Robert Mugabe is a Worthless Asshole

As some of you may know, Robert Mugabe, former and unfortunately-now president of Zimbabwe, has been reelected (although using this word here is the equivalent of shitting all over the concept of elections) by a landslide after a run-off in which he ran unopposed. Why unopposed? Because his opponent who won the original election (Mugabe refused to stand down), a proponent of democratic change and running on that principle, stepped out of the election after 90 of his supporters were murdered by Mugabe’s forces and boycotted it generally because it was wrong and unfair.

Mugabe will be president of Zimbabwe for nearly three decades, and he is a giant piece of undemocratic shit. Look, democracy may not be the greatest or most viable system out there – some of the greatest Greek philosophers insisted that it was an enlightened monarch (that is to say, a Philosopher King) – but in a country that has elections, you should abide by the results, not be a giant piece of crap and a big baby when you lose and then use the military to force decent voter turnout in a sham rerun against no one because you murdered his supporters.

The world is shaking its puny, polio-ridden, malformed wrists in a less than menacing fashion. The African Union opposes this. Ooooo. Ban Kee Moon is not happy. Ahhhh. President George W. Bush has threatened sanctions and UN action. Yikes. Desmond Tutu, archbishop of Cape Town, wants international forces to restore order and the new rightful leader of Zimbabwe, officially ending Mugabe’s 28 year reign. I doubt that will happen, but it raises fascinating questions.

On the one hand, I think that the world should intervene because if a just and democratic world (though you could hardly call it that) doesn’t stick up for the oppressed everywhere then what good is it pretending like we do. On the other hand, should we respect states’ rights and not interfere in internal matters that aren’t bordering on genicide or genicidal (not that we even do that when we should). Frankly, I don’t think there’s any consistency to the action based on principle. Only on interest. That is to say that we would only be interfering physically in Zimbabwe if we had some serious reason to oust a government that didn’t support our endeavors. But this isn’t Cold War geopolitics anymore so even those interest-principles are harder to come by. In short, it’s a complicated series of events and interests that would lead to interference in Zimbabwe and though the world may shake its fists at Mugabe’s unjust and undemocratic treatment of the populace, it probably won’t do anything.

Do you think the world should interfere? How should it do so? If not, why? Are principles reason enough to invade or just kick Mugabe out? What if the U.S. had to act unilaterally? Is this the U.N.’s job?

Status Update: We’re no longer moving in where we thought we were – realized it wasn’t such a good decision. We’re now staying in a Kimpton hotel in downtown San Fran while we continue searching. Cyrus is here and we will search about, having left Sunnyvale because our friend came back home. Any suggestions on where to look or live? We’d love some help.

9 Responses

  1. Interfere, but only if other world governments would do so without weighing the cost benefits to their own country. If they interfere it would have to be solely for the purpose of giving the Zimbabwe people their freedom whether that be under the title of democracy, benevolent dictator, or what have you. Democracy is a beautiful thing, and a “Philosopher King” is more beautiful but has not been seen in oh…. forever. Right now Capt. Asshole is tarnishing that democratic beauty as a rapist would tarnish a 4 year olds white bedsheets.
    Key to interference. Assuming other governments don’t say, “What do we gain from impeaching Mugabe.” They find a leader like his opponent and simply protect him while they send 1 individual to quietly ensure Mugabe sleeps permanently. But, who’s to say replacing Mugabe, Asshole A, with Asshole B would be any better? Who’s to say that foreign governments wouldn’t seek personal benefit from putting their military might into action? In a situation like this, foreign powers will most likely and only create a public image of “caring” (once again bastardizing the word to the point of 4yo rape on white sheets) and slapping Mugabe on the wrist. Why?, because the UN nor any foreign power wants to be the one who gets teased by other foreign nations for taking action and replacing Asshole A with Asshole B. I mean seriously, Afghanistan anybody? Untill some Dick C comes in to fuck the Assholes and Pussies of this world with the “wrath-o-god” ready to smite said assholes and pussies we’ll perpetually substitute Asshole A for Asshole B in attempts for personal gain.

    So, with all of that said. Mugabe stands for the dominate Asshole type of, “I must wipe the slate clean to build a better place, MY Utopia.” These are the only assholes with ambition and drive to lead nowadays. Fuckem all. But, if you go after Mugabe, while his crimes are indeed vulgar and in your face. You might as well go after every world leader as they all have done shady irreproachable shit that might not be as in-your-face as slaughtering 90 of your opponent’s supporters. FUCK EM ALL!!!!

    …… If you want someone else to run Zimbabwe, the UN would have to act, Mugabe would have to be eliminated he has too much influence and power alive, and foreign “police” would have to round up Mugabe’s most avid supporters then leave very quickly and quietly. That is if you want to replace Asshole A with Asshole B.

  2. Wow – thanks for the enthusiasm Dante’s Snowball. It’s always much appreciated. You’re certainly right that some new asshole never really helps the situation be one that isn’t filled with assholes, but I’d like to point out for the time being that the only thing that matters is that the people democratically elected Asshole B. Keeping him in check is the responsibility of the legislature and the people (checks and balances in Zimbabwe?) but from the get-go they opted to put him in power so that’s who should be in power. Not Mugabe. End of story. Or is it?….

