On air: Is it acceptable to intervene in another country’s affairs?

The international calls for Robert Mugabe to leave power are becoming almost deafening. French President Nicolas Sarkozy is the latest leader to say he must stand down.

Over the weekend British Prime Minister Gordon Brown branded Mugabe’s government a “blood-stained regime”, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said it’s time for African governments to “take decisive action to push him out of power”. And the Archbishop of York John Sentamu said it’s time that Mugabe was removed from power.

But perhaps the strongest lines came from the British Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who said the UN should now declare that the use of military force by the international community was justified in order to protect the people of Zimbabwe. Archbishop Desmond Tutu added his voice by saying Mugabe must resign or be sent to The Hague and should be removed by force if he refuses to go.

Is this a call for an international invasion of Zimbabwe – and if it is, is it justified? What makes Zimbabwe different? Why is the international community not talking about invading Burma, North Korea, Iran and arguably China?

We’re not just talking about Zimbabwe. This kind military intervention on the grounds of human rights has already happened in Sierra Leone, Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, East Timor – but was it effective? Is it justified to take military action in order to protect the human rights of a nation?

84 Responses to “On air: Is it acceptable to intervene in another country’s affairs?”

  1. 1 Brett
    December 8, 2008 at 14:48

    Sure it’s OK to call for and participate in action in other countries other than your own. But if your going to make such calls and action, its important to also be open to criticism on your country and its worldwide actions and more importantly your country and its actions if they play any role whatsoever in or conflict the ideals which you are calling on another country to do.

  2. 2 Vipul
    December 8, 2008 at 15:05

    I think it is if the situation is dire. Genocide convention was a good example. I only hope there is continuity when dealing with such problems.

  3. 3 Gordon
    December 8, 2008 at 15:09

    Mugabe is saying, according to some papers, that other countries including the British have invented the Cholera epidemic story as an excuse to invade his country. The sign of a madman that he would rather his people died than stand down. Yes use force to remove him from power and try him for crimes against humanity as soon as we can, because if he carries on the way he’s going it will just be him and his cronies left alive.

  4. December 8, 2008 at 15:15

    South Africa and the SADC have been reluctant to take firm action against Mugabe despite his vote rigging and use of violence to repress his opponents. Zimbabwe is practically paralysed. it needs the support of the international community lo lift it from its current misery and to allow the Zimbabweans to live in dignity.

    The West needn’t show double standards by quickly intervening in strategic parts of the world like Iraq and ignoring areas that aren’t a threat to its interests.

    In view of the current economic crisis affecting the West, it’s unlikely there will be drastic interventions in countries like Burma and Zimbabwe. As long as such countries aren’t a threat to strategically political balance, there will just the policy of wait-and-see or the policy of first-things-first.

    It’s laudable to intervene to redress political situations in foreign countries notorious for human rights abuses. But there are the political calculations that set priorities. Statistically, how many countries are known for the violation of human rights and is it feasible to intervene in all of them? Singling out one countries among the rest won’t set a good example. As such there will always be regimes that can escape sanctions and interventions as long as they have the stick to deal with their people and the carrot to coax outside forces; especially the West with vast interests in them.

  5. 5 Steve
    December 8, 2008 at 15:22

    Mugabe is one of the extreme examples of the narcissism of politicians. We have it bad here in the west, but I doubt many of our politicians in 2008 would tolerate their own citizens dying so that they could hang onto power. It just shows was sick people have the desire to run nations. Is Mugabe as bad as Hitler or Stalin? No way, but it’s the same mentality that you would let your own be killed (or kill them yourselves) just to remain in the office you feel entitled to be in.

  6. December 8, 2008 at 15:23

    Yes it may! But it is only acceptable in an ideal condition. In the past we experienced international interventions in different countries.

    I disagree with any international interventions to any country influenced by any interests. The intervention should be selfless and its aims should be to establish sustainable peace, democracy and prosperity in that nation. Otherwise it will not acceptable in at all.

  7. December 8, 2008 at 15:27

    In this globalized world everything is susceptible to the butterfly effect. A country has the right in so much as the way that they can prove that it will affect their own in some profound way. If Hitler had only killed Jews in his country, should we have let him?

  8. December 8, 2008 at 15:28

    Is it acceptable to intervene? Yes. That’s the easy question. The much harder one is “WHEN is it acceptable to intervene. How do you decide what’s “justifiable intervention” and what’s “unwarranted invasion”?

  9. 9 Alistair Walker
    December 8, 2008 at 15:51

    Hi Chloe,

    It is entirely proper that countries so mismanaged, corrupt or murderous can have military action taken against them in order to save lives. This includes Afghanistan, Iraq. The UN have allowed Zimbabwe to deteriorate to such a level the cholera outbreak threatens a further 40’000 of its citizens in addition to those starving. I’m available to contribute to this evening’s broadcast should you wish.


    Alistair Walker

  10. 10 Roy, Washington DC
    December 8, 2008 at 15:59

    Intervening in another country’s affairs for reasons other than that country being an active security threat leads us down a rather slippery slope. Where do we draw the line at a country being, for example, too corrupt to continue as is? Do we require a high level of corruption, as in certain African countries, or is a lower standard acceptable? Also keep in mind that some of the countries we’re talking about (North Korea, for instance) have large militaries, and would fight back.

