As a nation we have for so long stood aside while nations around cripple our economic activity (Angola, Mozambique, DRC, etc). I say on this one we should call Bob’s bluff allow and get everyone to close their borders. Let us hem him in until his own people turn on him. In the mean time we should have a stabilising force stationed in Zambia to go on if Mugabe flees. I refuse to let a 80 year old dictator murder women and children just for the lust of power.

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  7. Random,

    ” I don't see why you're surprised..”

    You mean to say that for someone like Collier who prides himself in the “economics of conflict” this is bread and butter? I still think he has gone too far this time. He has also shown too much naivety.

    ”Why the Brits?
    S.A. is next door, doesn't have the colonial baggage, can handle it, should have an interest in a peaceful Zimbabwe and is partly responsible for the bullshit anyway.”


    When I said “they” I meant the international community. Quite right, Britain should not intervene, though I read in today’s times that a plan is underway to do just that.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article4201267.ece

    With this assessment of the military strength of Zimbabwe:

    Harare’s armed forces
    25,000 Army personnel
    4,000 Air force
    21,800 Paramilitary
    £79 million 2006 defence budget
    3.8% Military expenditure as a percentage of GDP (2006)
    45 Number of combat-capable aircraft
    40 Number of main battle tanks, mostly nonoperational
    80 Armoured infantry fighting vehicles
    85 Number of armoured personnel carriers
    242 Number of artillery pieces

    Zimbabwe is the easiest country in the world to invade.


    ”Mauritania, one of the example of "successful coup" got away with that. I mean the coup-makers were close to the former president and managed to convince everybody to move on. It could be a lot harder in Zimbabwe since the atrocities are a lot more widespread and everybody's involvement more documented.”
    Indeed Zimbabwe is too divided. Lots of scores to settle there. I suspect many are waiting to bring these generals to task. I guarantee you that. We had a country with a lot white farmers. I don’t see how they would simply let the generals get away with atrocities.


    ”That said, I think one also has to remember that coups aren't about killing people. There has only been one bloody coup in Nigerian history and gods knows how many they had. Similarly, no one was killed in Thailand or Mauritania. And I think he has these two coups in mind, because they didn't do anything more than remove a dictator (it's more obvious in Mauritania) and organize election after a short transition.”

    Well none of those countries went through a Zimbabwe situation.
    It’s simplicity of his assessment that puzzles me. It’s quite clear that the Zimbabwe situation is unique and therefore the outcome is uncertain.

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  8. You mean to say that for someone like Collier who prides himself in the “economics of conflict” this is bread and butter? I still think he has gone too far this time. He has also shown too much naivety.

    Yes.

    Quite right, Britain should not intervene, though I read in today’s times that a plan is underway to do just that. 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article4201267.ece

    WORST IDEA EVER !
    And beyond that, what exactly are they trying to achieve by publicizing this ? Give more credence to ZANU-PF's paranoid rants ?
    I mean when will the Brits understand that they are used to demonize MDC ?

    Zimbabwe is the easiest country in the world to invade. 


    And army formed during a guerilla ?

    Please, man. Pure strength is far from enough. And of course, one has to think about the Zimbabwean people. Just like Iraqis they're nationalist, even the one who would want to see Mugabe killed in public. And just like Iraq, if the invaders even show that they have any other goal, Zimbabweans will fight.

    We had a country with a lot white farmers. I don’t see how they would simply let the generals get away with atrocities.

    You're thinking about the white farmers settling scores ? I think the score settling will come from the Ndembele, the farm workers, the MDC people who got beaten up, who's family got killed. The white farmers for the most part will probably want to get back to work or something.

    Dictatorships, even personal dictatorships, do not have a political opposition which can run for and win seats in parliament, an independent judiciary which regularly finds against the government or an opposition press which openly criticizes the government.

    Then call it a dictatorial democracy, a democradura, an illiberal democracy, a limited dictatorship or something.

    But all that is irrelevant. There were dictatorships in which opposition parties were banned, elections weren't held, the press muzzled, and in which people weren't killed for disagreeing.

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  9. Cho,

    What you seem to forget is that its not Bush who is a threat to Zambia’s national security but the henchmen in Zimbabwe.

    He is a threat to the people of Iraq and possibly Iran.


    The situation has now gone beyond petty consideration of historic ties. Zambia’s safety and livelihood is on the line.

    Those historic ties are not petty. And this is nothing, compared to what happens if there is a civil war. If the MDC would somehow come to power and tried to turn back land redistribution, there will be a civil war which will make the present wrangles look insignificant.

