The Left simply went orgasmic when western sanctions toppled Ian Smith and the white settlers that ran Rhodesia. For over thirty years they have been making excuses for African incompetence, blaming the residual white legacy, but slowly and inexorably the all new wonderful Zimbabwe rotted into just another African cesspool. Whites were killed and property expropriated by the use of a new and pure and excusable black thuggery.
Now, even the most ardent liberals are having doubts, and they should. It will not be too long before South Africa will follow the trek to the sewer.
If you thought the call for American intervention has past the scene, well you were wrong.
Will America deliver the final shove that topples Mugabe?
By Con Coughlin The Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 23/03/2007
When Steve Biko, the charismatic South African Black Consciousness leader, died naked and manacled in a fetid prison cell in Pretoria in 1977, his brutal demise ultimately sounded the knell for apartheid.
Those countries, such as Britain and America, that had continued to maintain relations with the South African regime realised that the Vorster government had gone too far; David Owen, the then Labour foreign secretary, led the chorus of international protests, attending a memorial service held in Biko's honour in London, and making Britain's distaste for Biko's death at the hands of the security forces publicly known.
The resulting international isolation of South Africa as a consequence of that single incident led to the collapse of apartheid a decade later and the takeover of the country by Nelson Mandela's ANC.
There is an important parallel to be drawn between the impact Biko's death had on South Africa, and the implications of the brutal treatment recently meted out to Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Just as Biko's death led to the collapse of apartheid, the latest abuse of power by Zimbabwe's equally malevolent security forces may prove to be a similar tipping point in the removal of Robert Mugabe's dictatorship.
Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, appears to have survived the violent assault he suffered at Harare's central police station following his detention for participating in an anti-government protest. Like Biko, Tsvangira suffered severe head injuries - a fractured skull. Unlike Biko, who was left naked and chained to a grille on the prison cell floor, the prompt intervention of Tsvangirai's lawyers meant he received emergency hospital treatment.
Even so, the damage inflicted on Chairman Bob's Marxist dictatorship by this single act of state brutality may well prove decisive. For the 27 years that he has presided over the slow ruination of his country, Mugabe has managed to cling to office despite being responsible for some of the worst outrages seen in the recent history of that benighted continent. He escaped any meaningful censure when he launched his genocidal campaign against Joshua Nkomo's Ndebele tribe in the late 1980s, when his North Korean-trained troops massacred upwards of 20,000 innocent civilians in Matabeleland.
Not even the racist campaign that Mugabe launched to evict thousands of white farmers from land that their families had owned and farmed for generations succeeded in mobilising international opinion. Zimbabwe was finally expelled from the Commonwealth in 2003, but only after years of wrangling in which the majority of the member states argued that Mugabe's misdemeanours did not merit punitive action. It is only now that people are seriously questioning Mugabe's ability to cling on to office.
The most trenchant criticism of his latest excess has come from America, which in itself is surprising, given that Africa's unpleasant little local difficulties have been low down the pecking order of Washington's priorities. But now the Bush Administration seems determined to apply as much pressure as possible against Mugabe, in the hope that it can succeed in achieving its ultimate goal of effecting regime change in Harare.
This would explain the strength of the comments on the current crisis made this week by Christopher Dell, Washington's ambassador to Zimbabwe, who has been a thorn in the side of the government with his criticism of Mugabe's almost wilful destruction of what was once one of Africa's most thriving economies, and the ageing dictator's total disregard for the rule of law.
Zimbabweans were "losing their fear", said Mr Dell, and there were signs of mounting discontent within the ruling Zanu-PF party at the country's increasingly parlous economic plight - inflation is expected to hit 4,000 per cent by the end of this year. "What I think we have seen in the past week is that people have turned a corner," he said. "They're not afraid any more."
So why is American influence rising in Africa? Partly it is the result of the woeful lack of leadership the British Government has provided in curbing Mugabe's wilder excesses. As the former colonial power and the architect of the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement that gave Zimbabwe independence, Britain is well-placed to take the lead in reminding Mugabe of his obligations both to the people of Zimbabwe and to the outside world.
Even the South Africans, decidedly reticent about openly criticising a former comrade from the liberation struggle, had condemned Mugabe's latest excesses before Tony Blair and Margaret Beckett, his anonymous Foreign Secretary, were moved to do so. South Africa, it seems, has finally woken up to the fact that Mugabe's regime is in danger of spiralling out of control, with the disastrous implications for the wider region. But they, too, have been a great disappointment in dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis.
Pretoria nurtures pretensions of becoming the region's dominant power, but Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, has studiously avoided taking any position that could be deemed hostile to Harare. When the ANC did finally pluck up the courage to speak out, its muted criticism was hardly likely to have Mugabe quaking in his boots. Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign minister and a veteran of the liberation struggle, simply called on Harare to respect the rule of law and the rights of all political parties. Ouch!
South Africa has badly let down the Bush Administration, which at one point believed Pretoria would be pro-active in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis. President George W. Bush said as much when he invited Mr Mbeki to the White House in 2005 and described him as his "point man" in southern Africa.
But the South Africans have failed to deliver, and with Mugabe threatening to run for another term of office, it falls - once again - on Washington to provide the muscular leadership that is necessary to deal with deranged dictators.