    There is also the fact that if we tried to intervene in any country where there was oppression or corruption, our resources would be quickly overwhelmed. Genocide is deplorable, sure, but the Western world can’t be expected to act as a police force for the rest of the world all the time. We can and should call for change when it is warranted, but at some point, these countries are going to have to start taking care of themselves.

  11. 11 sabbir azam
    December 8, 2008 at 16:17

    I think Its depends on situation.As we are now living in a globalised world its easy to apprehand that our ties between different country will be much more stronger than ever before.If any country give support or assistence other country for the development of that coutry i dnt see any problem-but problem arises when rich or powerful country behaves like a GOD or MONSTER.And its a fact that this is happenning .

  12. 12 Kwabena Owusu-Ampratwum
    December 8, 2008 at 16:19

    If governments around the world know that the international community will remove them from power if they abuse it, the world would be better governed and human rights abuses by states would reduce

  13. December 8, 2008 at 16:19

    When there is a dictator that leads his country in a way, so that it becomes bankrupt is one thing but when it effects its people that many die for political reasons he should step down or made to resign, which in Mugabe’s case he has no intention of doing, the only way is to exert maximum pressure by neighbouring countries and world leaders to force him out.
    I think there is enough evidence against him to be tried on crimes against his people. He should be removed in any way possible.

  14. December 8, 2008 at 16:27

    Past examples of such intervention did not leave sweet memmories. Zimbabwans around the world shuld gather to address their need else the Int’l soceity shuld asume they (the great heads : Scholars, orther opinion leaders who are products that nation) are comfortable with wat they hav. The world and the so-called super powers shuld solv more pressin needs of the globe of which ECONOMY has more demand

  15. 15 Justin from Iowa
    December 8, 2008 at 16:36

    “Right” and “Acceptable” are subjective terms. Is the world able to intervene? Yes. Is there popular support to intervene? Yes. Is there will in the world’s collective governments to stick their necks out? These are the questions people and countries need to ask themselves.

    You can go into a country believing you are in the right and have the world’s support, and 6 months later your countries flag may being burned in effigy. This is a lesson most recenty learned in Iraq.

    Myself, I think that the world should let zimbabwe implode. If its people aren’t willing to fight for themselves then, no matter the good intentions of the world, foreign troops will inevitably be seen as invaders and the enemy.

  16. 16 Muthee Mwangi
    December 8, 2008 at 16:38

    Hi Chloe and the rest of the team,

    I think after so much fence-sitting by African leaders, it’s time they woke up and realized Nugabe is a disgrace to them all by virtue of their keeping silent. The people of Zimbabwe can not continue to suffer as Mugabe is busy printing worthless notes of people who are faced by multiple challenges including hunger and disease as the rest of us watch. I fully support forceful removal of Old Bob as well a the call for outside intervention.
    However on what basis would be the calls for intervention in ran or China? Burma I would support a 100% but those two?

  17. December 8, 2008 at 16:49

    James from Kenya
    I think its justified for Mugabe to be removed from power, waiting for him to step down is like trying to prove a butcher never sheds blood. The problem in Zimbabwe if there was millitary intervention can be salvaged in a heartbeat, since even Mugabe’s majority of his citizens loathe the nut(Mugabe).There would be a citizen backlash like in Iraq. He should be removed forcefully urgently.

  18. 18 Monica in DC
    December 8, 2008 at 16:57

    In the case of Mugabe… I’d say absolutely yes since it doesn’t appear he’s willing to step down on his own. I agree with Kwabena… if you know you’re being watched and can be ousted if you abuse your power, you might behave better.

  19. 19 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    December 8, 2008 at 16:59

    Hi Chloe,
    My answer is YES! YES! YES!
    Normal this was supposed to be the role of these unjust organizations
    (the UN and International Community).
    To intervene in another country’s affairs to save souls is acceptable
    even to God.
    What is happening today shows unconsciousness of the world because we
    could have learned much from 1994 genocide in Rwanda where the UN and
    International Community closed their eyes and millions of souls
    perished. I wish Mugabe should be removed and new government be put in

  20. 20 roebert
    December 8, 2008 at 17:20

    What’s unacceptable in this case is that the world has waited so long to even think of intervening. Iraq was invaded at a time when Mugabe’s behaviour was no less despotic and vicious than Saddam’s. The EU continued to host Mugabe at conferences long after they knew what his game was. Invade Zim now and throw him out.

  21. December 8, 2008 at 17:31


    This is especially important when a nation cannot help itself and its citizens are being genocided, neighboring nations invaded, resources stolen, entire regions of the globe endangered.

    This was justifyable in situations like Germany, Italy, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Iraq, Ruwanda,
    Sudan, Tibet,

    The problem is that it takes usually sacrafice of blood and treasure of a nation to interviene.
    Normally it takes a great deal of national security threats, and or loss of economic resources or vital supply resources to instigate the nation most abt to sacrifice in order to stabilize or assist the human beings or culture of that nation being ruled unfairly or threateningly to the point that it looks like a spiraling downward type situation where eventually an entire region will become endangered or the entire world.

    Genocide is a mutually agreed upon reason for nations to interviene. Truth be told, usually most other nations see loss of blood and treasure being the cost of intervention. Most nations do not have the courage nor the boldness to act. They do nothing until they themselves are threatened and or attacked.


