Interventionists should follow uniform
principles Kazi Anwarul Masud
Eighteenth century German philosopher
Immanuel Kant would have liked a "true policy" to first pay homage to
morality. Politics united to morals, he felt, would not be difficult or
complicated. But in the real world foreign policy is often dictated by
selfish interests of the decision makers representing the state projecting
their agenda beyond the boundaries of the state. In the process of such
projection morality is often the first casualty. Since a democratic
government is expected to reflect the wishes of its constituents, the foreign
policy actions of the government may sometimes be concretised beyond state
borders in a foreign land. Concretisation of such foreign policy moves can be
in the form of military intervention as we have seen in Afghanistan and
The war on Afghanistan to drive out the Taliban was morally
defensible as the UN Security Council had established that terrorists may be
considered as agents of the state that harbours them and has made it illegal
for states to sponsor or shelter them. Taliban refusal to hand over Osama bin
Laden and his al-Qaida network to the international community for trial and
punishment rendered the Taliban and Afghanistan liable to international
military action. Odious nature of the Taliban regime had acquired barbaric
perfection and was contrary to all civilised norms, and perhaps most
importantly the Taliban had given a convoluted expression to Islam,
quintessentially a religion of peace and brotherhood. Therefore the global
pantheon unhesitatingly agreed on US, NATO and allied military intervention
to totally demolish the Taliban politico-religious construct. World
conscience did not suffer any pangs of contrition for the pulverisation of
Going back into history the allied participation in the
Second World War was unquestionably moral given the hunger of Nazism and
Fascism for occupation of other countries and the unspeakable atrocities
meted out to the conquered people and particularly to the Jews.
Decolonisation of the colonial empires was a logical follow up of the Second
World War. After all if the allied powers could put their men, women and
money in harms way to save others (and themselves) from the Nazis and the
Fascists' devouring hunger, then clearly any moral ground for the colonial
powers to hang on to their colonies, occupied by force in the first instance,
in the pretext of carrying the "white man's burden" to civilize the
uncivilized people of the colonies, did not hold water.
also be recognised that only moral pressure did not force the colonialists to
give freedom to the colonies. In many cases the colonial powers entered into
an agreement to grant freedom after the Second World War was won in exchange
for the support of the colonies to the war efforts. Equally indigenous
leaders of the colonies well versed in the western precepts of democracy,
civil and political rights, expressed the unquenchable thirst of the
colonized for freedom, sometimes expressed through armed struggle( e.g. in
India or Mau Mau in Kenya) but more often through non- violent political
Be it as it may the decision of the colonial powers to
grant freedom to the colonies was backed by moral principles. But the onset
of the cold war instigated the western powers to support dictators in many
parts of the world as bulwark and sentinel in the west's fight against
communism. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall and the consequent collapse of
the Soviet empire, western powers as a matter of policy propped up brutal
regimes like those of Mobutu in Zaire, Pinochet in Chile and Ayub Khan in
Pakistan and many others. These were expedient policies devoid of any moral
Contrary to expectations the end of the cold war has not
necessarily seen the end of western support to military dictators. Sporadic
assault on dictatorship has been dictated more by self- interest than by
western obeisance to the god of democracy. Military intervention in Panama to
oust General Noriega and to reinstall President Aristides in Haiti, for
example, were not solely to free the oppressed people from the clutches of
dictators as Noriega was a drug peddler and scores of Haitians were crowding
the American shores for refuge which the US was reluctant to
Albeit the west has encouraged the developing world to embrace
democratic values because of the conclusion reached by the west that
tolerance of "democratic exceptions" does not further western interests in
the long run because closed political systems and stagnant economies result
in frustration of the enslaved people and these places become breeding
ground for terrorists. Indigenous insurrections may result in failing and
failed states with the government controlling a portion of the states'
territory or with several competing governments exercising authority in their
respective areas of control. Unlike Afghanistan of the Taliban it is assumed
that terrorist activities are carried out in these cases against the wishes
of the government "in power". UNSC resolution 748(1992) enjoins all states "
to refrain from instigating, assisting, or participating in terrorist acts
in another state or acquiescing in organised activities within its
territory directed towards the commission of such acts".
