Like John at Power Line, I don’t generally believe in a resort to arms absent a compelling national interest*. However, sometimes simple humanitarianism and compassion for those in misery requires direct action, as it does now, in Zimbabwe:
A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.
Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with force as his mother, Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were about to murder her.
She heard one of them say, “Let’s kill the baby”, before Blessing was hurled on to a bare concrete floor.
Blessing, who may never be able to walk properly, was one of the youngest victims of atrocities against the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change in the run-up to last Friday’s sham presidential election.
Who then will stand for the people of Zimbabwe? The EU and Zimbabwe’s former colonial master, Britain? They’ve spent so much time degrading their military capabilities that the idea of an EU intervention is laughable, even discounting their aversion to anything other than holding another meeting. Us? Our dance card is full as it is with Afghanistan and Iraq, though it might come to that in the end.
Ideally, the nations around Zimbabwe would act to end this horror. But, as Ed at Hot Air has pointed out, President Mbeki of South Africa has repeatedly covered for the tyrant to the north. As the dominant regional power South Africa should be taking the lead. Instead, it does nothing. Given South Africa’s recent history of benefiting from foreign pressure to end the tyrannical apartheid regime, one can almost cut the irony with a knife.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s nightmare continues.
*(Yes, I believed then and do now that we had a compelling national interest in liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein. For a comprehensive analysis that holds up even in the absence of WMDs, look here.)