How Should the International Community Respond to the Elections in Zimbabwe?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 27, 2008
Presidential Elections in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe recently held a presidential runoff election amid reports of voter intimidation and despite requests from regional leaders – including the African Union – asking President Mugabe to postpone and speak with opposition leaders. The United States and other countries will discuss the circumstances in Zimbabwe with members of the United Nations Security Council and G-8 partners.

How should the international community respond to the elections in Zimbabwe?

Comments

Comments

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
June 27, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Spend about 2 dollars for a .308 cartridge and one good USMC sniper.

It would solve a lot of the world's problems if you think about it right now.

We can deliberate about not using fist first, but the mentality of some world leaders today simply denotes it.

Each day a tyrant stays in office, more innocent people die or suffer and the world simply cannot afford that any longer. It is an economic burden which has put all of us at risk of starvation and banking dilemmas. Is the life of this one individual worth more than the lives he has cost and made to suffer?

If we put sanctions on him, the people suffer, he does not. If we arm the people to fight against him, more are killed and suffer, but they would earn their freedom and become more united.

He has already stated he will not leave office regardless of the voting outcome or involvements from outside pressure. He is rich, he does not have to...what options are there beyond elimination in one respect or another?

Zharkov
|
United States
June 27, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

Fake elections could be deemed a crime against humanity, and the winner prosecuted.

This could place power-hungry politicians in prison but if their party stuffs the ballot box or "realigns" the digital record, they deserve it. Under Nuremburg rules, "just following orders" is no excuse and the candidate should be responsible for the acts of his agents.

Zimbabwe, a name associated with failure; Rhodesia, a name associated with success; Mugabe, a name associated with black tyranny, will need a violent revolution to rid itself of its thugocracy. Such a revolution should be allowed to occur without U.S. assistance. Let the local people make their own decisions. No more U.S. endorsements of other people's politicians. Let African leaders be judged by their work, not our own diplomatic blather.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 27, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Better send in the international "calvary" to prevent a bloodbath.

I mean Now. Not after it happens.

If Mugabe won't heed the Sec. Council's Presidential Statement issued Monday, then removal from power becomes neccessary to prevent a potential crime against humanity.

Political pressure is one thing, but other options become needed when that does not work.

Mugabe probably needs a thourough medical exam, because it is hard for me to imagine how an individual can change from a statesman to a monster in the time he has without possibly suffering from a brain tumor, Alzhimers, or organic brain syndrome.

It's just a thought that perhaps a medical condition exists that might account for the change in his personality and policies over the years.

Why else would a leader intentionally run his country into the ground as totaly as he has.

My question is why was he ever allowed to in the first place?

I believe only the people of Zimbabwe can really answer that.

Zharkov
|
United States
July 1, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The obvious answer is to demand the UN do something more than shake a finger at Mugabe.

What happened to Zimbabwe's neighbors? Do they not wish to help? Hello, South Africa? Are you there?

Are they going to sit on their hands while a black Pol Pot rises to power? Will Mugabe's "brown shirts" be ignored while they execute all political opponents?

When will African nations begin to stand up and fight for their liberty? Or does the White Man's Burden last forever?

For those whose grasp of history ends at yesterday's sitcome episode:

"Take up the White Man's burden --
The savage wars of peace --
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to naught."
(R. Kipling - 1899)
Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 27, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

To not act in response is in itself an action. The question becomes, Do we do more harm by not acting to remove this illegitimate govenment? Or more harm by the process of removal?

I don't think Joe's ".308" solution would be legal unless an executive order was recinded, but if it were, that would probbably be a .50 cal. from a Barrett Rifle instead of a .308 round.

Joe must be trying to save the taxpayer a buck on ammo, when for just a few dollars more....we could get it done right.

But as we see in the following, it really is up to the people:

---

Remarks by Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. Permanent Representative, on Sudan and Zimbabwe at the Security Council Stakeout, June 24, 2008

(in progress)

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well we have been heartened by the reaction around the world to the resolution. We have been heartened by the reaction particularly in Africa; the government of Zimbabwe is isolating itself, not only from the broader world but also in Africa. As I said yesterday it was heartening that African members of the Council voted for the condemnation of the government and for a strong statement. We will look at measures to be taken in the face of the defiance. We don't have any specific date or measure at this point in mind. We haven't initiated those discussions. But as you know we move in sequence. First you have to make the call to demand, to instruct. And the Security Council did that yesterday, unanimously. Now we have to give it a little bit of time to see what the reaction is and then we have to look at what do you do to bring about compliance. We are in the phase of assessing the reaction to the PRST.

Reporter: Mr. Ambassador, the response to that call seems to have just been given right here at the microphone about five seconds before you were here. The call seems to have been completely just rebuff what the Security Council did and said yesterday. A question of what's next was answered of let them try in terms of intervention and anything else. That seems pretty defiant. What's your country's position now on the next step given that response? It seems pretty clear cut.