Chechen case would military intervention, in remote parts of Georgia where
Chechens have taken up abode from where they undertake terrorist activities
while these areas being outside the control of the Georgian authorities, be
legal? Repeated use of preemptive actions resorted to by various US
Presidents (Cuban missile crisis and Iraq war for example) would make it
difficult for the US to oppose Russian military intervention in Chechnya.
Such acts of preemption now articulated in the Bush Security Strategy
document of November last year stretches the definition of self-defence
beyond the limit of the elasticity of the concept. Besides, the use of force
in the absence of imminent and discernible threat can only be resorted to by
one militarily too strong against one militarily weak as in the case of
Anglo-US war on Iraq without global consent. Tomas Valasek of the Center for
Defense Information opines that legitimacy is a more ethereal concept than
simply seeking UN approval -- it roughly translates into securing a broad
international approval for use of force, involving others in the decision,
and justifying it under the law of war. Asymmetric balance of power between
the interventionist and the state which is being intervened is essential to
limit the extent of conflagration. If the two parties are equally or evenly
balanced militarily then unilateral intervention (as in the case of Iraq)
would further endanger international peace and security because the state
intervened could cause immense damage to the interventionist state raising
the cost of intervention to unacceptable level. This could perhaps be one of
the reasons behind Indian reticence to intervene in Pak occupied Kashmir
despite being persistently victimised by cross border terrorism from across
the line of control in Kashmir.
Another related issue is humanitarian
intervention. The UN charter provides that "no other state and no
international organisation may scrutinise what is happening inside a state
except with the full consent of the territorial state". But recent world
history is replete with examples of humanitarian intervention. In 1971 Indian
intervention was dictated partly by humanitarian consideration as a result of
genocidal attacks on unarmed Bengalis by the Pakistani occupation army which
forced millions of Bengalis to flee from then East Pakistan to the
neighboring states of India.
More recently NATO forces intervened in
Kosovo to protect the ethnic Albanians from the Serb security forces. In
recent days the western powers are pressing the Burmese military junta to
free dissident leader Aung San Suu Kyi from detention and have imposed strict
sanctions on assets abroad of the junta and their supporters as well as on
trade with and investment in Burma. US Secretary of State Colin Powell
characterised the military rulers as "the thugs who run the Burmese
government" and warned that the action of the military rulers would not be
allowed to "stand as the last word on the matter". Clearly the Anglo-US, EU
and Japanese ( albeit less strident) response, however welcome these may be
to a large part of the international community, can be termed as diplomatic
and economic intervention in Burma's internal affairs contrary to article
2(7) of the UN Charter. Yet such intervention can be justified if the decades
old war waged by the military junta against the civilian population is seen
as state terrorism where victims are the Burmese people. Besides, if one were
to consider the influx of refugees from Burma into Thailand and Bangladesh
then the war against the Burmese people can be given an external
Anglo-US military intervention in Iraq has been justified by
supporters of interventionists on the grounds of UNSC's inability to face up
to the challenge posed by Saddam Hussein. Lately one sees a growing demand by
some quarters for UN reforms. British FCO Minister Bill Rammell addressing
UN Modernising seminar in London last month emphasised on the need for
UN reforms to face up to the challenges before the international community.
He called for examination of "principles under which we intervene to
tackle global threats more widely" just like the ongoing discussions of
the principles under which some countries intervene in states on
humanitarian grounds. One may recall that during the inter war years
terrorism increasingly referred to oppressive measures imposed by various
totalitarian regimes like those in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy or Stalinist
Russia. More recently military dictatorships in South America and Mugabe
regime in Zimbabwe have been open to charges of using terrorism as a tool of
the state. If the argument that such regimes practice terrorism on their
own people is accepted then intervention to remove oppressive regimes from
power thus denying them the ability to wage war on their own people becomes
a valid instrument in maintaining international peace and
Problem arises when interventionists themselves do not
uniformly follow the principles because of self interest. While the western
powers encouraged the African Union and the Organization of American States
to pledge themselves to upholding uninterrupted practice of democracy, the
west for example continues to shower Pak President General Musharraf with
political and economic support while sizeable part of Pakistani people are
pressing the General to shed his uniform. General Musharraf has become the
blue eyed boy of the west because of Pakistan's position as a front line
state in the war against terrorism. India's persistent complaint that
Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism in South Asia has completely fallen on
deaf ears of the western powers.
