The SanityPrompt

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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Coalition of the Willingly Merciless?

Of the Mercilessly corrupt.

The latest news out of Harare indicates that Zimbabwe will continue its controversial "Operation Drive Out Trash" and do this under the cover of Chinese sanction.

Zimbabwe continues eviction campaign, says China will protect it from U.N. censure - MSNBC

HARARE, Zimbabwe, July 26 — Riot police turned an urban township into a ghost town Wednesday, rounding up the last residents in defiance of a U.N. call to halt a demolition campaign that has left 700,000 without homes or jobs.

After emptying the Porta Farm township — where some 30,000 people lived just days ago — earth-movers were seen lumbering into the area to finish clearing debris from destroyed homes, cabins and shacks as part of what the government calls Operation Drive Out Trash. Police armed with batons and riot shields barred aid workers and residents from entering.

The latest demolitions came as President Robert Mugabe paid a state visit to China, which is building a track record of willingness to do business with African leaders others shun.

Mugabe is confident China will use its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to protect Zimbabwe from any U.N. censure following the U.N. report denouncing the campaign as a violation of international law, a state-owned Harare newspaper, the Herald, reported Wednesday.
China, which has expanded business and diplomatic contacts in African trouble spots like Congo and Sudan, has not joined Western condemnation of Zimbabwe's human rights record.

In fact, China has become a key source of loans and supplies for Zimbabwe. Most recently, Beijing agreed to a loan to expand a power station and to supply a third Chinese-made MA60 commercial aircraft to Zimbabwe, state media in Beijing announced Wednesday. No details of the terms were reported.

China is clearly making a play for influence in a region typically ignored at best by the West. But their tact seems clearly flawed. Instead of aligning with the peoples of the region, they are aligning with the most currpt and amoral rulers. I suppose this makes sense since we should hardly expect China to take a lead on calling for reform in the areas most significantly in need of it in the poorest nations -- corruption, income inequality, and democratic stability. But since the long term interests of the region lie in this direction, the advantage is at best short lived and opens the door for the West to once again make inroads among the populace with a campaign for greater democracy, less corruption and greater economic opportunity.


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