Ambassador Khalilzad: As I said, one step at a time. We will consider further steps. As I said that was the first important thing that the Security Council has done on Zimbabwe. It was adopted unanimously that itself was a strong message of success for the Security Council, and a failure for the government. The government is further isolating itself and undermining its standing and its legitimacy. We will obviously, in consultation with colleagues in the Council and with Africans consider additional steps but I don't have anything specific for you today with regards to the next step.

Reporter: Ambassador, I'm talking about measures. Zimbabwe is already on the sanctions, and more sanctions of course won't hurt Mugabe but only the people. Will maybe U.S. or other European countries in the Security Council think about removing Mugabe from power?

Ambassador Khalilzad: Well, the decision about removing Mr. Mugabe from power is a decision that the Zimbabwe people will have to make. You know that in the election that took place in March, even by government numbers he got less than Mr. Tsvangirai, who got more than 47%, while Mr. Mugabe got 43%. And Parliamentary elections, similarly, the opposition got more seats than the ruling party. It is clear based on that election what the preference of the people of Zimbabwe was. With regard to sanctions, of course, he has sanctioned his people. His economic policies have been a sanctions or economic sanctions regime against the people. You know, so many people there need international help. As we go forward, we want to - we would want to think about - and as I said I don't have anything specific at this point about what can be done vis-a-vie the regime, the ruling party - there is no ill intent on the part of the international community, the United States, towards the people of Zimbabwe. We see them as victims of the policies of President Mugabe.

http://www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/press_releases/20080624_164.html

John
|
Greece
June 28, 2008

John in Greece writes:

John @ Zharkov in U.S.A.

Although I am not an expert in African socio-political matters actually I do not know anything at all about these very "complicated" countries/tribes/religious mosaics - I disagree with you that "No more U.S. endorsements of other people's politicians" is needed.

I won't comment on the word "endorsement" that you use, but I will do attempt to persuade you concerning the "river flow" - let me use this improvised term of mine.

America has an ethical obligation to help and "guide" such regions until people there reach the minimum humanitarian and democratic standards in order for them to act safely for the rest of the globe and of course themselves.

What I mean?

Here is the "river flow" theory:

Through your ideas, you suggest that U.S.A. should be transformed into a "village".

I believe that you think that by "closing the doors and windows" we can relax and just enjoy things: simple happy village life, far way from the problems of the "city" and the "globe".

This is your probable UTOPIA theory "your favorite wor(l)d"

Although village-life is good, unfortunately the "river flows". And some day the water is outside OUR small, happy, village house. This happens because a river flows globally and not locally.

And then, when you finally desire to open up the doors and windows outside your little claustrophobic local house? you can't. The global river water is outside your door and presses you!

At the beginning, you thought like the water flow was supposed to stop in the first village. On the contrary, it continued via many other villages and became stronger, until it reached YOURS.

And then you think: I wish we had a better "endorsement of flow", before we closed the doors.

I really have no opinion - I do not have the knowledge - about "Elections in Zimbabwe", but we have to congratulate all these people in DoS that really work hard under very bad conditions. And they do it for all of us.

I will just remind you of this post:
http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/entries/us_evacuates_embassy_in_chad/

Zharkov
|
United States
July 1, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

@ John in Greece -- John in Greece, it is not too late for America to turn away from building an empire and go back to being an ordinary country again. America in perpetual war serves our enemies.

We as a nation have a tendency to avoid reality by substituting our paradigm as our as reality.

We suffer from "change blindness" in which fewer freedoms are promoted as beneficial and most of us are too busy to notice the difference.

Peception management is used by the federal government against our civilian population in a similar manner as the military uses it in war. Federal perception management teams spend time working the internet and with news media to ensure Americans continue to believe, despite what they see with their own eyes, that our lives, liberty, and property are safe from government intrusion and confiscation; our dollar is sound and our wars are won.

These psychological operations continue to neutralize and de-legitimatize dissent as "conspiracy theories" or "unpatriotic" or evidence of chronic malcontent. Perception management capitalizes on human intangibles such as history, culture, religion, and ideology, to sustain the illusion of freedom as part of an effective influence campaign in America.

The dissonance of a half-trillion-dollar war resulting in $5.00 per gallon fuel in America shatters the illusion that invading Iraq was a smart idea but some today still hope that it was, while they decide between eating today or getting to work tomorrow.

The current revolution in federal power is now changing the way we live and the power balance set by the constitution, during which revolution we repeat to ourselves that we are still "free", or, "things are not too bad yet", or "I can still vote". The increasing deception capabilities of our federal government poses a major risk to our freedom precisely because it has been so successful.

Many of us still believe our telephone conversations are private; that a search warrant is required to search our homes; that Pat Tillman was killed by enemy fire; that no prisoner mistreatment occurred at Abu Ghraib; that Saddam was responsible for 9/11; that the Marc Rich pardon was a routine presidential decision; that Monica Lewinsky was a disgruntled federal employee; that the dollar did not decline in purchasing power; and America is not bankrupt as a result of government expenses exceeding government revenue. We cling to the paradigm of a free, prosperous, democratic America despite every indicator pointing the wrong way.

