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Thread: Zimbabwe: 2007 till Mugabe resigns

  1. #281
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    Default What value the State Department?

    Part of the Wikileaks package is a cable from the outgoing US Ambassador Dell in 2007 which he gave the title SUBJECT: The End is Nigh.

    It is hard to believe that the US "machine" could have read that 2007 situation in Zimbabwe so wrong. Would really like to see some of their pre-1980 Rhodesian era cables and assessments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    It is hard to believe that the US "machine" could have read that 2007 situation in Zimbabwe so wrong. Would really like to see some of their pre-1980 Rhodesian era cables and assessments.
    I agree, it was a very poor reading of Mugabe's staying power.

    It wasn't necessarily indicative of all of the US "machine," however--it is a personal opinion cable by the ambassador, which may well be at odds with assessments offered elsewhere within the State Department, let alone the CIA, etc.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  3. #283
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Hey Rex and JMA !

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    I agree, it was a very poor reading of Mugabe's staying power.

    It wasn't necessarily indicative of all of the US "machine," however--it is a personal opinion cable by the ambassador, which may well be at odds with assessments offered elsewhere within the State Department, let alone the CIA, etc.
    One couldn't fathom what "opinions" end up in a sent message regardless of what the rest of the Country Team thinks or knows.

    There's certainly much more under the heading of "misreadings of African leaders" that make me glad to be retired

    Regards, Stan
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  4. #284
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    I agree, it was a very poor reading of Mugabe's staying power.

    It wasn't necessarily indicative of all of the US "machine," however--it is a personal opinion cable by the ambassador, which may well be at odds with assessments offered elsewhere within the State Department, let alone the CIA, etc.
    You give the State Department/CIA the benefit of the doubt.

    Lets watch and see as the documents become available just how pervasive inept and deep seated the assessments of local political situations in various countries were.

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    Default tricky things, assumptions

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    You give the State Department/CIA the benefit of the doubt.
    I didn't, actually--I merely pointed out what would be evident to anyone who had worked in a foreign ministry, namely that the cable could not be read as reflecting the views of much more than the ambassador of the day.

    Indeed, in my experience, cables of that tone often reflect an ambassador's unease that his own views are not universally shared—hence Stan's comment below.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  6. #286
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    I didn't, actually--I merely pointed out what would be evident to anyone who had worked in a foreign ministry, namely that the cable could not be read as reflecting the views of much more than the ambassador of the day.

    Indeed, in my experience, cables of that tone often reflect an ambassador's unease that his own views are not universally shared—hence Stan's comment below.
    Well the world is about to see what goes on in the State Department for themselves.

  7. #287
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default When pigs learn to fly

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Well the world is about to see what goes on in the State Department for themselves.
    JMA,
    I wish I could share your enthusiasm and optimism, but my 26 years of being around Embassy and State lead me to believe otherwise.

    On the other hand, you may be correct...
    There was a time in Zaire when one could read yesterday's message traffic while chomping on a road-side omelet/baguette less than 50 meters from the Embassy (the sandwich was wrapped in multiple pages of cable traffic). It was then I realized why only our office shredder was always broken or dull.

    Tom can tell you how fast our burn time was when we were there (not much to read about in our office).
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  8. #288
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Tom can tell you how fast our burn time was when we were there (not much to read about in our office).
    That would be the 5 seconds necessary to smash the hard drive with an axe.

    Out of many Stan and I suffered through, my favorite chief of mission pronouncement was on July 16th 1994 regarding the impact of the Rwandan refugee exodus into Zaire:

    "This will all be over in two weeks..."

    Sixteen years and several million dead later, I still consider it worthy of a Guiness salute

    Brilliant!

