Yet More Tears for Africa
[August 21, 2002]
By Nicholas Provenzo
In a report in the Washington Times, the Bush
administration said yesterday that it no longer considers President Robert
Mugabe to be the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe and called upon "the body
politic" of his country "to go forward and correct that situation."
According to the Times:
Mr. Mugabe has ordered the takeover of thousands of
white-owned farms, which are being handed over to his political
supporters, former independence war veterans, military officers and
The farm disruptions have deeply reduced agricultural
output that typically feeds not only Zimbabwe but also its neighbors.
Some white farmers have refused to leave their farms and were arrested
Nevertheless, the Bush administration plans to send
190,000 tons of emergency food aid to southern Africa in addition to
310,000 tons of food the US already contributes to the region.
Why on earth would the Bush administration send food to
mitigate Mugabe's politically inspired food shortage? Any subsequent
famine will be due directly to Mugabe's banditry, and yet our government
sees fit to send taxpayer-purchased food to lessen the effect of his
reign, even as it calls for his ouster.
This policy of sending food subsidies to failed regimes
does nothing to promote US national interests. Furthermore, by lessening
the effect of Mugabe's banditry, US policy actually undercuts the rights
of Zimbabwean landholders and uses the fruits of Americans' labor to prop
up Mugabe's evil regime. It is not the place of the United States to cover
for the mistakes of a thuggish dictator with no concept of private
property. If Mugabe thinks that food can be produced without the farmers
who made the farms productive in the first place, then let him and his
cronies feel the pain of that decision in their bellies.
The appropriate US policy would be to simply offer
refuge status to the affected farmers. Let these farmers come to the US to
grow crops in Iowa or Kansas, secure in the knowledge that their property
is safe from seizure.
It is sad to say, but Africa is still far from entering
the civilized world. For a continent as rich in resources as it is, it
still is impoverished in the one realm that matters—the realm of ideas.
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