January 02, 2004


Mark Steyn sets a reasonable target:

A frequent criticism of the anti-war crowd this last year ran along the lines of: “The Americans are, like, totally hypocritical. If you’re going to topple Saddam, why not topple Mugabe?” To which the correct answer should be: “You’re right. But all in good time.” Many of the horrors that lie ahead can be found at the intersection of wily dictatorships and freelance terror groups. So the US and its allies should be at the very least philosophically committed to regime change in all dictatorships. The delay between the fall of the Taliban and the fall of Saddam was a little too long: there should be an informal target of one tinpot thug per year, to be removed by whatever means are to hand.

Mugabe is a sucker for any big UN talkfest. He can’t keep away from them. Hint, hint, assassins! And Steyn has this to say about brazen joke bandit Molly Ivins:

I don't know why Miss Ivins sounds so pleased with herself about her borrowed insight. When Clive made this crack about Arnold back in the Eighties, in his Conan loincloth days, it was a brilliantly accurate observation. During the recall campaign, when he was wandering around California in a suit, it made no sense whatsoever: the line was obviously a good decade out of date. Molly Ivins is so feeble she can't even steal right.

On the subject of lazy columnists, Professor Bunyip catches the Sydney Morning Herald’s Adele Horin in a bind about foot-binding.

Posted by Tim Blair at January 2, 2004 08:21 AM

Mugabe? Yes, he's awful, but Zimbabwe's not on the U.S.'s state sponsors of terrorism list. If the British and other Commonwealth states decide to make it a priority, I'd support extensive U.S. support, but I don't think it should be on Bush's priority list.

Instead, I'd concentrate on knocking off countries on the terror list. Cuba is nicely vulnerable to Marines, for example. Giving covert assistance to Iranian and Syrian dissidents should be eminently practical given the bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Turkey. Overt military assisatnce to the South Sudanese rebels would be useful, too, if the Germans don't manage to send in the UN force that makes South Sudan a de-facto Western protectorate they've been talking about.

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at January 2, 2004 at 09:55 AM

More to the point: I thought our forces were overtaxed, overextended, etc... now they want us to open more fronts?

I wish they'd make up their minds. Either we're horribly low on personnel and should run away from Iraq to preserve our forces before disaster strikes, or we're overflowing with enough free divisions and fleets to go on a merry crusade to topple every nation led by a brutal dictator or people who just say rude things about the USA.

Posted by: Patrick Chester at January 2, 2004 at 12:35 PM

Its quiet simple as to why the West will do nothing about one of the worlds worst dictators: he is a black man leading a black country. If he was white, middle eastern or perhaps even Asian wed be there by now. This might not be a PC view, hence my anonymity in posting, however there is no other feasible explanation for the wests continued failure to remove Mugabe.

Posted by: anon at January 2, 2004 at 06:14 PM

The West isn't removing Mugabe because there's no strategic reason for doing so. Unfortunately, in a threatening world, the humanitarian side effects of knocking over dictators is and must remain a side effect, and not the primary motive.

Posted by: John Nowak at January 3, 2004 at 02:40 AM

Alright, alright, I'll do it. I'll be the one to come out and just say what everyone's been thinking anyway, but doesn't have the nerve to verbalize:

"France, anyone?"

Posted by: Jerry at January 3, 2004 at 06:36 AM

If you start your years on September 11, then it's been one a year. WOT year 2001-2002: Afghanistan. WOT year 2002-2003: Iraq. I don't see any full-blown wars in 2003-2004 though.

Posted by: Andjam at January 3, 2004 at 02:26 PM

John Nowak,

I agree with you to a point. If the barbarity is especially eggregious though, it does actually get the attention of the appeasers, so on occasion they'll let you do it. But situations like NK require you to take into account how to go about that. With Zimbabwe there's not a lot of bad sideeffects for deposing him, but it's not an overwhelming focus of attention for most western governments, unfortunately. There's no big impetus to do something about it. But as regards to humanitarian concerns being a sideeffect. I disagree...it's the clincher. If Iraq was doing what it was doing but Hussein was elected, popular, and respected his citizens rights, it would give us great pause for a variety of reasons, not least that the people wouldn't be "liberated" per se. I'm thinking of France right now. In any case, Hussein was brutal and it was alway inseparable from the argument about going to war against his regime. I think it's a case where the sum is greater than the parts, and humanitarian concerns aren't left out of the equation.

Posted by: RC at January 4, 2004 at 01:21 AM

Osama Bin Laden

He will continue to be dead throughout 2004.


Posted by: Andjam at January 4, 2004 at 09:38 AM