The argument proffered, for
example by Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew that Asia is more comfortable with
communitarian values where the interest of the society takes precedence over
the interest of the individual as opposed to western values of putting more
emphasis on politico-social rights of the individual has not received
universal support. It has been contended that cultural differences as an
argument for systematic denial of basic civil and political rights as well as
economic, social and cultural rights cannot withstand critical scrutiny.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen argues that rights have intrinsic value and most
obviously people have the right not to be killed in the process of exercising
their civil rights. Besides he found no correlation or causal connection
between authoritarianism and economic success. It is therefore necessary for
the delinquent states to acknowledge the changing definition of sovereignty
and territorial integrity so that states become responsible members of the
It is equally necessary for those who have issued
themselves imprimatur to change the map of the world that they not be
inconstant in pursuit of their principles and have an immaculate set of
values which they would practice without meandering away from the principled
path on the pretext of serving immediate national interest.
Anwarul Masud is a former Secretary and Ambassador.
Why Can't Africans Measure Up to the Job of Leadership?
COLUMN July 13, 2003 Posted to the web July
Mathatha Tsedu Johannesburg
THERE are many definitions
of an African. Some say it is anyone who lives in Africa and owes their
loyalty to the soil of the continent. Others say residence is not enough and
should include a higher calling that would encompass cultural heritage and
This is not an article about that definition, but about the
kind of African whose roots are in Africa, the indigenous
These issues arise as one tries to deal with painful
realities of our time.
A group of researchers led by well-known thinker
Eric Mafuna, grouped under the name Africa Now, has been researching the
problem of African leadership. The thesis is simple: African communities are
in crisis and the leadership of many institutions run by Africans is in
President Thabo Mbeki tried two years ago to call people to his
home and feed them and say "come forward and provide leadership in your areas
of expertise", but nothing is coming of that effort.
In my home area
of Nzhelele, in Limpopo, virtually all the general dealer shops, which number
more than 20, are now run by Indians after the African owners went
Two weeks ago, I had lunch with someone who runs a 3 500-strong
company, the most Africanised section of which had been fired en masse for
fraud and dereliction of duty.
A white replacement has been appointed
and work is going on.
"That kills me," he said.
A member of
Cabinet told me about the frustrations of getting into government and hiring
African people because that is the right thing to do, only for them not to
deliver in the majority of cases.
"When you come from where we come from
and you then have to realise that if you want something done quickly you have
to rely on whites, it is really debilitating. You bleed internally, but our
very own comrades do not work.
There is generally no work ethic.
Documents will not come on time or they will be sloppy. That is the painful
Africa Now has been grappling with this issue on behalf of Eskom,
which spent more than R6-million funding the research. They have looked at
the Jewish experience of leadership, asking what it is that makes Jews such
a successful group everywhere, able to integrate but also remaining
Community structures, religion, history, culture and all other
things that make Jews who they are, are intact.
Indians are by and
large the same as Jews, sticking together and supporting each other in their
business ventures, and also ensuring strong
Afrikaners built their own communities and
businesses and, despite the loss of political power, are still a community -
distinct and thriving.
The African structures, on the other hand, are all
gone, and those that are still around are being ridiculed each day, from
circumcision and cultural practices to religion and the medicines of our
And yet Africans were not always like this. The forefathers
and mothers who built Zimbabwe and the pyramids of Giza, who taught the Greek
mathematicians the basics of algebra and trigonometry were great
The leaders of the kingdoms of Monomotapa, Timbuktu and
Mapungubwe were great leaders. They could never have succeeded in doing what
they did if they were selfish.