    People thought Iraq was bad and that between sanctions and Sadam Husein, things couldn't possibly get worse.

    They were wrong. Democracy is always preferrable over dictatorship, but dictatorship is preferrable over anarchy.

    As a nation we have for so long stood aside while nations around cripple our economic activity (Angola, Mozambique, DRC, etc).

    You mean with their inconvenient liberation wars?

    I say on this one we should call Bob’s bluff allow and get everyone to close their borders. Let us hem him in until his own people turn on him.

    Why? So the talentless MDC can turn Zimbabwe into a neoliberal looting site? So their actions can provoke a civil war? Zambia is surrounded by countries on all sides. It cannot retreat from the region.

    In the mean time we should have a stabilising force stationed in Zambia to go on if Mugabe flees. I refuse to let a 80 year old dictator murder women and children just for the lust of power.

    Who says he is?

    You should be a lot more skeptical of the mainstream press, especially when they show every sign of having lost whatever objectivity they once had. They do lie, as we have seen with regards to Iraq and even Iran.

    Plus, there is a large section of the media who have gone off on Zimbabwe ever since land reform back in 1997.

    Name me one publication that has given an item by item breakdown of the causes of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. And I don't mean just saying 'because of the land reform program', but an item by item analysis of the cause of inflation in Zimbabwe.

    Name one single BBC article that presents the government of Zimbabwe's point of view - anywhere in the last 10 years would do. It is unique that the only source that is taken as gospel, is the political opposition's.

    There is no objectivity or fact checking when it comes to reporting on Zimbabwe.

    I am not skeptical of coverage of Zimbabwe for no reason. I am skeptical because I can recognize emotional reporting that is high on accusation and opinion, and very short on names, places or the use of multiple sources.

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  10. If the MDC would somehow come to power and tried to turn back land redistribution, there will be a civil war which will make the present wrangles look insignificant.

    You have no evidence that they would. And if they do and it doesn't go well, I dont expect anyone to sit down and let it happen. The real risk of civil war comes from Mugabe's clique though.. They have threatenned.

    They were wrong. Democracy is always preferrable over dictatorship, but dictatorship is preferrable over anarchy.

    How convinient.. Would you have said the same about Portugal Angola ? Pinochet's Chile ? Mobutu's Zaire ?
    Yes Iraq is a mess. But it's a mess because Saddam destroyed any sort of non-Saddam institituions that existed and because the US aren't really interested in having a stable and non-violent Iraq (because it's unlikely that it would be a pro-US Iraq)

    Why? So the talentless MDC can turn Zimbabwe into a neoliberal looting site?

    Talentless ? You're the one saying Mugabe after 30 years need "time" to groom a successor.. That's being full of talents and competence ? And what's with the neo-liberal thing ? Look at theird support in SA. Mugabe is allied with Mbeki and his main critics and MDC's support are COSATU and the fucking Communist Party of SA. Are they stooges of neo-liberalism ? Are worker orgs somehow less aware of exploitation than Presidents ?

    Name me one publication that has given an item by item breakdown of the causes of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. And I don't mean just saying 'because of the land reform program', but an item by item analysis of the cause of inflation in Zimbabwe.

    The usual line is deficit spending + running the monet presses + loss of forex partially because of the land reform. What's yours ? Mugabe's Swiss accounts are frozen leads to 10000% inflation ?
    PLEASE.

    and you're questioning the deaths ? Did anyone question that Saddam was killing Irakis ? Did anyone lie about that ? Can you think of one case in which dictators were accused of murders and it was proven wrong ? Chile ? Nicaragua ? the USSR ? Serbia ? Cambodgia ? Argentina ? Liberia ?

    Honestly.




    Name one single BBC article that presents the government of Zimbabwe's point of view - anywhere in the last 10 years would do.

    Fact are stubborn. They do metion what Mugabe claims.. Yesterday I heard him say"illegal sanctions are the only thing to blame for the economic downturn" or soemthing like that. But yeah, it is journalistic dutty to say that the sanctions are mild because that's a fact.


    I am not skeptical of coverage of Zimbabwe for no reason. I am skeptical because I can recognize emotional reporting that is high on accusation and opinion, and very short on names, places or the use of multiple sources.

    So what about the latest episodes of violence? People getting abducted, killed, pictures of beaten people, the government itself announcing the raiding of MDC's office ? They're all lies ? Inexistent ?


