Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kim Jong-Il and Robert Mugabe

What is the solution for tyranny?
Either Time or Tyrannicide.

Is Kim Jong Il ill? I think so. The speculation is that the dictator has suffered a severe stroke.

TOKYO (AFP) Japan's Fuji Television on Monday showed footage of a French brain surgeon who it said was personally recruited by Kim's eldest son, Kim Jong-Nam, to treat him in Pyongyang. In Seoul, South Korea's intelligence chief confirmed that Kim Jong-Nam travelled to Paris but said his father seemed to be recovering.

Let's hope for his timely death.

North Korea, a country of 23 million people, has been plagued by years of famine caused by floods, drought and economic mismanagement. This week, according to Bloomberg, the government cut food rations for farmers in order to stock up on supplies for its military. The Democratic Republic of Korea has been starving its own population in order to retain political control.

Kim's death or terminal incapacitation would be followed by a succession of the DRK's military command, since the dictator's sons have not been prepared for political leadership. Without Kim's volatile ego in play, IMO, the new leadership would be pragmatically non-aggressive toward South Korea.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe is at war with his own people, and has been for years. In order to maintain control, this African strongman uses whatever weapons he can get his hands on. But he, too, favors the slow-moving weapons of hunger and disease.

Zimbabwe is on the brink of a famine that could kill millions. Children are already dying, their bodies swollen from starvation. The inadequacy of water supplies and sanitation has produced cholera outbreaks.

As in the case of North Korea, the danger is that potential international donors will send generous economic aid to Zimbabwe for humanitarian reasons. But there can be no economic solution for the mess that Mr. Mugabe has created out of Zimbabwe. The recent attempts to attain a brokered political solution, such as power-sharing was laughable and doomed at the outset. The only solution for Zimbabwe is Mugabe's timely death.

International Intervention?

The basic building block of international relations is state sovereignty. International invasion for humanitarian reasons is a violation of state sovereignty. This principle is not to be sacrificed lightly. Without going into a lengthy argument, I'll just mention the current case of Bush's invasion of Iraq in 2003 for the purpose of regime change: it has led to an endless and prohibitively costly occupation.

Zimbabwe's case is a little different than North Korea's.
Mugabe's tyranny has forced more than three million to flee into South Africa. Close to 500,000 are deported every year but the majority find their way back through illegal entry points. This scale of immigration has de-stabilized South Africa's fragile economy.

Thus Mugabe's policies have had a deleterious affect on South Africa's national interests. Unfortunately, even at the age of 84, Mugabe is apparently in good health. How much longer can South Africa wait to repatriate these refugees?

A well-placed sniper's bullet would solve this problem. No invasion. No occupation. Maybe Zimbabwe will have to wait upon time some more.