  9. #289
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Robert Mugabe 'ready to bury the opposition'

    Refreshed by the ZAPU party conference we have some reporting; from The Daily Telegraph:
    Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe has said his party is ready to bury his Western-backed opposition "forever" as there are warnings his forces are fanning out across the country in a bid to intimidate voters ahead of elections.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...imidation.html

    Or the BBC:
    Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has told the BBC of his desire to remain in power after his party endorsed him as an election candidate. On Saturday he closed his party's conference, saying that the power sharing deal with the MDC party is now dead.
    Link, mainly a film clip:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12028675 and a longer written report:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8410357.stm

    Elsewhere, on the Zimbabwean expatriate / exile websites, there are more chilling reports; such as this:
    In the last elections, you voted for the wrong party but today I am happy to see all of you here and I assume that you are here because you support the revolutionary party and what Mudha stands for. "If you disagree with what is being said here, then there is nothing I can do about it and if you don’t vote for us in the next election, this country is huge, we will rule even if you don’t want,” Mnangagwa said.

    Mnangagwa, who is feared more than he is respected and was previously tipped to take over the party leadership from President Robert Mugabe, said Zimbabwe belonged to Zanu PF which would not hesitate to bless and reward its own sons who defended the cause of the party.
    Link:http://www.zimdiaspora.com/index.php...tips&Itemid=18

    Meantime I fear the West will close it's eyes, maybe pray and once more hope SADC (notably President Zuma) can stop such "political campaigning".
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-19-2010 at 09:35 PM.
    davidbfpo

  10. #290
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Meantime I fear the West will close it's eyes, maybe pray and once more hope SADC (notably President Zuma) can stop such "political campaigning".
    Of course they will close their eyes. Mugabe (using diamond money) will buy off the SADC leaders and it will be business as usual.

    Three cruise missiles (at a million a pop) is all that it would take.

  11. #291
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    Default Probably not

    this:

    from JMA
    Three cruise missiles (at a million a pop) is all that it would take.
    as evidenced by a number of US cruise missile failures to accomplish decapitations.

    A adequately resourced invasion, aimed solely at regime removal (not regime change - that left to chance), would have a better probability of success.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    this:

    as evidenced by a number of US cruise missile failures to accomplish decapitations.

    A adequately resourced invasion, aimed solely at regime removal (not regime change - that left to chance), would have a better probability of success.

    Regards

    Mike
    Funny that, the US can put a man on the moon but can't seem to get these missiles accurate.

    Lets see what happens in the Ivory Coast this year and the Sudan next year.

  13. #293
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    Default VHVTs are evasive & very self-protective

    See this Rand monograph, Operations Against Enemy Leaders by Stephen T. Hosmer (11 short pdf downloads at bottom to get entire monograph):

    Operations targeted against senior enemy leaders have long been viewed as a potential means of shaping the policy and behavior of enemy states. As a result, the United States has launched a variety of overt and covert operations in efforts to attack enemy leaders directly, facilitate their overthrow by coup or rebellion, or secure their ouster through external invasion. This book examines a number of leadership attacks from World War II to the present to offer insights into the comparative efficacy of various forms of leadership attacks, their potential coercive and deterrent value, and the possible unintended consequences of their ill-considered use. The book concludes that direct attacks, coups, and rebellions have met with only limited success and, even when successful, have sometimes yielded counterproductive results. Moreover, neither direct attacks nor coups have been of significant coercive or deterrent value, although rebellions have at times provided useful negotiating leverage. By contrast, external invasions have proved to be more efficacious both in shaping the targeted countries’ policy and behavior and in exerting coercive effects. The book concludes by outlining the likely conditions under which future leadership attacks are likely to be sanctioned and by delineating the prerequisites of effective use of air power in such contexts.
    Report is from March 2001. Events since have simply re-inforced its conclusion re: regime removal (but I'd say sans nation-building).

    BTW: I'm not suggesting that the US get rid of Mugabe. Zimbabwe is outside of the US zone of force projection if I had my druthers.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    BTW: I'm not suggesting that the US get rid of Mugabe.
    Why not? The US put him there... now after a little genocide and the near total destruction of the country they would be obligated to clean up the mess they caused... IMHO.

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    Default Why ?

    Because Zimbabwe is outside the line I'd draw if I had my druthers. Africa's problems are to be solved by Africans (Black and White) - IMHO.