    Geogre Orwell wrote something on people like you decades ago:


    Obsession. As nearly as possible, no nationalist ever thinks, talks, or writes about anything except the superiority of his own power unit. It is difficult if not impossible for any nationalist to conceal his allegiance. The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort. If the chosen unit is an actual country, such as Ireland or India, he will generally claim superiority for it not only in military power and political virtue, but in art, literature, sport, structure of the language, the physical beauty of the inhabitants, and perhaps even in climate, scenery and cooking. He will show great sensitiveness about such things as the correct display of flags, relative size of headlines and the order in which different countries are named(4). Nomenclature plays a very important part in nationalist thought. Countries which have won their independence or gone through a nationalist revolution usually change their names, and any country or other unit round which strong feelings revolve is likely to have several names, each of them carrying a different implication. The two sides of the Spanish Civil War had between them nine or ten names expressing different degrees of love and hatred. Some of these names (e. g. ‘Patriots’ for Franco-supporters, or ‘Loyalists’ for Government-supporters) were frankly question-begging, and there was no single one of the which the two rival factions could have agreed to use. All nationalists consider it a duty to spread their own language to the detriment of rival languages, and among English-speakers this struggle reappears in subtler forms as a struggle between dialects. Anglophobe-Americans will refuse to use a slang phrase if they know it to be of British origin, and the conflict between Latinizers and Germanizers often has nationalists motives behind it. Scottish nationalists insist on the superiority of Lowland Scots, and socialists whose nationalism takes the form of class hatred tirade against the B.B.C. accent and even the often gives the impression of being tinged by belief in symphatetic magic — a belief which probably comes out in the widespread custom of burning political enemies in effigy, or using pictures of them as targets in shooting galleries.
    Instability. The intensity with which they are held does not prevent nationalist loyalties from being transferable. To begin with, as I have pointed out already, they can be and often are fastened up on some foreign country. One quite commonly finds that great national leaders, or the founders of nationalist movements, do not even belong to the country they have glorified. Sometimes they are outright foreigners, or more often they come from peripheral areas where nationality is doubtful. Examples are Stalin, Hitler, Napoleon, de Valera, Disraeli, Poincare, Beaverbrook. The Pan-German movement was in part the creation of an Englishman, Houston Chamberlain. For the past fifty or a hundred years, transferred nationalism has been a common phenomenon among literary intellectuals. With Lafcadio Hearne the transference was to Japan, with Carlyle and many others of his time to Germany, and in our own age it is usually to Russia. But the peculiarly interesting fact is that re-transference is also possible. A country or other unit which has been worshipped for years may suddenly become detestable, and some other object of affection may take its place with almost no interval. In the first version of H. G. Wells's Outline of History, and others of his writings about that time, one finds the United States praised almost as extravagantly as Russia is praised by Communists today: yet within a few years this uncritical admiration had turned into hostility. The bigoted Communist who changes in a space of weeks, or even days, into an equally bigoted Trotskyist is a common spectacle. In continental Europe Fascist movements were largely recruited from among Communists, and the opposite process may well happen within the next few years. What remains constant in the nationalist is his state of mind: the object of his feelings is changeable, and may be imaginary.
    But for an intellectual, transference has an important function which I have already mentioned shortly in connection with Chesterton. It makes it possible for him to be much more nationalistic — more vulgar, more silly, more malignant, more dishonest — that he could ever be on behalf of his native country, or any unit of which he had real knowledge. When one sees the slavish or boastful rubbish that is written about Stalin, the Red Army, etc. by fairly intelligent and sensitive people, one realises that this is only possible because some kind of dislocation has taken place. In societies such as ours, it is unusual for anyone describable as an intellectual to feel a very deep attachment to his own country. Public opinion — that is, the section of public opinion of which he as an intellectual is aware — will not allow him to do so. Most of the people surrounding him are sceptical and disaffected, and he may adopt the same attitude from imitativeness or sheer cowardice: in that case he will have abandoned the form of nationalism that lies nearest to hand without getting any closer to a genuinely internationalist outlook. He still feels the need for a Fatherland, and it is natural to look for one somewhere abroad. Having found it, he can wallow unrestrainedly in exactly those emotions from which he believes that he has emancipated himself. God, the King, the Empire, the Union Jack — all the overthrown idols can reappear under different names, and because they are not recognised for what they are they can be worshipped with a good conscience. Transferred nationalism, like the use of scapegoats, is a way of attaining salvation without altering one's conduct.
    Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The Liberal News Chronicle published, as an example of shocking barbarity, photographs of Russians hanged by the Germans, and then a year or two later published with warm approval almost exactly similar photographs of Germans hanged by the Russians(5). It is the same with historical events. History is thought of largely in nationalist terms, and such things as the Inquisition, the tortures of the Star Chamber, the exploits of the English buccaneers (Sir Francis Drake, for instance, who was given to sinking Spanish prisoners alive), the Reign of Terror, the heroes of the Mutiny blowing hundreds of Indians from the guns, or Cromwell's soldiers slashing Irishwomen's faces with razors, become morally neutral or even meritorious when it is felt that they were done in the ‘right’ cause. If one looks back over the past quarter of a century, one finds that there was hardly a single year when atrocity stories were not being reported from some part of the world; and yet in not one single case were these atrocities — in Spain, Russia, China, Hungary, Mexico, Amritsar, Smyrna — believed in and disapproved of by the English intelligentsia as a whole. Whether such deeds were reprehensible, or even whether they happened, was always decided according to political predilection.
    The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. And those who are loudest in denouncing the German concentration camps are often quite unaware, or only very dimly aware, that there are also concentration camps in Russia. Huge events like the Ukraine famine of 1933, involving the deaths of millions of people, have actually escaped the attention of the majority of English russophiles. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one's own mind.
    Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should — in which, for example, the Spanish Armada was a success or the Russian Revolution was crushed in 1918 — and he will transfer fragments of this world to the history books whenever possible. Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied(6). In 1927 Chiang Kai Shek boiled hundreds of Communists alive, and yet within ten years he had become one of the heroes of the Left. The re-alignment of world politics had brought him into the anti-Fascist camp, and so it was felt that the boiling of the Communists ‘didn't count’, or perhaps had not happened. The primary aim of propaganda is, of course, to influence contemporary opinion, but those who rewrite history do probably believe with part of their minds that they are actually thrusting facts into the past. When one considers the elaborate forgeries that have been committed in order to show that Trotsky did not play a valuable part in the Russian civil war, it is difficult to feel that the people responsible are merely lying. More probably they feel that their own version was what happened in the sight of God, and that one is justified in rearranging the records accordingly.
    Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another, which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. There can often be a genuine doubt about the most enormous events. For example, it is impossible to calculate within millions, perhaps even tens of millions, the number of deaths caused by the present war. The calamities that are constantly being reported — battles, massacres, famines, revolutions — tend to inspire in the average person a feeling of unreality. One has no way of verifying the facts, one is not even fully certain that they have happened, and one is always presented with totally different interpretations from different sources. What were the rights and wrongs of the Warsaw rising of August 1944? Is it true about the German gas ovens in Poland? Who was really to blame for the Bengal famine? Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so dishonestly set forth in almost any newspaper that the ordinary reader can be forgiven either for swallowing lies or failing to form an opinion. The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him. All nationalist controversy is at the debating-society level. It is always entirely inconclusive, since each contestant invariably believes himself to have won the victory. Some nationalists are not far from schizophrenia, living quite happily amid dreams of power and conquest which have no connection with the physical world.