The reality today is that people in
this country who are indigenous Africans are prone to irrational behaviour
fed by greed and irresponsibility. The numerous corruption and fraud cases
involving esteemed African leaders are worrying issues.
not the only ones fingered for corruption, but the rate and level of
occurrence is worrying.
What about patriotic fervour? Would the
Afrikaans-speaking white rugby players of yesteryear have ever refused a
call-up to the Springbok team as we see in soccer?
This is a painful
reality. We need to confront the legacy of colonialism and racism and its
effects on African people, in particular.
Africa Now's research goes back
to pre-colonial times to try to find the lost moorings that made the
The question is whether African leaders are today forced
by the legacy of colonialism to operate outside their cultural heritages and
what effect this has on the underlying principles of their leadership
This Wednesday Africa Now's results will be handed to Eskom
This newspaper has committed itself to making its pages a
forum for debate on this issue. Is Africa Now's premise right or wrong? Is
there something that can actually be done?
COLUMN July 13, 2003 Posted to the web July 13,
Ranjeni Munusamy Johannesburg
Even as he relinquishes the
reins of the African Union, Thabo Mbeki is regarded with suspicion by other
African leaders. Those who watched events in Maputo know that the rupture
between Libya and SA is widening.
ON THE opening day of the African Union
summit in Maputo, Mozambique, this week, the continent's heads of state
gathered on the stairs outside the conference centre for a group or "family"
President Thabo Mbeki was the first to break away from the
group. He stuck his pipe in his mouth and walked off across the courtyard
towards the dining hall.
Unlike many of his counterparts, in Africa
and elsewhere, Mbeki is a man with a low threshold when it comes to PR
exercises. But he had also just handed over chairmanship of the AU to
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano and it was perhaps an early onset of
withdrawal symptoms that led him to walk away.
It could also be that
smiling for the cameras while his mind was preoccupied with what was not
going according to plan proved too much.
The Maputo summit was largely a
game of haggling over positions for the AU commission, or
With the fundamentals of the union established at its
inaugural summit in Durban last year, the Maputo assembly had to deal with
getting the right people in the right positions to shape it into a powerful,
Apart from discarding dead wood and what Mbeki
calls "rejects", the assembly had to ensure a regional and gender balance
among the commissioners.
The question of a 50-50 representation of women
on the commission became a major sticking point, with countries particularly
in patriarchal North Africa arguing against gender tokenism. Eventually they
But as important as all this was, Mbeki had planned for the AU
to have achieved other milestones before he relinquished control. This much
was obvious when he addressed the summit - for the last time as political
head of the union. The carefully scripted speech spelling out the
poetic objectives of the union was discarded and he cut to the chase,
spelling out what hadn't been attained and was still to be done.
and most urgent is the setting up of the peace and security council, which
would be responsible for conflict-management and
Mbeki was determined to get at least half of
the member states to ratify the protocol for its establishment before his
term of office as AU chairman expired. Only 12 of the 53 states arrived in
Maputo armed with a ratification note.
Movement on the protocol for
the establishment of the Pan African Parliament is also proceeding at a
snail's pace. Mbeki also wanted the summit to agree on the draft protocol on
the African Court of Justice.
Mbeki's election as the first head of the
AU last year took him to the crest of a wave. At the time he was still
chairing the Non-Aligned Movement and had recently handed over chairmanship
of the Commonwealth. Mbeki rode the tiger. While he had for years been
campaigning for Africa's development and growth, he could now effectively
negotiate on Africa's behalf with a real mandate. The G8 nations responded to
his overtures to invest in Africa's development.
His most difficult
task was fire-fighting conflict situations on the continent, situations which
required time, money and patience in dealing with rebels and
Mbeki commandeered the organisation with a firm hand when
it was still malleable enough to be moulded according to anyone's needs and
wishes - Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi the most willing and
While most other African leaders humour Gadaffi, Mbeki stared him
down, making it clear that the AU was not about to be turned into a platform
for the Brother Leader's theatrics. Most of Gadaffi's proposals for the
AU, which would have steered it towards his grand plan for a United States
of Africa, have been systematically squashed and thrown out.