  22. December 8, 2008 at 17:35

    A dog destined to die hardly sniffs aright a poisonous potion, but goes head-on to relish it. I fear for Mugabe. Truly, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Though, we cannot forget in a hurry Mugabe’s contributions in the great struggle against Aparthied and other oppressive forces in Zimbabwe and South Africa from time, his current obstinacy and deafness to reason seems to have bellied all that now. Respect is reciprocal…African Leaders gennerally have a weakness for the perquisites that comes from office…that I think is their definition of POWER.

  23. 23 Pradeep
    December 8, 2008 at 17:37

    There are much graver crises that threaten world peace than what’s in Zimbabwe. Some nations like Pakistan that breed terrorists should get more attention of world leaders. Mugabe can wait.

  24. 24 Tom Polasek
    December 8, 2008 at 17:50

    According to internaitonal law, no. But in reality, it will always happen. Because your country’s interests come first. Just look at the U.S.

  25. 25 Tony From Singapura
    December 8, 2008 at 18:00

    The power sharing plan was a failure, and should never have been entertained as a possible solution to the political crisis. Mugabe is drunk with power; it is likely that he will need to be removed forcefully; however it would be better if the other African leaders can convince him to step aside.

    Intervention might not be so simple – surely he has some form of power base, a loyal military or perhaps a well paid military. If he is so hated, why has he not been assassinated already? We need to understand what his power base is and deal with that also.

    Any intervention must also be matched with a recovery plan. We should not make the same mistake as Iraq where the post intervention political dynamics and humanitarian needs were not properly anticipated and dealt with.

    Resolution of the public health crisis is of paramount importance.
    What resources do we need to provide to solve the health problem?
    Are we prepared to bare the cost?

    A significant aspect of the economic failure of Zimbabwe is mismanagement (corrupt management) of the land reform process; if we intervene we need to be prepared to assist in putting this most fundamental aspect of the economy right.
    Are we prepared to participate in putting land reform right?
    How shall this be achieved? How long will this take?
    Are we prepared to bare the cost?

    If we decide to intervene, we should at the same time make a plan that involves our participation in Zimbabwe’s political and economic recovery.

  26. 26 Anthony
    December 8, 2008 at 18:05

    Well, I don’t think America would be America without other countries, I’m sure the Muslims in Bosnia were happy that we helped out there, and I think the Jews are pretty happy with us jumping in a few times.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  27. 27 Jennifer
    December 8, 2008 at 18:07

    Re: Is it justified to take military action in order to protect the human rights of a nation?

    Yes. My mom would say __________ rolls down hill. What occurs in other countries does have an impact on us. While we might want to provide humanitarian aid we have our own interests to consider as well. It would be placing our security in the hands of other people who may not have our best interests in mind, which is very ignorant.

    I believe Mugabe is like an abscess. Unless removed, will cause sepsis. However, there are considerations….Who would take his place? What would prevent him from maniggling his way back in somehow to keep his hand on the power? What good does it do for other leaders to call for him to step down? Also, who would lead this humanitarian aid? I think that it should be someone other than the U.S. this time…

    I think the best way to achieve the changes that Zimbabwe needs/wants is for the people there to take matters into their own hands. They know firsthand what is going on, what needs to be done, and they should take responsibility for saying how they want their government to be ran, and should have a hand in creating/forming it.

  28. 28 VictorK
    December 8, 2008 at 18:22

    Hardly ever.

    To prevent genocide (Darfur) or the threat of national extinction (Tibet) would be amongst the few justifications. Intervention should always have the support of the people on whose behalf it’s happening, which means that they must be actively trying to remedy the situation themselves prior to intervention (including the use of force) and be prepared to support the intervening power once it’s acted (contrast Iraq and Afghanistan). Mere oppression doesn’t justify intervention (e.g. Apartheid South Africa) Intervention that leads to permanent dependency on the intervenor (Kossovo) ought to be avoided, as should those (Iraq) that worsen the situation (something predicted years before Saddam was toppled). Where the contending parties in a country belong to the same nation (re ethnicicty, language, and culture)there should never be intervention: their differences are a purely internal matter (Burma).

    Till the people of Zimbabwe show that they are as prepared to defend themselves against a monster like Mugabe as they were against a pussycat like Ian Smith they don’t deserve anybody’s help. And given the tendency for monstrous African rulers to be succeeded by worse, why does anybody think that Robert Mugabe is the worst ruler Zimbabwe is capable of producing?

  29. December 8, 2008 at 18:22

    @ Troop
    Yes Yes Yes, but you agree that not all of those in your list enjoy peace nd good governance in the contemporary discourse

  30. 30 bjay
    December 8, 2008 at 18:41

    Is it acceptable to intervene in another country’s affairs?

    Where is the interest laid/lies?!
    Who’s justifying that?
    “Everything is driven by necessity”-it is not my saying.
    Ye, my good old subjectivism tells me: if a country dictator having a faulty ‘DNA’, then you have to correct that.
    Let make her/him/institutions to crawl back to the sack.
    Whatever- I need a drink.
    Bjay connotation with accent.

  31. 31 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    December 8, 2008 at 18:45

    I think the question is interesting. If the country is asking for help, yes. If there is no request for help. NO. So many people state here that we are a global community but the U.S. is attacked verbally when we help or look out for our interest after being attacked on 911. But when an issue comes up the U.S. is always asked to help with aid. The rest of the world has to stop looking at the U.S. as the reason for the worlds ill and the source of its health.