    Obviously, I do not have the "druthers". Your arguments re: US guilt for real or alleged misdeeds or commitments may or may not influence those who do and who are much more global in their Worldviews - whether guilt-ridden liberals or conservatives. I'm neither.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Because Zimbabwe is outside the line I'd draw if I had my druthers. Africa's problems are to be solved by Africans (Black and White) - IMHO.

    Obviously, I do not have the "druthers". Your arguments re: US guilt for real or alleged misdeeds or commitments may or may not influence those who do and who are much more global in their Worldviews - whether guilt-ridden liberals or conservatives. I'm neither.

    Regards

    Mike
    Quite frankly very few people seriously expect the US to do anything about Zimbabwe. Carter/Vance/Young handed the country to Mugabe in 1980 and its been a wonderful democratic paradise every since.

    But before we get too hung up on Zimbabwe spare a thought for Nicaragua. First Carter hands it to the Sandinistas then Reagan interfered via the Contras and now Nicaragua has returned to being yet another South American basket case. Nicaraguans can be forgiven for asking for the real America to please stand up.

  17. #297
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Nah, you're wrong...

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Quite frankly very few people seriously expect the US to do anything about Zimbabwe. Carter/Vance/Young handed the country to Mugabe in 1980 and its been a wonderful democratic paradise every since.

    But before we get too hung up on Zimbabwe spare a thought for Nicaragua. First Carter hands it to the Sandinistas then Reagan interfered via the Contras and now Nicaragua has returned to being yet another South American basket case. Nicaraguans can be forgiven for asking for the real America to please stand up.
    The Nicaraguans aren't nearly as confused about it as you seem to be.

    What you cite is the sometimes startling difference in foreign policies between US Administrations. The Nicaraguans, like most Central Americans, being neighbors and paying attention to that for over a century -- and with memory of US interventions and strange behavior of contrasting administrations in the 20s and 30s -- understand that. They may not like it but they know what it is.

    The rest of the world seemingly does not, as you show...

  18. #298
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Quite frankly very few people seriously expect the US to do anything about Zimbabwe. Carter/Vance/Young handed the country to Mugabe in 1980 and its been a wonderful democratic paradise every since.
    This is probably not appropriate for me to say, but the years I have in that region have left me with a totally different view than most.

    It's never been relevant to me "who" put the Mugabes and Mobutus into typical African-style power because I doubt all those American politicians intended for that Sierra to take place, and, we (those that came and taught them) certainly didn't teach them to rape, pillage and plunder along the way.

    The only thing I have noticed is when the Africans finally take charge and get rid of their dictators do they inevitable prosper. I doubt and certainly don't expect any Western nation to jump in and remove Bob. Even if we did, he would be followed by another and yet another Bob.

    Countries like Zimbabwe and Zaire were capable of feeding and taking care of their people for the next 100 years without importing much more than a cell phone Now we will once again be faced with wide-spread disease and famine, the NGOs will scarf up our money and dump it (there), and there will be some slight semblance of peace til the rice is once again gone.

    I've seen some truly sad cases of political Sierra but I've only seen two clear cases where the people finally said they had "had enough".

    Jeez, get off your Alpha and do something... You are already dying doing nothing while the rice bags arrive
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  19. #299
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    Bob, the LRA, Mai-Mai and group after "the gates of hell are open" group. TIA man, TIA; and I wish there was something we could do but I don't think there is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    I've seen some truly sad cases of political Sierra but I've only seen two clear cases where the people finally said they had "had enough".
    Which two Stan?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

  20. #300
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    Which two Stan?
    Hey Carl,

    Just my .02 cents, but South Africa and Rwanda.

    I don't take into account trade and all that other Sierra that the UN finds significant, because we both know there's tons of stuff to export and steal.

    I would have given the DRC a strong 5th, but seems to me they blew it and hired another dictator and left the FAZ once again in charge.

    Gabon and Cote d'ivoire were among my favorites, but I think the French are holding those two locations together.

    And your selections ?

    Regards, Stan
    If you want to blend in, take the bus

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