Thursday, June 5, 2008

Robert Mugabe is an Evil, Evil Man

Although their are a lot of narcissistic, corrupt leaders of nations in the world Robert Mugabe is far and away the worst of this despicable lot (Ahmadinejad, Burma General Than Shwe, Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, Hugo Chavez...). It really is amazing how the leadership of Africa refuses to intervene (calling out Thabo Mbeki in particular here) even though it is clear Mugabe will do anything to remain in power until his death.

Seriously, how can the political leadership of Africa watch Mugabe arrest his competitor in the runoff battle soon after he reenters the country, let his supporters beat up U.S and British diplomats in the country and have his goons threathen to burn U.S. and British diplomats alive (I do not think it was an idle threat).

Mugabe has already completely destroyed his country -- it is going to take a generation of Zimbabwians to repair the damage this maniac has already done -- what else does he have to do before Mbeki steps in? I realize he was the idol for the African liberation movement, yet does this entitle him to commit every possible crime against humanity?

Mbeki is already a complete lame duck. It is inexcusable why he can't show some leadership and do the right thing.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Iranian Nuclear Threat

Although I have been an extreme skeptic of charges that Bush and/or Israel would attack Iranian nuclear facilities since rumors started flying in 2001, I am beginning to think this actually may happen.

In addition to the serious consequences such an action would have on the global economy and state of security (nicely laid out by Nouriel Roubini recently), I remember watching a panel discussion on PBS in 2002 or so where Lawrence Eagleburger (of all people) stated that if the Bush administration used military force against Iran he would be the first person to speak out against the POTUS. Furthermore, I always believed that the bellicose rhetoric from W was a diplomatic ploy to force greater concessions from the Iranian leadership (he really could not be crazy enough to add even more gasoline on the Middle East inferno... right?).

Roubini quotes Joschka Fischer, foreign foreign minister of Germany, who believes that Israel will attack Iran before the end of the Bush administration. Fischer is definitely a credible source (the Green Party in Germany should not be confused with their disorganized U.S. counterpart).

Furthermore, the Asia Times had a recent article stating a similar opinion. Now I have no idea if they used the same sources, yet apparently this possibility is moving into the realm of feasibility. If Fischer and the Asia Times are correct...

Clearly we need to do everything possible to stop Iran from having The Bomb. Considering how close Pakistan and India have been to blowing each other up... just imagine what the hell could happen if Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt also have The Bomb... outright frightening, I know, I know.

Furthermore, I do not envy the incredibly difficult position Israel lies in. In addition to a domestic political nightmare right now, you have a freakshow lunatic in Ahmadinejad threatening to blow Israel off the map. It is imperative for America to support the only real voice of democracy in the Middle East and ensure Israel continues to thrive for generations to come.
What is really missing from this debate is a conversation on what actually is happening in Iran right now. I listened to a fantastic podcast from Stratfor (do yourself a favor... subscribe to their podcast -- seriously!) this morning. Basically, there is an intense political fight currently between different factions of the conservative political hierarchy. Although I strongly disagree with almost everything the Iranian conservative movement stands for, I do believe figures like Akbar Rafsanjani and others will be reasonable on the nuclear issue if they win out in the current political struggle.

I have heard rumors in the past few years that Khamenei is nearing the end of his life, which makes the implications of the current conservative political battle even more important. However, it makes negotiations on the nuclear issue even more difficult if there is an apparent void of leadership at the top.

Bottom line is we should be waiting to see who the new Ayatollah is after the death of Khamenei before "cowboying up" and bombing Iran. If Iran gets The Bomb before then... well that is really unfortunate... yet I am not convinced we can even eradicate the Iranian intentions militarily anyways. Now, if an Ahmadinejad ally should take over as Ayatollah that is a different ballgame. Quite frankly Ahmadinejad's talk of the "hidden iman" scares the hell of me and reminds me of one General Ripper.