    You are crazy.

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  11. http://zambian-economist.blogspot.com/2008/06/collier-in-praise-of-toppling-mugabe.html?showComment=1214308800000#c6285159280832919662


    Cho,

    What you seem to forget is that its not Bush who is a threat to Zambia’s national security but the henchmen in Zimbabwe.

    He is a threat to the people of Iraq and possibly Iran. And to the extent that he is behind the sanctions against Zimbabwe, he is a danger to the economy of Zimbabwe.

    The situation has now gone beyond petty consideration of historic ties. Zambia’s safety and livelihood is on the line.

    Those historic ties are not petty. And this is nothing, compared to what happens if there is a civil war. If the MDC would somehow come to power and tried to turn back land redistribution, there will be a civil war which will make the present wrangles look insignificant.

    People thought Iraq was bad and that between sanctions and Sadam Husein, things couldn't possibly get worse.

    They were wrong. Democracy is always preferrable over dictatorship, but dictatorship is preferrable over anarchy.

    As a nation we have for so long stood aside while nations around cripple our economic activity (Angola, Mozambique, DRC, etc).

    You mean with their inconvenient liberation wars?

    I say on this one we should call Bob’s bluff allow and get everyone to close their borders. Let us hem him in until his own people turn on him.

    Why? So the talentless MDC can turn Zimbabwe into a neoliberal looting site? So their actions can provoke a civil war? Zambia is surrounded by countries on all sides. It cannot retreat from the region.

    In the mean time we should have a stabilising force stationed in Zambia to go on if Mugabe flees. I refuse to let a 80 year old dictator murder women and children just for the lust of power.

    Who says he is?

    You should be a lot more skeptical of the mainstream press, especially when they show every sign of having lost whatever objectivity they once had. They do lie, as we have seen with regards to Iraq and even Iran.

    Plus, there is a large section of the media who have gone off on Zimbabwe ever since land reform back in 1997.

    Name me one publication that has given an item by item breakdown of the causes of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe. And I don't mean just saying 'because of the land reform program', but an item by item analysis of the cause of inflation in Zimbabwe.

    Name one single BBC article that presents the government of Zimbabwe's point of view - anywhere in the last 10 years would do. It is unique that the only source that is taken as gospel, is the political opposition's.

    There is no objectivity or fact checking when it comes to reporting on Zimbabwe.

    I am not skeptical of coverage of Zimbabwe for no reason. I am skeptical because I can recognize emotional reporting that is high on accusation and opinion, and very short on names, places or the use of multiple sources.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is the guy who compared Mugabe to Milosevic and thought it was a good look.

    Who's next? Mobutu (the US supported Kabila after all) ? Pol Pot ?

    ReplyDelete
  13. https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2705183461541363969&postID=3882234679061815260


    Cho,

    Didn't Anglo-American pull out of Zambia because conditions were too harsh? I don't know where to file this story - 'Money Never Sleeps'? :)

    Anglo-American is seeing an opportunity in... Zimbabwe. From today's Times Online:

    Outrage over £200m UK investment in Zimbabwe

    Anglo American, the London-based mining giant, is to make what is believed to be the largest foreign investment in Zimbabwe to date, just as the British Government puts pressure on companies to withdraw from the country.

    Ironic, isn't it? Everyone is talking about a violent invasion of Zimabwe, and here is Anglo-American about to make a relatively large investment in the mining industry there.

    Don't believe the hype.

    Random,

    If the MDC would somehow come to power and tried to turn back land redistribution, there will be a civil war which will make the present wrangles look insignificant.

    You have no evidence that they would.

    You have no evidence that I don't, so please don't state that I don't when you don't know whether I do.

    I did, it was in their manifesto and we discussed it on this forum at length. They wanted to create some kind of land tribunal that would turn back land reform.

    They were more explicit about this on their previous website, but even today they state:

    * An MDC government will conduct a land audit of the chaotic land grab to ascertain who owns which part of land.

    * An MDC government will form an independent Land Commission that will design a land tenure system that will redress and rationalize the corrupt and self-serving land reform done by the ruling party.


    The MDC has practically been created to turn back land reform.

    ReplyDelete
  14. So why did you omit the first sentence ?


    MDC supports a systematic land reform that benefits the black people of Zimbabwe not the ruling elite and their cronies and one that is sensitive to the economic and societal needs providing food and jobs.

    * An MDC government will conduct a land audit of the chaotic land grab to ascertain who owns which part of land.

* An MDC government will form an independent Land Commission that will design a land tenure system that will redress and rationalize the corrupt and self-serving land reform done by the ruling party.



    So an audit is giving the land back to the whites ?

    So now if people want to find out exactly how many farms went to ZANU-PF officials, how many farms were to "veterans", how many farms went to allies and friends and how many went to real landless peasants, it's turning back land reform ? Or if land ends up in former farm workers' hands it's not the real deal ?

    Or are you that invested protecting the corrupt part of the land reform that this is totally unacceptable ?


    And whoa, one day sanctions caused hyperinflation, the other day, you proudly link to an article in which a British company says it's totally legal for them to invest £200 millions ? What does that say about the sanctions ?

    Yep, still deranged.

    ReplyDelete
  15. And really, it's not like Anglo-American doesn't have a history of involvement with less-than-perfect regime.

    http://www.waronwant.org/?lid=14777

    Investing in Colombia and DRC conflict areas during the civil wars..

    Or even better, happily working with the Rhodesians and the appartheid governments..

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2003/mar/30/theobserver.observerbusiness2


    but yeah back then it was wrong and now it's not ?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Random,

    So an audit is giving the land back to the whites ?

    Yes. What part of

    " redress and rationalize the corrupt and self-serving land reform done by the ruling party.? "

    did you miss?

    Time to apologize for stating 'You have no evidence that they would.'.