Our government seeks total information awareness, not total privacy protection. The United States and the European Union are nearing completion of an agreement that would allow our government agencies to exchange private, personal information with foreign governments - including credit card transactions, travel histories and Internet browsing habits - destroying privacy for people on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The global spy network being created to track Americans even outside their country is, of course, unconstitutional, and not consistent with our right to be free from government intrusion. It is not in the nature of federal socialism to trust the people, hence the continuing demand for still more information. When bureaucrats think of freedom, "less is more". They ask us to trade freedom for security.

So we should be more than skeptical of anything the federal government rhapsodizes about. We should remember that Orwell's Ministry of Plenty announced every year that the standard of living rose 20%. All the while, life in Oceania grew more miserable, as is citizens toiled to support their totalitarian government and its endless wars.

Lewis
|
Japan
July 1, 2008

Lewis in Japan writes:

Unfortunately, we don't have a whole lot of options available to us. Loudly condemn the "election" and Mugabe, pressure Mbeki and the African Union to do the same and press for increased international isolation of Zimbabwe- not that starving the people will do a whole lot to change Mugabe's mind. Military action would trigger memories of white colonialism (like we're not seen as imperialist enough already) and even taking out Mugabe would only result in Zimbabwe being ruled by a Burmese-styled junta.

It seems as if South Africa is key to finding an acceptable solution. Unfortunately, with the World Cup fast approaching and SA's leader in possession of a noodle strand for a spinal cord, it doesn't look as if an easy fix is in the cards.

Zharkov
|
United States
July 1, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The first mistake the DoS is making is in referring to the sham in Zimbabwe as an "election". There was no election in the second round of voting because the voters were not allowed to freely vote for the candidate of their choice.

The first election had resulted in a president being elected who was not Robert Mugabe, and that should be sufficient to exclude Mugabe from all international forums and conferences because he is now merely a member of the general public of Zimbabwe despite his gang of thugs.

The gentleman who is president of Zimbabwe today, Morgan Tsvangirai, is the duly elected leader of Zimbabwe and should be the one invited to talk at the U.N. and other forums wherever possible. If necessary, U.N. troops should be sent to Zimbabwe to extract their president from his refuge and bring him to safety where he may plan the next move to obtain possession of his office.

Robert Mugabe is no longer relevant to the future of Zimbabwe other than as a criminal usurper of democratic elections and as such, he belongs in prison.

Unfortunately, Mr. Mugabe is the poster-boy for the need for an International Court of Justice and an international arrest warrant to seize him wherever he can be found and brought to trial for election fraud, terrorism and oppression. If the War on Terrorism means anything, it should mean that a nation's former leader cannot be permitted to terrorize his own people.

JOE
|
Tennessee, USA
July 1, 2008

Joe in Tennessee writes:

They say that even negative events can have productive results.

We are experiencing the greatest outcome in decades right now over this unfortunate situation: Unification of the Free States-Countries of all Africa unifying in protest.

1. It shows a closer center to Nationalism for a unified country.

2. The passion with which all Nations on earth are unified against this madman shows a more unified political parameters which will be accepted.

3. The immediate response shows the seriousness of all concerned with poor leadership.

We all do have to realize that even the smallest country which may or may not affect us directly can do so. WWI was a prime example of how Serbian teenagers actually set of a domino effect that brought the entire world to conflict. In fact more people were killed prior to WWI than in the war itself. Like eight million as I recall. One little country, three teenagers restructured the entire tectonic political arena in Europe and set the stage for 50 years of war. This example alone shows us that we cannot accept terrorism by either leadership to its citizens nor externally to a solvent government anywhere in the world.

Ronald B.
|
New York, USA
July 2, 2008

RB in New York writes:

The International Community should be outraged. The world's leaders must join together to express their utter contempt for Mugabe and his regime. Mugabe should be placed on trials for crimes against humanity and planting seeds of genocide. USG should take the lead. The New York Times recent front-page photo of the baby with broken legs tells all. Mentally-ill despots should not be presidents. ...Suggesting a coalition or unity government in Zimbabwe; is adding insult to injury.

araba
|
Turkey
July 3, 2008

Araba in Turkey writes:

We can deliberate about not using fist first, but the mentality of some world leaders today simply denotes it.

Each day a tyrant stays in office, more innocent people die or suffer and the world simply cannot afford that any longer. It is an economic burden which has put all of us at risk of starvation and banking dilemmas. Is the life of this one individual worth more than the lives he has cost and made to suffer?

If we put sanctions on him, the people suffer, he does not. If we arm the people to fight against him, more are killed and suffer, but they would earn their freedom and become more united.

He has already stated he will not leave office regardless of the voting outcome or involvements from outside pressure. He is rich, he does not have to...what options are there beyond elimination in one respect or another?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 3, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Dipnote bloggers,

General Omar Bradley once said, "Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants, we know more about war than we do about peace, more about killing than about living."

Mine is a philosophical question --

At what point does the international community determine that the ethical infant's diapers need changing, as the smell of ill intent has become all too overwhelming and noxious to Humanity?

.

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