Gadaffi had heavily invested in to lead his charge, former interim chairman
of the AU commission Amara Essy, now finds himself jobless, bitter and
wondering what he did that led Mbeki to call for his head. The underground
campaign to unseat Essy was so fierce that his own country, Ivory Coast,
withdrew its support for him, forcing him to bow out of the race for
re-election as head of the union's secretariat.
The official line among
delegations is that Essy didn't have the stature the AU required to hold sway
in international relations. The story that mystified many, and even provoked
fear among delegates, was that Mbeki disliked Essy intensely and managed to
gore him without getting his own hands bloody.
Gadaffi landed up
supporting the man Essy had been up against, former president of Mali Alpha
Gadaffi says there is no tension between him and Mbeki and that
they are completely in synch. But those who watched events play out in Maputo
know that the rupture between Libya and South Africa is
Gadaffi wants Africa to speak with one voice in international
relations - his - and as a super-state that can defiantly contest the
hegemony of the US.
Mbeki also wants Africa to operate as a homogenous
entity, but he wants the 53-member states to unite around development,
poverty eradication, economic growth and prosperity, democratic governance,
stability and technological advancement - all of which is envisaged in his
New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Gadaffi is not particularly
interested in any of this. His proposals to the summit included changing the
date of Africa Day from March 2 to September 9 (the day of the signing of the
Sirte Declaration which led to the establishment of the AU); setting up five
regional offices for the AU (one in Libya); and a provision to increase the
term of office of the AU presidency beyond one year.
This is a
forward-planning initiative on Gadaffi's part for a time when he might take
He also wants the seat of the Pan African Parliament to be in
Libya, opening the way for a two-horse race with South Africa.
source of friction is the deployment of troops to Liberia. Gadaffi argues
that there is no need for US troops anywhere in Africa since the continent
can see to its own peacekeeping needs.
Mbeki and others such as Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo argue that, without funding and resources, it is
still difficult for Africa to be self-sufficient.
Ironically, it is
Mbeki, not Gadaffi, who is viewed by other African leaders as too powerful,
and they privately accuse him of wanting to impose his will on
In the corridors, they call him the "George Bush of Africa",
leading the most powerful nation in the neighbourhood and using his financial
and military muscle to further his own agenda.
mechanism, which forms a cornerstone of Nepad, is still seen as his baby,
despite the fact that it is headed by Obasanjo.
Some African leaders,
like Gadaffi and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, believe that peer-review is
designed to impose Mbeki's idea of democracy and good governance on others,
and are therefore resisting signing up to the voluntary process.
peace and security council is also viewed with suspicion. AU officials say
countries are not suspicious but wary of the impact of these organs
on domestic policy. But some countries fear that Mbeki would control it in
the way Bush calls the shots at the UN Security Council.
objectives of the council are noble and Mbeki has now set a target for its
establishment by the end of the year.
All these are fundamental to
selling Africa's image as a continent firmly on the path to development and
But it is now Chissano's battle and Mbeki has, to an extent, to
let go. He is back to being just the President of South Africa.
COSATU president Willie
Madisha expressed shock at the presence of a Zimbabwe ruling party contingent
alongside his organisation and the South African Communist Party at anti-US
demonstrations in Pretoria on Wednesday.
"I was surprised to see them in
our march. We don't know where they came from," said Madisha. " Our position
is very clear - we don't support the actions of the Zanu-PF government of
harassing and intimidating ordinary workers through their war
The Zanu-PF members marched alongside Cosatu and SACP
members outside the US embassy in Pretoria in protest at the visit to South
Africa of US President George W Bush.