    And whoa, one day sanctions caused hyperinflation, the other day, you proudly link to an article in which a British company says it's totally legal for them to invest £200 millions ? What does that say about the sanctions ?

    I suggest you read it again. Sanctions started 7 years ago, with ZDERA, not yesterday. They are financial and corporate in nature, and are targeted at the Zimbabwean government and state, not 'targeted individuals' as is often said.

    The fact that despite of '100,000% inflation', ANGLO-AMERICAN knows it can make lots of profit mining platinum in Zimbabwe, tells you everything you need to know about the nature of inflation in Zimbabwe.

    The fact that they believe they can make a profit and not be nationalized after investing $400 million while Robert Mugabe is still in power, tells you everything you need to know about the actual situation in Zimbabwe, which is very different than how it is portrayed in the media.

    And I don't use words like 'Yep'.

    and you're questioning the deaths ? Did anyone question that Saddam was killing Irakis ? Did anyone lie about that ?

    They knowingly conflated the chemical attacks by his army on the Iraqi Kurds 15 years earlier to being an imminent threat.

    They lied about the presence of weapons of mass destruction, and the imminent threat that they were supposed to present. They lied about links between Sadam Husein and Al-Qaeda. They lied about a meeting between the hijackers and Iraqi intelligence 'in Prague'. I could go on.

    At the time, Sadam was not 'killing Iraqis' the way he was after Gulf War One, when the US encouraged the Iraqi people to rise up against Sadam, and then left them out in the cold.

    Can you think of one case in which dictators were accused of murders and it was proven wrong ? Chile ? Nicaragua ? the USSR ? Serbia ? Cambodgia ? Argentina ? Liberia ? Honestly.

    And you cannot mention the leader of a major nation who does not have blood on his hands. Jimmy Carter (Desert One). Ronald Reagan (El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatamala, Angola (read: In Search Of Enemies). Bush senior (Iraq 1). Bill Clinton (Bosnia, Somalia). Bush Junior (Iraq, Haiti, Somalia, etc.). Margaret Thatcher (Argentina, Northern Ireland). Tony Blair (Iraq). Vladimir Putin. On and on.

    Being a dictator and having blood on their hands have nothing to do with eachother.

    They all have blood on their hands. That seems to be the norm.

    Name one single BBC article that presents the government of Zimbabwe's point of view - anywhere in the last 10 years would do.

    Fact are stubborn. They do metion what Mugabe claims..


    Mentioning one sentence from Robert Mugabe is not the same as writing an article from the point of view of the government, so I guess we're back at square one.

    Name one single BBC article that presents the government point of view. Just an extensive interview with a member of ZANU-PF will do.

    Until then, I consider this subject closed as far as you're concerned.

    ReplyDelete
  17. So an audit is giving the land back to the whites ?

Yes. What part of 

" redress and rationalize the corrupt and self-serving land reform done by the ruling party.? "

did you miss? 

Time to apologize for stating 'You have no evidence that they would.'.


    You're full of it.
    MDC argues that a lot of the land went to ZANU-PF croonies and associates and not to landless peasants. They want to find out how much and eventually take it away from those and only those.

    A lot of people agree that the croonism happened. If you say it didn't happen, fine. But then, why would you be worried about an audit. Don't you expect it to find out that in fact all the land went to who it was supposed to go to?

    An audit is NOT giving it back to the white farmers. period.

    And yes, that means they never said they would revert the land reform. So stop lying.

    I suggest you read it again. Sanctions started 7 years ago, with ZDERA, not yesterday. They are financial and corporate in nature, and are targeted at the Zimbabwean government and state, not 'targeted individuals' as is often said. 

The fact that despite of '100,000% inflation', ANGLO-AMERICAN knows it can make lots of profit mining platinum in Zimbabwe, tells you everything you need to know about the nature of inflation in Zimbabwe. 

The fact that they believe they can make a profit and not be nationalized after investing $400 million while Robert Mugabe is still in power, tells you everything you need to know about the actual situation in Zimbabwe, which is very different than how it is portrayed in the media.

    once again, either the sanction are harsh or they're not. Either Zimbabwe has been sucked dry by them or they haven't. AngloAmerica invests there and London protests but says it's not illegal. So how harsh are those sanctions exactly ?

    And like I said, AngloAmerican invested in DRC in the middle of the civil war. They know how to make money in difficult situations. People without connection don't.

    They knowingly conflated the chemical attacks by his army on the Iraqi Kurds 15 years earlier to being an imminent threat.