    In Zimbabwe the government will not ask for help and the people cannot. I believe that the UN has to make a call on what to do and send in troops if necessary.

  32. 32 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    December 8, 2008 at 18:46

    By the way great new look to the blog.

  33. 33 Steve Jones
    December 8, 2008 at 19:00

    The fact is government’s do interfere in the affairs of other countries, though the way they do this is usually subject to what kind of business relationship they have with a given country. A good example is China and the Tibet issue, whereby most Western nations do not press the issue because business with China is far more important than human rights and continuing atrocity.

  34. December 8, 2008 at 19:03

    If really bad leaders do bad things to their own people, like killing 3000 people as the Bush Administration and CIA did on 9/11, which was a false-flag attack, then foreigners should move in to arrest the malefactors and have a proper trial.

  35. 35 Brett
    December 8, 2008 at 19:06

    Why not invade North Korea and China? Oh because we’re a wee bit afraid of the reprocussions of such an invasion.

    We want to enforce our morals and authority only when it is easy and convenient for us and when that ease will produce beneficial results for our nation. Of course the ‘ease’ of invasion can always be miscalculated (See: Iraq, Vietnam).

    What would we gain from invading North Korea? Nothing, so we don’t do it… No matter how many human rights violations they rack up. They have nukes too… It’s as if we are fine messing with the punk kids of the world, but we turn a blind eye to the drunk dads and evil older brothers who can actually hit back.

  36. 36 Tom D Ford
    December 8, 2008 at 19:09

    Please change back to black letters on a white background; these white letters over black background are incredibly obnoxious and make it impossible to make and keep a copy of comments of interest and/or copy and edit quotes for use in responses. Thanks.

  37. December 8, 2008 at 19:11

    The question is really impossible to answer without defining what ‘intervene’ means. I think most people would agree that outsiders have a right to comment on a country’s internal affairs and perhaps even call for a leader’s resignation or for a country to accept foreign help in some crisis. It becomes more difficult when ‘intervene’ comes to mean directly influence a country’s domestic affairs by funding political parties, arming government or opposition forces and of course invading or forcibly removing an unfriendly regime. The reason is because such forcible intervention is almost never done for exclusively humanitarian reasons, even if that is the fig leaf. There is no such thing as a completely disinterested military intervention or external regime change and that’s why it’s so dangerous.

  38. 38 Lovemore
    December 8, 2008 at 19:18

    It is acceptable and necessary to intervene in a another country’s affairs when that country’s leader is like Mugabe. It would be unacceptable to sit back and watch people die of avoidable causes due to one man’s selfishness.

  39. December 8, 2008 at 19:19

    After what Mugabe has done to Zimbabwe he needs to be rid of ASAP, he is evil! We, the west, should have intervened many months ago – with force if necessary! So yes, it is right to intervene sometimes, Darfur is another one.

  40. December 8, 2008 at 19:20

    It was time to intervene in Zimbabwe months ago. Action by the international community is long overdue.

    What’s needed now is to establish a fast-response international military force that can be called to action at the behest of the United Nations to intervene in situations of humanitarian crisis caused by politics and violence; and to set a number of predetermined conditions which would automatically trigger the deployment of such forces — this would allow rapid deployment, without waiting for the world community to sit on their hands and look the other way and hope the problem will go away, as it is wont to do.

    The whole system must be overseen by a robust international constitution, an assertive international court, and eventually international democratic direct elections that will enfranchise even those who presently live under despots, tyrants, totalitarian states and other forms of violent extremism.

  41. 41 Ogola Benard
    December 8, 2008 at 19:24

    I like the new wave on the blog! its not about intervention in another country, but there are humanbeings living there! even animals are protected at their various locations like zoo’s,and parks.Its high time mugabe should go!!! Mugabe is out of age and out of form as well!

  42. 42 Tom D Ford
    December 8, 2008 at 19:26

    “Please change back to black letters on a white background; these white letters over black background are incredibly obnoxious and make it impossible to make and keep a copy of comments of interest and/or copy and edit quotes for use in responses. Thanks.”

    Oops! I see that I was wrong.

    Still, I like the normal black letters over white background better. It is easier on the eyes.

  43. 43 Brett
    December 8, 2008 at 19:27

    Besides, if we invaded Zimbabwe, it would be a bit hard to lie (again) to the American people and the world that this time it is Zimbabwe which is a threat to the world…
    Maybe he has WMDs?…

  44. 44 Brett
    December 8, 2008 at 19:28

    I’m with Tom. While I like the post number/count inserted in each post, black background with white text is much more difficult to read than black text on white background. This reminds me of a blog or webpage from 1998.
    Or a gaming webpage (no offense).

  45. 45 Rick
    December 8, 2008 at 19:30

    Calling for arbitrary military intervention, is dangerous to the very people that are supposed to be assisted by this action. The situation in the country is appalling, but gung ho activities must not be encouraged. Time and current events will bring Mugabe to book, sooner rather than later.

  46. 46 Ogola Benard
    December 8, 2008 at 19:31

    I dont see the use of Mugabe’s five degrees including that of political science and law? The country has gone out of hand, no political and economic analysis have taken there cause and people are dying sicken pox!

  47. December 8, 2008 at 19:40

    Yes, rule of law – Blaire, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfwowitz – 1 million-plus dead Iraquis – no lack of perpetrators, ready for the dock. Are Mugabee’s crimes worse?

