Let’s invade Zimbabwe: Christopher Hitchens makes a darn good case for invading Zimbabwe and deposing president Robert Mugabe. Haven’t we leaned anything? Well, do me a thought experiment. Everybody talks about the Bush Administration’s catastrophic bungling of the Iraq invasion, right? And while some of their mistakes are 20/20-obvious, many were things they were warned about in advance, and in real-time, and/or just simple refusal to adequately plan or face up to facts that were obvious to gosh-near everyone.
So what if there’s a way to do this right? With the support and consultation of the surrounding countries and the world, with a half-African US president in command, and with the right motivations? What if you could go in quickly, depose Mugabe, hold the elections that the people of Zimbabwe so clearly want, and get out?
2 thoughts on “Let’s invade Zimbabwe”
If there’s a way to do it right you do it.
In Zimbabwe that’s a big “if”, mainly because behind Mugabe there is an entire ethnic group not just a few cronies. That ethnic group, the Shona which is the majority, does not clearly want an election. The only reason the opposition won was because a former minister of Mugabe ran against him as an independent, taking away votes. As is often the case in Africa, ethnic warfare going back a hundred years is the foundation of dictatorships, or what are more accurately described as kingdoms with the thinnest veneer of democracy. And the support and consultation of the surrounding countries? African observers were the only ones to declare the elections “free and fair”. They are afraid of Mugabe and the paramilitary forces he controls right at their borders.
I’m afraid interventions are a “you broke it, you pay for it” dilemma, like Powell said. The main problem is believing in a quick-elections-and-exit strategy instead of being prepared to stay longer. What if that was what we did in Iraq? Would the country be mired in an endless ethnic war? (Still could be, which is why there’s no quick withdrawal of forces in the horizon). Zimbawe is also in financial ruin with crazy inflation. Would it be another Haiti, where successive interventions have been needed and another one may be in the works, because it’s a country that’s basically failed and beyond repair? So Mugabe has to go, but if we make him, we better do it this time with everybody else committed to share the load.
The suggestion that any intervention along these lines requires a coalition is, IMHO, absolutely dead-on. Propaedeutic. Not a faux “coalition of the willing” where 15 micro-nations scrape together a half-battalion of ragtags, but a solid statement of commitment and resources from genuine world powers.
This tangentially addresses Alex’s points, laying the foundation for post-war nation building by committed multiple parties.
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