Members of Zimbabwean opposition
party the Movement for Democratic Change demonstrated
Zanu-PF's South Africa chairman, Bigvai Gumede, was allowed
to address the demonstrators alongside Madisha and SACP general-secretary
However, Cosatu and the SACP dismissed insinuations that
this amounted to tacit support for Zanu-PF and its leader, President Robert
"I knew that I would speak for Cosatu and that Nzimande would
speak for the SACP, but I didn't know Zanu-PF was included in the programme,"
THE scene is set for a major
international showdown over Zimbabwe's re-admission to the
The fate of the country, which was suspended from the
54-nation group after a flawed presidential election last year, will be
decided at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Abuja,
Nigeria, in December.
The issue has caused sharp divisions in the
group, particularly between African and Western nations, which could boil
over at the summit.
The Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe - South African
President Thabo Mbeki, Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Nigerian
President Olusegun Obasanjo - were mandated by the CHOGM in 2002 to deal with
While Howard, backed by Britain and New Zealand, has pushed
for stronger penal action against Zimbabwe, Mbeki and Obasanjo have insisted
that the troika's mandate has expired. In March, the two African leaders
refused to make a pronouncement on the issue, arguing that since the
expulsion was for only a year, Zimbabwe should be re-admitted after 12
According to Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon, who was
a guest at the African Union summit in the Mozambican capital Maputo this
week, the "broadly held view" among Commonwealth countries was to maintain
Zimbabwe's suspension until the December summit.
The announcement to
extend the suspension was harshly condemned by the South African and
McKinnon told the Sunday Times that African heads
of state had different views on how to handle the Zimbabwean crisis, contrary
to the perception that they were united behind President Robert
The subject of Zimbabwe was avoided in formal discussions at the
However, McKinnon said there was "genuine concern" about the
deepening political and economic crisis.
"People are keen to discuss
where the process should go next. There are concerns about whether dialogue
[between the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change]
alone will resolve the issue," McKinnon said.
He said some African
leaders felt that Zimbabwean legislation should be assessed to gauge whether
it was in violation of democratic principles.
The Zimbabwean government
has shunned attempts by McKinnon to engage with it on the issue of
However, the New Zealander said, the Commonwealth was
eager to assist with facilitating dialogue. He added that the organisation
wanted Zimbabwe "back as a full member".
"No one wants to see this
issue split the Commonwealth. We also don't want it to completely dominate
the Abuja summit," he said.
Dingilizwe Ntuli reports that a breakthrough
in the ongoing secret talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC is likely to be
announced in the next fortnight, despite vehement denials of engagement by
High-level sources in Pretoria and Harare told the Sunday
Times the two parties had been holding secret talks since March. The talks
had not been made public because of continuing disagreements over an agenda
for formal talks.
The sources said the announcement by Mbeki, during a
press briefing with US President George W Bush in Pretoria on Wednesday, that
Zanu-PF and the MDC were talking had created a crisis for both
"They should have announced by now that the talks have resumed but
because they still have not agreed on the agenda, they fear that spoilers on
both sides will jeopardise the process," said a source. @
meeting between Zanu-PF and the MDC was held on Thursday, sources said, when
transition mechanisms were discussed. They added that both parties had
relented from the preconditions they had set for the resumption of dialogue -
such as the withdrawal of treason charges against MDC leaders , and the
withdrawal of the MDC's court challenge to the results of last year's
The sources said the South African government had
persuaded the MDC to recognise Mugabe's government as a de facto regime as a
starting point for the resumption of full dialogue.
The sources added
that the parties had realised their rivalry was damaging the country and had
embraced dialogue as the only way to solve the crisis and revive the
"They both feel that announcing the resumption of talks before
ironing out the agenda would derail the entire process, since not everyone in
their constituencies supports the dialogue," a source said.
both climbed down from their hard-line stances because they realise none of
them can save the country if its economy is allowed to go down further."