    Just voting against institutionalized war on humanity isn’t enough. Do your duty, Sir!

    Investigate! Indict! Prosecute! Execute!

  48. 48 Brian
    December 8, 2008 at 19:46

    Yes, and it may surprise the Zimbabwean deputy health minister to know that the invasion of Iraq was a success in that it got rid of the tyrant. That Iraqis now want to kill each other is their own choice, and very soon they will be left on their own to do so, thank goodness. In Zimbabwe, spending our taxes treating cholera and digging up pipes untouched since “independence” and donating shiny new pumping stations will just make Mugabe smile and stay in power for another 20 years. Remember Banda in Malawi. Zimbabwe’s army is ill disciplined and the airforce is a joke. Any reasonably equipped and trained army could topple Mugabe inside a day, but do not expect Europeans or Americans to do the work for you. Africa for Africans means you have to do it yourself, or see the plague kill your own people.

  49. December 8, 2008 at 19:49

    It is incredible that you have the gut to insinuate the execution of what is recognised universally as a violation of international law even if you worded it as an innocent question. The United Nations recognises sovereignty as inalienable authority, right and freedom to administer all that pertain to a nation as belonging to the governing state of a country. Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. It is still under the administrative authority, rights and freedom of a legal government. Mugabe did not create this rule and was not even invited when it was created. What ethics justifies the violation of the universal law?

    When you said that the man who has been speaking courageously left the room, I understand that to mean that you sent him out because he has been speaking the truth courageously. Hiw are you better than Mugabe?

    It is known that Bush and Blair created the problem in Zimbabwe and they are determined and desperate to get Mugabe out and their stooge in, in order to own the land and its wealth. They are the the people who should face international sanction.

    Prince Awele odor

    Lagos, Nigeria

  50. 50 Brinda.hg
    December 8, 2008 at 19:53


    I don’t think intervention works.As long as citizens of a country want to do something about it there is no solution to such situations.Look at any country where there has been intervention there has been more damage done than good.If you have a problem at home ,you solve it.We don’t wait for neighbors to come and solve it.If there has not been any opposition from the citizens of Zimbabwe then there is no point in any kind of intervention.

  51. 51 Bert
    December 8, 2008 at 20:05

    In general, if the country in question has NOT invaded or attacked another country, my answer is to stay away. Look what happened to the US in Somalia, back in the 1990s. That was an example of US forces going in for humanitarian reasons, without any pretext of self-interest.

    Look at what happened in Iraq. In my view, the only reason things have been improving in Iraq is because Iraqis FINALLY decided to solve their problems.

    Afghanistan is different only in the sense that the Taliban regime had supported the terrorists that attacked the US. Otherwise, the US should have stayed out of there too.

    This idea that invasion by a foreign power can be justified by the simple notion that “father knows best” is a very, very slippery slope. And this is MOST especially true if the invading power is what your callers describe as a “colonial power.”

    No, please, let’s not repeat the same mistakes over and over and over again. At least, let’s not pretend we can come up with some generic excuse, always applicable, for doing so. Next thing you know, we’ll see people calling for re-colonization, without realizing it.

  52. 52 Jens
    December 8, 2008 at 20:40

    This black background is giving me a headach wen reading. there is a reason, why we invented white paper and black ink many moons ago.

    Uhhhhh and yes mugabe should be get rid off. that guy has ruined a perfectly good country that was able to sustain itself, never mind all the death and bloodshed.

  53. 53 Peter liu
    December 8, 2008 at 20:42

    Confucious says ‘ if if u cannot take care of your own country u should mind your own business. Unless you want to covet their land. U can if u are a superpower.

  54. 54 Jun Gao
    December 8, 2008 at 20:54

    Yes, only if you are ready to open your country for intervention from other countries who want to make you do what they consider as correct. Is the British population ready to accept actions in England from Muslim fundamentalists to “SAVE” your country from Christianity? If you don’t, then leave other countries alone!

  55. 55 Syed Hasan Turab
    December 8, 2008 at 22:31

    Any foreign enterfrience will create more complecation & hold Africa behind.Try to keep Africa clean from big dadyies of the world.
    With little knowledge & Technology China may be considered a friend of Africa.

  56. 56 David
    December 8, 2008 at 22:33

    The sick international community can sent some people to The Hague, but not others even when they commit worse crimes against humanity.

    In my view, it is the international community which has failed Zimbabwe, and not Mugabe. Self interest has infiltrated the country and distroyed the people and their pride.

    Have you ever considered the outcome if only the world community could support the Mugabe government instead of demonising it??

  57. 57 Dick
    December 9, 2008 at 00:22

    While I retain due respect I believe this question can only be asked by those who have not known first hand, the tragedies of being a national in a country like Zimbabwe. There is genocide in Zimbabwe, forget what you hear.It is more than cholera. Have you ever lived in fear, not knowing what you will eat tomorrow, not knowing if you will get arrested any time, watching your children starve to death, leaving your family for months or years to do a degrading job in a neighbouring country or elsewhere, watching your marriage break up, locking up your university degree certificates to join street vendours, not being able to attend funerals of close relatioons because there were too many funerals at a time. PLEASE LET US ACT NOW. YES, YES, YES IT IS RIGHT AND JUSTIFIED.So far the world has watched and there is too much useless talking and ineffective sanctions. Every moment wasted is an insumountable number of precious innocent lives lost and you all know it. History will judge harshly those within whose power these people can be saved.

