Saturday, April 05, 2008

Following Up Engagement

Remarking on the burgeoning electoral crisis in Zimbabwe, Matt Yglesias writes:
One would hope that, at this point, some good might come of the controversial "engagement" approach taken by South Africa and others where African heads of state might indicate to Mugabe that a further crackdown at this point would be unacceptable.

But isn't this the problem? I lean towards engagement policies over isolationism, if for no other reason than the latter doesn't seem to have an end-game to me. But it does always seem that the countries who "engage" with dictatorships, with the purported justification that it gives them more leverage, are never actually willing to step up and put the hammer down. And so we get stalemates like this one.

I guess it's better that someone probably could step up and force an end to the Zimbabwe crisis than for there to be literally nobody the international community could turn to. But that's pretty weak sauce when that someone refuses to step up to the plate.

1 comment:

Jo said...

If I get your drift correctly, which maybe I don't, I think we need to do something else.

a) Britain, US, India, China, Australia, etc. need to put their interests on the table. You want something - titanium? What else?

b) Back up the citizenry. Zimbabweans have an incredible commitment to democratic change. Support them. Minimally pray with the. Yes! GMT -2 pray for 5 minutes. Daily. Spread the word.

c) Join them by smiling. I am not right now it is true. I am finding it hard. Ring up our embassy and ask them for their story. Genuinely and sincerely. Listening to people helps.

Am I listening to you? No, I am not. At least not a a lot. I am sorry. I am overtired.

I am hoping that your big hope will bring change. A mixture of almost exaggerated courtesy with attendance to the principles is just what is needed with regard to Africa. Good luck with your election.