They lied about the presence of weapons of mass destruction, and the imminent threat that they were supposed to present. They lied about links between Sadam Husein and Al-Qaeda. They lied about a meeting between the hijackers and Iraqi intelligence 'in Prague'. I could go on. 

At the time, Sadam was not 'killing Iraqis' the way he was after Gulf War One, when the US encouraged the Iraqi people to rise up against Sadam, and then left them out in the cold.

    AND ? Did they lie about Saddam killing people ? Did they lie about Pinochet killing people ? Did they lie about Botha killing people ?
    Has one guy accused of killing people ever been absolved by history ?

    Being a dictator and having blood on their hands have nothing to do with eachother. 

They all have blood on their hands. That seems to be the norm.

    That's the standard ? if Reagan does it we can do it ? DO YOU WANT TO BE REAGAN ? Did African fight for the right to kill our own innocently ?

    Mentioning one sentence from Robert Mugabe is not the same as writing an article from the point of view of the government, so I guess we're back at square one. 


    So they're supposed to repeat lies ? I guess you're the kind of guy who would have asked the western press to fairly present Hitler's point of view or the apartheid government's..

    Once again, facts are stubborn. And journalists are supposed to represent facts, not the Zimbabwe that exists in your crazy imagination in which tractors are being given away to everybody and happiness abounds.


    Look, it's really simple. Everybody that's not racist knows that the British press has been biased and frankly emotionnal and they always are. I can pull out articles describing Savimbi or Tchombe as an hero is 5 seconds. But that doesn't last. If everything about Mugabe was made up, it would have stopped a while ago or some diverging opinion would have came up. They haven't and people like COSATO and SAPC are coming up with their own disapraging reports.

    Once again, in your crazy world, are the trade unions of a neighbouring country supposed to care less about the well-being of the workers than the government and the army of another ?

    REALLY ?

    Is that your version of leftism ? Screw the workers, listen to the rulers ?

    That's exactly why i call you crazy and why i'm so angry. Because your kind is ruining even the idea of redistribution, land reform or national liberation by defending the first thugs who use them in an argument.

    Crazy.

    Until then, I consider this subject closed as far as you're concerned.

    And yeah, that's your usual answer. "Oooh the fact disagree so I won't talk about it and let me run away and then come back with the same old non-sense."

    When you're able to do anything but parroting whatever the first general who mentions "evil colonialists" says, may be you'll have any credibility. Meanwhile you're a crazy cheerleader. And that's the nice version.

    ReplyDelete
  18. To Stupid,

    MDC argues that a lot of the land went to ZANU-PF croonies and associates and not to landless peasants. They want to find out how much and eventually take it away from those and only those.

    What do you think they mean with the word 'redress'?

    The MDC has no interest whatsoever in redistributing land to 'landless peasants'. At the same time, the white farmers who support them don't do so because they want to see land redistributed to 'landless peasants'.

    And on the number of people who have benefited from land reform in Zimbabwe. According to this FAO page, the total numbers are:

    A1 farmers: 205 823
    A2 farmers: 28 665
    Total: 234 488

    (Table 2, Beneficiaries of the Land Reform Programme by Province, May 2003)

    That was in 2003. Those are a lot of 'friends and cronies'.

    Robert Mugabe must be very popular to have so many friends and cronies.

    Over and out on this issue, Random.

    ReplyDelete
  19. What do you think they mean with the word 'redress'? 


    What do they want to redress ?

    They want to redress "the corrupt and self-serving land reform done by the ruling party"

    subject-verb-object.

    If they're nothing self-serving and corrupt, well, an audit will tell, won't it ?

    The MDC has no interest whatsoever in redistributing land to 'landless peasants'. At the same time, the white farmers who support them don't do so because they want to see land redistributed to 'landless peasants'.

    That's an opinion. Can you prove in any way that MDC has no interest in redistributing land to landless peasants or farm workers ? I mean, other than a Mugabe rant that you parrott ?

    And guilt by association doesn't work. Once again, COSATU, SAPC along with DA are the South African supporters of MDC. That is an odd bunch, isn't it ? (and the same happened in Zim itself, right ?)

    But I guess in your simple mind, being opposed by Big Business is proof of socialist credibility, right ? Even when workers themselves oppose you too?

    That was in 2003. Those are a lot of 'friends and cronies'. 

Robert Mugabe must be very popular to have so many friends and cronies.

