Wishful Thinking on Zimbabwe

Writing today in the Boston Globe, Robert Rotberg of the Kennedy School has the solution for what ails Zimbabwe. After explaining the dire humanitarian situation and rehearsing the political brief against Robert Mugabe, he writes:

First, the African Union needs to declare Mugabe a non-president and recognize Tsvangirai as at least an interim ruler. Second, South Africa needs to make the Mugabe problem its own and present the nearly 85-year-old tyrant with two options: to exit gracefully to a soft landing in South Africa or to exit under South African military compulsion. Third, after a year or so, a new election to confirm Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change should be held under international auspices. If all else fails, the International Criminal Court should indict Mugabe for crimes against humanity. (emphasis added)

Rotberg is an Africa specialist so he ought to know that all of the steps he counsels have been suggested repeatedly, to no effect. For years, the West has called upon African leaders to “declare Mugabe a non-president,” or something to that effect, calls that have grown louder and louder over time with no demonstrable results. While Rotberg predicts that “When Obama assumes office, the power of his roots and his charisma may be able to persuade Africans to disbar Mugabe,” there is no evidence to assume this will be the case. The present American Secretary of State and her immediate successor, after all, are black. Their African ancestry, like Obama’s, was less important to African heads of state than the perceived national interests of those leaders, and it’s a good bet that they will not view Obama much differently.

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Wishful Thinking on Zimbabwe

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