  58. 58 Darren
    December 9, 2008 at 00:50

    No…that’s what the UN should be for. No 1 country should have the right to intervene in any countries affairs. However, A group of united countries through the UN should be able to intervene (physical intervention) in situations that are dire for the population. That way no 1 country can take advantage of the countries situation either politically or physically (deals done in back rooms to exploit a countries resources in exchange for their freedom).

  59. December 9, 2008 at 02:15

    Well said Bob in Queensland!

    Under certain circumstances it is yes. But all too often and on far too many occasions it isn’t. In relation to Zimbabwe, once called Rhodesia and under white rule and suppression of its predominantly black and African population at the time, led to the ending of white colonial rule long after the time that it should have seen a transition to non white governmental and political rule. Mugabe came along on a huge wave of support from the Western governments, and as it suited them being complicit in assisting him in covering up his later nefarious activities whilst at the height of his powers. So if it is time then the British government and others should all admit to their guilt in allowing him to establish absolute rule and become a dictator of some note, while all the time being on their watch.

  60. December 9, 2008 at 02:22

    This black background is hard to read.

  61. 61 terry
    December 9, 2008 at 02:45

    the people must rise up from whats happening in tht whole great coutry.it’s really hard to say looking from the outside in.without adout the country needs some help to blame it on bush or blair is ridiculous.Robert himself gave the land away to people that didnt know how to tend to the land.All the men in high positions were watching out for themselves and not the masses.It’s also the nations surrounding that country that should have stepe in. Instead they were watching out for their elite buddies in that country.It’s the same reason why they couldn’t stop the stuff thats happening in somalia or dafur. The election that they had in their country was not fair by no means.now that people are getting sick u come to the u.n..

  62. December 9, 2008 at 07:21

    @ Anakor Chigozie Jeremaih,

    Agree with your thinking also, yes we do not always pick our efforts to help very well, and we sure make lots of mistakes. We do often try to help our fellow humans especially in natural disasters. I’m sort of proud of our people. For all the bashing that Pres. Bush takes he did try to help a lot of Africans with the terrible AIDS problem and this is all while being the greatest debtor nation in the history of the world with our own citizens not having decent health care. World events and the schemes of man are very complicated and it is a wonder we have any people still trying to make things better. Best just to enjoy what goodness you can of all people. Especially proud of America for electing a smart young man to be our President.

    We are hoping he will have the intellect to understand what needs tending to, and how to help most fellow humans.

    Are you from Cambodia? Can’t figure your name. Thanks so much for writing.

    troop on the Oregon Coast

  63. 63 Uchenna Ezeh in Zaki/Biam
    December 9, 2008 at 09:52

    Is sometimes good to intervain if the gorverning party can no longer take care of it’s citizens but in the case of Mugabe and Zembabwe, I think the West has another reason for thier wanting to intevain because human right abuse is also existing in many countries of the world today but no one wants to talk about them because is either the gorverning party is giving them all they want or the country is one the powerful countries of the World; though I don’t like Mugabe either but I just want us to play fairly.

  64. 64 Jenny Turnbill - Australia
    December 9, 2008 at 11:46

    Not if your going to leave the country in more anarchy than before the intervention, – which commonly occurs. We’ve got to get smarter at how we influence some of these autocratic regimes, there must be more positive ways other than just by war.

  65. 65 VictorK
    December 9, 2008 at 14:22

    Matthew, December 9, 2008 at 2:15 am, wrote:
    “Mugabe came along on a huge wave of support from the Western governments, and as it suited them being complicit in assisting him in covering up his later nefarious activities whilst at the height of his powers. So if it is time then the British government and others should all admit to their guilt in allowing him to establish absolute rule and become a dictator…”

    What gives this away as pure fantasy is that Robert Mugabe himself takes the opposite view. The Thatcher government tried to obstruct his coming to power (true); Britain and the West have been unsparing critics of his evolution into a despot (also true); and sinister British forces have been plotting for years to destabilise Zimbabwe and force him from power (all sane people know what to make of that one).

    Of course, Mugabe is also a fantasist, but at least he has a good excuse for talking nonsense.

  66. 66 Tom D Ford
    December 9, 2008 at 18:04

    International Global Corporations are constantly interfering in other countries affairs, usually corrupting the government and abusing the human rights of the people in order to exploit their labor and essentially “steal” their resources, it is called “Free Trade”.

    To paraphrase Clausewitz; “War, Politics, and Religion are business by another means.”

    That being the case, are there better ways to do business such that all of the humans involved benefit and fewer are abused?

    I sure think so!

  67. 67 Tom D Ford
    December 9, 2008 at 19:01

    I think the priorities list is upside down.

    I think that humans ought to be at the top and all the other constructs like nations, countries, corporations, businesses, states, counties, provinces, cities, towns, committees, etc, should only be respected after humans and human rights are taken care of and honored.

  68. 68 Tom D Ford
    December 9, 2008 at 19:03

    I think John McCain was wrong to campaign on the slogan “Nation First”.

    I think it should be “People First!”

  69. 69 Luci Smith
    December 10, 2008 at 09:26

    If Zimbabwe had urainium deposits, it would have been invaded before now.
    If Bush II had gone to Capetown to talk with Nelson Mandela way back in 1999 or 2000, perhaps Darfur and Zimbabwe would be different today.