    28 665 ? After 30 years in power ? In Africa ? LOL.
    You don't have to be very popular for that.. There are lots of party activists, politicians, civil servants, military, businesspeople to reward for their loyalty. And they have families.

    Over and out on this issue, Random.

    Yeah. Go and write about how a travel ban causes the worse hyperinflation since Weimar.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Krista,
    Here is what the west can do. Precision strike or better still snatch and grab. Send in delta force to specifically grab mugabe, Let the constituion take course(Not sure what the provisions are anymore for the running of the countyr in the president's absence);Take him to the Hague to stand trial and heavily fund the opposition to hold free and fair elections. Oh by the way 2 or 3 defense generals should accompany him to the war crimes tribunal. Mass Murder is a thing that belongs to yesterday and such action should not go unpanished.
    The west should Act in the apparent absence of courage among our African leaders.
    Just my opinion people.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I know my last comments must have raised some eyebrows coming from a guy who advocates for forgiveness and good leadership. Anyway, my point was that the west should do more than talk. Talk is not helping Zimbabweans-action on the other hand will.
    Now we can sit here and debate what the best action is but someone needs to let our brothers and sisters know that we will not let another Rwanda happen-not on our watch. Therefore, we even have to consider tough options to deal with this issue. Like Cho points out this is a unique situation but for how long can it go on? For how long can we let Mugabe destroy Zimbabwe?
    Our president Mwanawasa's hands are tied. The one thing the west can seriously do is reconize him as the Leader of SADC and throw all their weight behind him. US senators are talking to people like Mbeki and Zuma overlooking Mwanawasa. This does not help the situation.

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  22. Campbell,

    I don't know anyone is looking for help from George Bush. :)

    Look on the bright side. As soon as the elections are over, calm is going to return to the proceedings.

    What has to be done, is that there has to be an international recognition of the land reform program, so this doesn't become an obstacle to peace.

    Then, people should sit down together and talk about how to restore the Zimbabwean economy to health. That would include the lifting of all sanctions and anything that could be considered interfering with the Zimbabwean economy. Also, that would include the elimination of the negative effects of those sanctions on the economy itself. Perhaps the government can let go of some of the more coercive elements of the marxist interpretation of economics, without turning to neoliberal free market theory, the way it has been applied in Zambia.

    Lastly, there should be a national reconciliation, and concrete institutional reform of the army, police, and other civil society organisations so democracy can be deepened.

    Foreign invasion is not going to solve any of this. In fact, it is going to truly polarize society in a way that is not true today. There is no civil war going on, which could easily happen if a foreign invasion was followed by the harsh economic measures the MDC would surely implement, and especially if hundreds of thousands of people were thrown off their land.

    I know the MDC types like to pretend that only 'friends and cronies of Mugabe' benefited from land reform, but that simply isn't true.

    According to the FAO website:

    A1 Farmers: 205 823 (smallholder)
    A2 Farmers: 28 665 (commercial)
    Total: 234 488


    And that was back in 2003. There are literally hundreds of thousands of beneficiaries of the land reform program, so any claims that only a few friends and cronies of Mugabe would object should be taken with at least as much salt as the idea that the US and UK would be 'greated as liberators' in Iraq.

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. Mrk

    Why is so hard for you to imagine a Zimbabwe without Mugabe? He must simply step aside and save whatever is left of his legacy. Zimbabwe needs to enter a new chapter with new leaders and renewed vision. Of course like i said Military action will not solve the situation but something radical has to happen. Zimbabwe will never regain its former glory with Mugabe at the helm. Honestly I am fed up with African leaders who think we cannot exists without them. They stand in the way of progress in the name of empowering people when all they are doing is enriching themselves.

    The land reform program was a good ideal but the execution was wrong and that's what caused international uproar. Of course the whites had the better land but if Mugabe had done what you are suggesting-sit down and talk strategy-land reform would have worked. He was simply desperate after losing the constitutional referendum in 2000 and had to find a way to cling to power. This is cowardly leadership.
    The conditions right now in Zimbabwe do not support reconciliation. Not when people are being forced to vote for a president who has brought them nothing but misery over the last few years. Military reform cannot happen under the current conditions either. Most of the defense brass are Mugabe appointees who would want to protect themselves and would oppose policies that directly affect them. Unless you're saying Mugabe should fire them but then he risks a coup. Back to where Neil started from.

    I may not agree with everything KK in zambia did but at least he was man enough to accept that his time had come. Mugabe needs to man up and step aside.

    ReplyDelete

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