Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Robert Mugabe has apparently pledged to ally Zimbabwe with China and to support China as an alternative world power. This in reaction to the snub that he received last week at the hands of the Commonwealth.

I'm somewhat amused at the rhetoric that he used to justify this decision:

"China is increasingly becoming an alternative global power point" indicating "a new alternative direction, which in fact could be the foundation of a new global paradigm. Zimbabwe must work for this new paradigm, which is founded on principles of sovereignty and independence,"

Well, yes, Bob, of course the new Chinese world order is founded on principles of sovereignty and independence, just ask the Taiwanese. Or the Tibetans for that matter.

China is in fact not quite the African neophyte that one might imagine it to be. It had a shadowy presence in Angola in the 1970s and, if memory serves me correctly, provided arms to Jonas Savimbi's UNITA movement for a while. However, I think it's safe to say that the Chinese will greet the news of Mugabe's putative alliance with the amusement that it deserves.

What's most interesting about this though, is the desperation that it reveals within ZANU-PF. Two years ago, Zimbabwe made overtures to France, then came the much publicised 'alliance' with Libya, and now this. I think Mugabe overestimates his own importance on the world stage and significantly underestimates the degree to which most countries now regard him as a lunatic. Except, of course, South Africa. Murray blogged on the problems with South Africa's attitude towards Zimbabwe last month, and I'd recommend you read what he had to say if you haven't already done so.

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