    But in the last week, world leaders have been talking it up. CNN is busy showing pictures and Mugabe is telling Zimbabweans that they are in danger of being invaded, my guess is that it has already been decided…
    My old history teacher used to talk about “secret diplomacy”. He is dead now and the concept seems to have suffered greatly since the onset of the Reagan Dynasty.

    I agree with Darren, that the UN is the way to go. But I believe in killing people with kindness and not bullets.

    And I respect the BBC for keeping on reporting from Zimbawe – or trying to do it. You quoted a lot of world leaders, but Condalezza Rice stopped by Copenhagen last week and although she refused to answer questions about extraordinary reneditions through Danish airspace and did not want to talk about the CIA ‘s waterboarding activities, she went on record criticizing Mugabe around the 4th of December.

  70. 70 Luci Smith
    December 10, 2008 at 09:31

    And here’s an afterthought from a cynic.

    If Zimbabwe gets invaded, then it will be opened for all of the people in North America and Western Europe who want to adopt children.

    That is a natural resource I did not think about.

  71. December 10, 2008 at 10:06

    it is acceptable to intervene in another country affairs if its to help and aid the poor in need with the basic needs.you know what!!former colonialists are just like the masons you give a contract to come and build you a house.but they cant say that they got a moral authority to remove mugabe from the house yet they were paid for masonry.


  72. December 10, 2008 at 14:49

    Will New Labour, let alone the Conservatives admit to having been complicit and actively supporting and assisting Mugabe’s regime? 28 years in control of Zimbabwe, a ruthless dictator and not yet ousted from power, then I highly doubt it. But he obviously hasn’t been removed because undisclosed others have seen purpose in allowing him to rule for so long. For what other reason has he been allowed to get away with his monstrous actions to date. Truth and justice don’t sit easily or seem to register on New Labour’s scale. New Labour can’t even admit to a bumbling Speaker of the House, Mr. Martin, being cast aside for all the right reasons. What can you expect if they can’t even begin to put part of their own house in order! Everything else they should be answerable to has just been carefully swept under the carpet and twisted and turned and spun miraculously into their favour. They sure as hell aren’t going to rush into setting the record straight in Zimbabwe!

  73. 73 Michael Peterson
    December 10, 2008 at 20:12

    It is in the here and now that we must set an example for how we want the world’s country’s to treat each other.

    If sending in a military force, be it under the auspices of “UN peacekeeping” or as a coalition working outside UN mandate(/s) is an option, then we must accept it. If it is not, we must do everything in our power diplomatically to bring about change for the better for the people of Zimbabwe as an example for both those who wish to commit heinous acts and those who wish to ignore them in the future.

    We must act and quickly.

  74. December 10, 2008 at 21:19

    Matthew December 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm
    Matthew December 10, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Viktor K,

    Fantasy in this instance is when you see only one side of the argument and debate, as it seems you and far too many like you are wholly content in doing so. I strongly suggest you do your research before coming up with the wrong conclusions re. most certainly the British government:
    Margaret Thatcher’s active role in supplying military arms and weapons to the Mugabe regime in the guise of Hawk fighter jets. He used them in an illegal war with Congo in 1984. We know that for sure.
    In 1994 Mugabe received an honorary knighthood from the Queen on recommendation of the then Conservative government.
    Just these two examples highlight the fact that a western government was contentedly complicit in actively supporting and aiding Robert Mugabe from his early years in power, and turning a blind eye to his other activities, including the possible killing of 20,000 of his own people hidden and buried away in mass graves. Nothing of substance or intervention has been made upon this genocidal issue, save for political TV programme studies and political abhorrence at those possibilities being true. Mugabe remains in power many years later and to this day. Cont’d.

  75. 75 Peter Stanslaus
    December 11, 2008 at 13:23

    It is absolute not acceptable to intervene in another ones country sovernity so each country has the right to enjoy it power.

  76. 76 apexjd
    December 11, 2008 at 15:47

    What is basic aim of the United Nations,
    it is essential for us to have good knowledge about it.

    Crucial majority of the nations are memeber of the institution, called United Nations.

    The basic purpose of this institution is to control those memeber states, who by force interven in the domestic affaires of other countries.

    Every country has its own constitution, law and regulations based on the elected or non elected leadership run the state matters.

    No country have right to interfare in the inter affares but the United Nations under the law which has been enacted by the general assebly and security council with veto power.

    In case, any country delibrately voilate the principles pf U,N. then the memeber states have right to put it on the right path by force.

    Sultan Ahmed, Fsd, Pakistan.

  77. December 15, 2008 at 03:33

    Matthew December 10, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    Viktor K,

    Only now that everything is coming to a head regarding the most recent fraudulent election results and the ousting of white farmers, the terrorizing, murder and torture of its own citizens, to such a horrific and consistent level, are the western governments giving serious thought to intervening in the affairs of Zimbabwe. Now it is being relentlessly reported and analysed by the mainstream media it can’t exactly be ignored any more can it?
    But the fact that we are now thinking of serious and possibly military intervention into Zimbabwe, which more than likely will never transpire. Just a lot of beating of chests and huffing and puffing in indignation at Mugabe and his henchmen. Now if there were vast reserves of oil or minerals in the country and someone in the West had managed to concoct a story about “threatened supply routes” and “destabilization of the region,” the bywords, and clichés so often used by governments who have ulterior motives for certain actions. They then willingly undertake to intervene in their own self-interests, cleverly sell it via the media to the people for their approval and permission; please see invasion of Iraq as a key example of this.
    It would be rather nonsensical for you to ignore the aforementioned and glaring facts would it not? Taking all into account and allowing Mugabe to remain in power for 28 years is guilt by association if you do give succour to a regime such as his!

