Friday, May 18, 2007

Mbeki: 'quiet diplomacy' has failed

I don't like this blog to be obsessed with one country or person but South African president Thabo Mbeki keeps sticking his foot in his mouth over Zimbabwe.

For several years, Mbeki has been engaging in 'quiet diplomacy,' as he calls it, with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. Mbeki has bragged about this fact and derided the approach called for by critics as 'megaphone diplomacy.' Obviously, 'quiet diplomacy' has accomplished nothing. In fact, it's made things worse by allowing Mugabe and this thugs to buy more time. But Mbeki seems unable (or more likely unwilling) to put two and two together and realize he's being played by a violin by Mugabe.

In a speech before parliament, Mbeki said that his country will just "have to live with" a flood of exiles from the nightmare in Zimbabwe. As many as 3 million Zimbabweans are already believed to be living in South Africa, a number which continues to rise.

This is a clear admission of complete impotence of the disgraced 'quiet diplomacy' policy.

Zimbabwe may be the most high profile diplomatic disgrace for the Mbeki government but as this editorial in the South Africa Daily Mail and Guardian points out, it's not the only one.

The editorial blasted the South African government its meek first five months on the UN Security Council. It voted against a resolution for the UN to scrutinize the human rights' record of the junta in Burma, one of the only countries in the world that's more repressive than Zimbabwe. South Africa also opposed increased sovereignty for the Sebrian province of Kosovo, where a Serb-led genocide raged less than a decade ago.

What a sad record for an administration comprised primarily of men and women who'd dedicated much of their pre-government lives fighting AGAINST one of the world's most infamous human rights abusing regimes.


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