President Bush appears truly committed to helping
Africa. Even some of his critics now admit as much. But what exactly can the
president do to end suffering and turn the continent into a prosperous
place? He can unveil a new vision for Africa, based on three
universal principles that have brought prosperity to the West: Economic
liberty, political freedom and respect for the rule of law. The need
to take action on the world's most troubled continent could hardly be
greater. Civil wars in Liberia and the Congo, tyranny and man-made famine in
Zimbabwe, the AIDS epidemic, the rising threat of international terrorism in
East Africa — all are issues of mounting concern to Washington. The Bush
administration has begun to offer some real solutions to the continent's vast
problems. For example, the new $5 billion per year Millennium Challenge
Account would require aid recipients to reform their economies and their
governments. Such a revolutionary concept could serve as a model for
international aid programs worldwide. Another step in the right
direction: The recently unveiled $100 million U.S. counterterrorism package
for East Africa. The al Qaeda threat continues to grow in countries such as
Kenya and Tanzania, and we can't allow it to fester unchecked. The
White House should also consider the use of covert operations and precision
strikes to target al Qaeda cells operating in Somalia, a failed state that
has become a fertile breeding ground for Islamic terrorists. At the same
time, the Bush administration can discourage terrorism by encouraging
something that is all too rare in Africa: Good government. Since the end
of the colonial era, much of sub-Saharan Africa has been a playground for
despots wreaking havoc on their defenseless citizens. Mr. Bush must declare
an end to the era of dictatorships. He should then impose strict economic and
political sanctions against regimes that tyrannize their populations. In
certain circumstances, particularly where our national interest is involved,
the credible threat of military force should be exercised. Such direct
involvement would be a welcome break from the past. In the 1990s, the United
States was largely content to take a back-seat role in Africa. The U.S.
intervention in Somalia was the only significant involvement. After that
ill-fated military operation, the Clinton administration replaced action on
the ground with empty rhetoric about human rights. All the world's major
powers stood by while French-backed Hutus slaughtered a million Tutsis in
Rwanda in 1994. We should remain wary of the perils of nation-building,
of course, but we should not refuse to intervene militarily when vital
national interests are threatened, or when military force can be used
effectively to prevent genocide or other gross violations of human rights.
The West's failure to halt the genocide in Rwanda must never be repeated. The
highly successful British military operation in Sierra Leone, where a small
number of troops ended a civil war in 2000, provides a blueprint for future
intervention in Africa. In addition, free trade remains key to
Africa's potential economic renaissance. As the Heritage Foundation's Index
of Economic Freedom demonstrates, the more a country opens its economy, the
more its citizens prosper. Mr. Bush should call on Congress to end to all
barriers to trade with Africa, and encourage the European Union and all
developed nations to do the same through the World Trade Organization.
In the meantime, the president should reward those African countries that are
already democracies and market economies by forging free-trade agreements
with them. He should press ahead with negotiations to sign a free-trade
agreement with the five members of the Southern African Customs Union: South
Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. However, because these
nations have much influence in Zimbabwe, Mr. Bush should note that he will
link the speed of negotiations to the pace of political reform there. That
may be the only way to end a man-made famine and prevent an economic collapse
in Zimbabwe. In an increasingly globalized world, the United States and
other leading nations can't afford to ignore Africa's problems. The Bush
administration has shown a refreshing commitment to helping Africa secure a
brighter future. Yet more is needed. The administration must adopt an
even more robust policy that places the United States at the forefront of
international efforts to deal with Africa's vast problems. The United States
must play a key role in shaping Africa's future and in helping the continent
fulfill its potential as a truly prosperous place.
is visiting fellow in Anglo-American security policy at the Heritage
Five Days on the Continent, Five African
Sunday, July 13, 2003; Page
UGANDA New Vision
If a question were put to many a Ugandan
as to what four countries one would love to live in, it would not be
far-fetched to get an answer saying: (a) USA. (b) USA. (c) USA. (d)
Such a reply would only confirm the zeal with which people all over
the world desire to share in the so-called American dream. As U.S.
President George W. Bush, a.k.a. Baby Bush, visits Uganda today only
ostriches are not excited.