  78. 78 VictorK
    December 15, 2008 at 12:57

    @Matthew: you do understand that I don’t support intervention in Zimbabwe? I think that Britain was wrong to intervene in Rhodesia by bringing pressure to bear on Smith. The Rhodesians should have been left to work out a solution internally. And I’d like to see Western troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately.

    I really don’t understand why you’re so excited about this topic. Bad as things in Zimbabwe are, there are at least two disasters on the African continent that dwarf it. But since no blame can be attached to the West for either of these, the liberal-left pay them little attention, just as they are silent about China’s role in facilitating genocide in one of those tragedies. If Tony Blair and Gordon Brown fell into the hands of Robert Mugabe I’d be pleased.

    Do you ever allow Africans and other non-European peoples to be responsible for what happens to them in their own countries? This idea that developments in Zimbabwe, or Iraq, or Afghanistan have little or nothing to do with the people of those countries, but can all be assigned to the machinations of an international conspiracy of white males, implies a very unflattering judgement on the character and capacity of non-whites. You do realise that?

  79. December 16, 2008 at 12:07

    Viktor K,

    You make certain valid points, but you can not truly disassociate the West from Zimbabwe, and most definitely not Iraq or Afghanistan et al past or present. What has happened in the past has a direct affect and influence upon that which is happening in the present of any given situation. To say otherwise is flying in the face of reality.

    You need to apply some sort of historical context with all these situations. Zimbabwe as Rhodesia was a former British colony and therefore subject to the auspices, authority and a deep and lasting legacy due exactly to that. Many other previous African countries were colonial states and so until fairly recently British and European interests have been served by those put in or ably and selfishly assisted by western governments.

    If maybe we stopped interfering at the level we do and just offered assistance with no strings attached. No tied aid, no arms sales, make a concerted effort to establish governments based on the idea of western democracies, but offer them the opportunity to put their own personal and cultural stamp upon it, then we might just begin to establish a positive precedent that will allow these countries to foster and flourish like never before. If after this entirely altruistic behaviour they renege, instigate conflict and worse, and then we have the automatic right to intervene, but only in those instances. If they have signed up to the fact that will happen, and do not withdraw or stand down then the United Nations in agreement and willing governments must step in immediately to redress the situation.
    Wishful and naive in one sense. But isn’t it about time this method and approach was tried, or do we just resort to more of the same time and time again, with no winners or losers, just a festering stalemate, with piles of casualties on either side, waiting for the next incident to spark off and in turn release more horrors to behold, with untold consequences for us all.

    What we need now more than ever before is a constant dialogue of jaw, jaw, and not resorting to war, war.
    It might take a generation, but if we don’t start now then it will most likely continue into all succeeding generations with no end in sight whatsoever!

  80. 80 Marge
    December 19, 2008 at 07:57

    As the song goes “when will we ever learn?’ The British left Zimbawe (Rhodesia), a functioning, civilized country that could prosper and could feed itself. Now what have we got? A nightmare. And if we go in with guns blazing then what?

    Why – Australia wouldn’t even play cricket with them, and quite right too.

  81. 81 Rajesh_Kumar
    December 22, 2008 at 18:59

    Yes, when A dictator does not respect the general sentiments of the people of his/her country. When scores of people die and do not finda way to escape the persecution. When a national calamity is given a colour as a making or a gift of the supposed invader? When the country is fully outside the economic system of the sane world..

    Yes, when a country like Sudan is involved in killing its own people for religious and ethnic reasons. when state is using state machinery to eliminate a part of the own country and people who are not muslim and who are the original inhabitants, tribes and indigenous people who do not happen to be following same criminal regimes ideas and values.

    Yes, when a state like Pakistan, who do not have any control over its citizens, when the military of a country is involved in sponsoring crime and terror in the region and the world. when the military of a country is the sponsor of all terror and when some elements in the military are training and providing logistic and technical training and support to terrorists.

    Yes when corrupt countries from the African continent that are run by corrupt rulers who function like terror outfits.

    The world community has a responsibility to intervene because these countries are in the national society, because the actions of these countries affect the life of people of the world and much more the people of their own countries. We are a society afer all and society be responsible and take care and correct the worngs in the society. Terror regimes do not have the right to function the way they do because they are not alone they are not isolated, they can not be let to function the way they do.

  82. 82 D.B. Cooper
    December 30, 2008 at 03:31

    I think a diplomatic or military intervention in a country is perfectly justified if peoples basic human rights are being denied or the country is a threat to regional stability such as the race riots and the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

  83. 83 David
    January 6, 2009 at 16:10

    The unfortunate thing is that many people comment when they know nothing other than what they have read in a newspaper, off the TV or Radio or propaganda.

    I would love to know the answer to this question:

    Who is the international community I keep on hearing about, particularly from the West? Does it mean I am included in this international community??

  84. 84 ANIL TEWARI
    January 22, 2009 at 13:00

    Why not , if we believe in concept of common global village we have to gradually proceed towards this direction.

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