Zimbabwe and the evils of liberalism

Simon Heffer:

A few years ago, when the tyrant of Zimbabwe was moving from being wicked to being downright evil, I wrote that we should invade Harare, depose him, and supervise free elections. Invited to appear on a BBC programme to defend this stance, I was assailed by an "Africa expert" who told me that diplomatic pressure on Mugabe was bound to work, that the idea of sending the Parachute Regiment in to sort the monster out was offensively colonialist, and that I was wrong.

White liberals like him are as much to blame for the terror, starvation, brutality and genocide that now scar this once-rich and stable country. The supposedly civilised world has allowed Mugabe and his horrors to happen, mainly unchecked. Sanctions on his country merely starve those who disagree with him. Zimbabwe has all the natural, and had all the human, resources to be an example to the rest of Africa. It is now merely a symbol of what happens when a dictator takes charge, and those who might rein him in simply look away.

So it is infuriating to hear some Leftists and liberals saying, through the teeth of their post-imperial guilt, that perhaps an armed intervention is the only way to rid the world of this brute. Had this been done years ago, when they took the opposite view, how many lives might have been saved? How many productive people, black and white, would have felt able to stay in Zimbabwe, rather than flee with their talents abroad? Would it still be a country with a life expectancy in the low thirties, something not heard of in Europe since the early Middle Ages? How proud does the Left, with its stupidly romantic notions of the inviolate nature of "black freedom fighters", feel about what it has so ably helped Mugabe achieve?

Of course, even now the Leftists who are recanting cannot bear the thought of a military operation being conducted by Britain alone - not that our exploited and resource-starved Armed Forces are in a position to take out Mugabe. It is argued that there should be a UN or multinational force, something that most of us old cynics will believe only when we see it. Frankly, I couldn't care less who liberates Zimbabwe - North Korea, the Taliban or Venezuela are welcome to it: they couldn't be any worse than the incumbent.


I have often talked about the left's reflexive opposition to the use of force. It is why they are so desperate for a US defeat in Iraq to be used in the future as a reason not to use force. The "humanitarian" left would rather have a genocidal despot like Saddam Hussein in power than see the use of force succeed. It turns out the same is true in Zimbabwe. They either oppose the sue of force or want it in a fashion that is clearly impossible as the situation in Darfur proves.

The left has become the best friends of the despots of the world. It is one of the evils of liberalism that the world must overcome.


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