When world citizens -- young and old --
crave for things American, from Colas to dollars, some call it cultural
imperialism, etc. But because the American magic pleases the body and soul,
we swallow it with relish. Moreover, for Africans, calling Americans
imperialists is rather ironic. History has it clearly that Americans, having
suffered the British colonial yoke, were with Africans in kicking out the
Well, someone could be quick to add that it was Americans who
enslaved Africans in the first place. Granted. But we should not also forget
that it was mainly under American masters that African slaves at least
survived and eventually took their place under the sun. African slaves were
equally taken in huge numbers to the Arab world, but where are they today?
Wouldn't black people in the Arab world be in millions? Where are the Arab
Colin Powells, Condoleezza Rices . . .? (Onapito Ekomoloit, July
ZAMBIA The Post
President Bush's visit to Africa is not about
appraising himself with the levels of poverty on the continent. President
Bush has all the statistics on this score, he knows very well the levels of
our poverty. We know that his visit is aimed at laying the basis for
thorough-going and enduring U.S. military and economic hegemony all over the
We would have loved President Bush to visit our country so that we
could have the opportunity to send a firm message that we shall not tolerate
[U.S] imperialism. . . . (Editorial, July 10)
President George W. Bush arrives in Uganda today. He comes with
pledges of a commitment to help Africa in the areas of HIV/Aids, good
governance, trade and war on terrorism.
. . . We should, however, look
beyond the words. Before September 11, Mr Bush never saw the relevance of
Africa to the American State. In fact, our continent had no place in the
foreign policy designs of the Republican government because Africa ranked
rather low on the scale of America's "strategic interests". . . .
hope is that Bush would successfully persuade [Ugandan] President
Yoweri Museveni to adhere to the minimum and strict standards of democracy
and good governance that are pre-conditions for receiving a portion of such
aid over three years. We, however, will need to hear some form of commitment
to remove farm subsidies in the United States (approximately $200 billion
per year), which are frustrating well-intentioned trade programmes such as
those under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. . . .
Uganda, Mr Bush, but our suspicions remain. (Editorial, July
The Financial Gazette
Bush, the unofficial
Planet Earth President, is set to visit South Africa, Botswana, Uganda,
Nigeria and Senegal and hop over Africa's trouble spots such as strife-ridden
Liberia, and embattled Zimbabwe. . . .
It's folly for Bush to think that
he can solve Zimbabwe's problems via South Africa. [South African] President
Thabo Mbeki's position on that one is very clear -- leave Zimbabweans to
solve their own problems, period!. . .
The problem is that there is
nothing at stake for the U.S. in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is not Iraq. It does not
have oil, in fact this country is experiencing the worst fuel crisis in
living memory. There is, therefore, not a chance in hell for Zimbabwe to
tempt the Americans' insatiable taste for oil . . . . (Taungana Ndoro, July
SOUTH AFRICA The Star
The visit this week by President George
W. Bush was a major diplomatic coup for President Thabo Mbeki, who gained
support for his stance on the Zimbabwe crisis.
Those who were hoping
that Bush would coerce Mbeki into changing his softly-softly approach in
dealing with President Robert Mugabe would have been disappointed. . . . We
do not know what Mbeki told Bush behind closed doors, but the outcome of
their meeting indicates the two leaders have failed to appreciate the urgency
of the situation in Zimbabwe.
This leads us to draw an inference. There
must have been a trade-off between the two men. Bush came to Africa primarily
to mobilise support for his war on terror. So it is not unlikely that he was
prepared to accept Mbeki's position on Zimbabwe in exchange for assurance of
Mbeki's support. . . .
But there were issues that the two leaders avoided
in order to find common ground. One is the protectionist trade policy of the
U.S., which has kept South African producers out of the U.S. market. Another
is the lack of respect for multi-lateralism displayed by the U.S., which has
openly said it would not subject itself to the International Criminal Court.
The U.S. has even imposed punitive measures against countries, including
South Africa, that refuse to grant U.S. citizens immunity against ICC
[T]he reality is that we were dealing with the only
super-power in the world. The U.S. cannot be wished away and has to be
engaged . . . . (Editorial, July 11)