  3. “But this isn’t Cold War geopolitics anymore so even those interest-principles are harder to come by.” Did someone go to sleep in 2000 and wake up yesterday? I wasn’t born again yesterday. Just look at Iraq. Or Kosovo.

  4. If you want to have a democratic air in Zimbabwe then yes the popular vote should elect the new governing official. And, there are other incentives that can be intriguing to foreign nations besides political alliances. What Zimbabwe would have to offer I don’t know, but then again would they receive help if there was no gain to be had is a better question.

  5. Hopefully I’m not too late, but let me preface this comment by saying that I find intervening in another state’s affairs to be a generally unsavory proposition. Why is that? It’s not entirely well-formed in my own mind (although in a very broad sense, I simply do not have much faith in the ability of one group of people to dictate to another the proper way to govern… or live), but the intervention question is certainly an interesting one.

    What needs to be kept in perspective though when discussing Zimbabwe is that African politics are often a unique beast. For instance, the word “sectarian” has become commonplace since the start of the Iraq War and I suspect most people have come to understand the dizzying level of complexity religious, tribal or familial divisions can lend to a given situation. Well in the case of Iraq, only three such distinctions (Sunni, Shia, Kurd) have had such a corrosive effect that many are doubtful any sort of successful democratic government can be fashioned within the current borders.

    To compound matters, African states are some of the newest in the world, with most achieving independence only in the 1960’s. The number of divisions in each nation can be almost innumerable. When the colonies were divided, they were done so with no regard to traditional tribal politics – often leading to groups that were distrustful (or openly hostile) to one another now having to call each other countrymen. Think of the way we conceive of nationalism in Europe. Sure there were concessions made, and things didn’t always go smoothly (Basques anyone?), but compared to Africa, European states are mainly homogenous and the idea of ethnic identity has largely been subsumed into national identity. (Swedes are Swedes, who live in Sweden) The famous case of a heterogeneous state failing is of course Yugoslavia, but at least the new states that emerged after the conflict have mostly brought peace to the region. If a comparable dissection was to be made in an African country with any sort of fidelity, you would be left with a massive cluster of tiny, unsustainable principalities.

    This is one of many concerns that are fairly unique to Africa and contribute to turn relations, both interpersonally and internationally, in a way that is wholly foreign to the West. This isn’t to give African states a free pass when it comes to bad governance – surely they have produced some of the most prodigiously shitty rulers of the past half-century. But sometimes I cringe when I see people echoing Fukiyama’s End of History paradigm by assuming just because these states have adopted (sometimes only nominally) the systems of government the West has given them, we can now begin to discuss all democracies in the same manner; as if the arcane, unstylish concepts of tribe, family and clan have been neatly swept aside.

    Returning to the practical question of intervention – my immediate cause for concern would be on what grounds would we (whoever that would be – unilateral, multilateral, UN, African Union, etc.) be intervening? And what’s the theoretical basis for such an act? If it is simply that people are suffering then there are plenty of other places where people need help. (Myanmar, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Colombia – to name a few) If it is a question of Zimbabwe not acting in a truly democratic fashion, then we need to have a chat with nations like Butan and Swaziland about their monarchies (although Bhutan is now transitioning to representative government, but only at the behest of the king) Seems pretty difficult to act in a way that would avoid hypocrisy. Not like that’s a goal in its own right…

    OK, this is far too long already. Way too much in this topic to respond in such a short format. Let me know if you ever have a hard time filling your special guest spot and I can come on and bore everyone to death.

    *spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes (and run-on sentences) are intentional and intended to make me seem cool to the online community


    Let the wrist slapping begin! I especially like their dedication to, “It also encouraged both sides to live up to pledges to start dialogue to promote stability.” not actually doing anything, but a pledge to start dialogue… at some point, maybe.
    And, Zimbabwe responds to all of this with a polite, Fuck Off.

  7. I am amazed, Kus, that you were actually able to address that incredibly complex issue in so short a space, even if it made for a lengthy comment. I really appreciate your insight and thoughts about the tribal nature underlying the complexity of Africa’s modern nation-states.

    Whenever I think about the West’s imposition of its border-drawing, nation creating, for-its-benefit attitude, I always think of the Middle East. The issue you brought up is Iraq, the most immediate one, but the entire Middle East was effectively carved up and created by and for the West’s liking in the 1930s (with a few exceptions). Similarly, our forms of governance were imposed and the only things allowed or not (by way of terrible rulers) were if they suited Western interests (e.g. the Shah vs. the Ayatollah).

    So in any case, you’re right that this issue is far more complex than I conveyed and that is being conveyed in the news right now since no one is analyzing the complexity of retaining and imposing a democratic system on a country that does not make national or ethnic sense in the first place.

  8. I agree. The guy is a terrible asshole.
    I have written about him here –
    May I add your blog to my blogroll?
    Best regards,

  9. I’d be delighted – thanks for reading a great point about Mugabe partying for his birthday. Lot of nerve that guy has.

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