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Daily Star, Bangladesh

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 Iraq.

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 Afghanistan.

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.

It must 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 movement.

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 fibre.

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 provide.

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".

In the 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 dimension.

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 security.

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 global village.

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.

Kazi Anwarul Masud is a former Secretary and Ambassador.

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Why Can't Africans Measure Up to the Job of Leadership?

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

July 13, 2003
Posted to the web July 13, 2003

Mathatha Tsedu

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 language.

This is not an article about that definition, but about the kind of African
whose roots are in Africa, the indigenous African.

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 turmoil.

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 bankrupt.

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 truth."

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 distinct.

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 community

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 forefathers.

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 people.

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.

Africans are 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 ancestors tick.

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 styles.

This Wednesday Africa Now's results will be handed to Eskom executives.

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?
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The George Dubya of Africa

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

July 13, 2003
Posted to the web July 13, 2003

Ranjeni Munusamy

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" picture.

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

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 secretariat.

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, multilateral

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 gave in.

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.

First and most urgent is the setting up of the peace and security council,
which would be responsible for conflict-management and peacekeeping

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

His most difficult task was fire-fighting conflict situations on the
continent, situations which required time, money and patience in dealing
with rebels and belligerents.

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 able.

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.

The man 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 Konare.

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 widening.

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

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

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 over.

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.

The new 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

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 others.

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.

The peer-review 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.

The 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.

However, the 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 progress.

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.
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Cosatu, SACP Mystified As Zanu-Pf Joins Protest

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

July 13, 2003
Posted to the web July 13, 2003

Dingilizwe Ntuli

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 veterans."

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 separately.

Zanu-PF's South Africa chairman, Bigvai Gumede, was allowed to address the
demonstrators alongside Madisha and SACP general-secretary Blade Nzimande.

However, Cosatu and the SACP dismissed insinuations that this amounted to
tacit support for Zanu-PF and its leader, President Robert Mugabe.

"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," said

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International Row Looms Over Mugabe

Sunday Times (Johannesburg)

July 13, 2003
Posted to the web July 13, 2003

Ranjeni Munusamy

THE scene is set for a major international showdown over Zimbabwe's
re-admission to the Commonwealth.

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

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 the issue.

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 months.

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 Zimbabwean governments.

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 Mugabe.

The subject of Zimbabwe was avoided in formal discussions at the AU summit.

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

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 re-admittance.

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 both parties.

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

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 sides.

"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. @

The last 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 presidential election.

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 economy.

"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.

"They have 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."
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Washington Times

Helping Africa

By Nile Gardiner

    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
    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
    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
    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.

    Nile Gardiner is visiting fellow in Anglo-American security policy at
the Heritage Foundation.
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Washington Post

Five Days on the Continent, Five African Commentaries

Sunday, July 13, 2003; Page B01

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) USA.

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

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 crown.

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 11)


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 world.

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)

UGANDAThe Monitor

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". . . .

The 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. . . .

Welcome to Uganda, Mr Bush, but our suspicions remain. (Editorial, July 11)


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 10)


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

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 prosecution.

[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)

© 2003 The Washington Post Company
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