• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Obama's Mugabe Problem: Time to Bring Our Ambassador Home

    Like Presidents Clinton and Bush before him, Obama now has a Robert Mugabe problem. Foreign Policy Magazine recently awarded Mugabe, president of failed Zimbabwe, the dubious distinction of being the world’s second worst dictator, finishing just behind North Korea’s  Kim Jong-Il.

    Robert Mugabe is a liberation ‘hero’ in the struggle for independence who has since transformed himself into a murderous despot, Mugabe has arrested and tortured the opposition, squeezed his economy into astounding negative growth and billion-percent inflation, and funneled off a juicy cut for himself using currency manipulation and offshore accounts.

    The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom awards Zimbabwe next to last place in its ranking of nations. George Ayittey of the Free Africa Foundation hits the nail on the head when he describes Mugabe as a “crocodile liberator.”

    Before a group of young African leaders on August 3, President Obama admitted he has a Mugabe problem.

    I’ll be honest with you—I’m heartbroken when I see what’s happened in Zimbabwe. I think Mugabe is an example of a leader who came in as a liberation fighter and—I’m just going to be very blunt—I do not see him serving his people well. And the abuses, the human rights abuses, the violence that’s been perpetrated against opposition leaders I think is terrible.

    Such words are rare for Obama. He does not use them when speaking of other tyrants like Mahmoud Admadinejad, Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez.

    The President voiced frustration with the Mugabe dilemma: “We don’t want to punish the people for the abuses of a leader; on the other hand, we have very little leverage…”

    Obama’s statements follow an ongoing spat in Zimbabwe. On August 2, U.S. Ambassador in Zimbabwe Charles Ray attended the funeral of Mugabe’s sister, an act of diplomatic respect. During his funeral oration, Mugabe launched into political diatribe, as dictators are often inclined to do, telling Western nations they should “go to hell.”

    Ambassador Ray and others envoys left the ceremony.

    Zimbabwe’s top diplomat  Simbarashe Mumbengegwi called their behavior “unacceptable” and demanded an apology. “Their conduct was clearly very disrespectful of our national shrine, Zimbabwe, its leaders, its fallen heroes and its people.”

    Ambassador Ray posted an ambiguous blog, calling for forgiving and healing. It is unclear whether he is begging forgiveness from Mugabe or calling on Mugabe to forgive the West.

    Our ambassador is Obama’s personal representative to Mugabe. So when Obama in polite words denounces Mugabe as a tyrant and Mugabe insults our Ambassador, it is time to bring the Ambassador back from Harare.


    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Obama's Mugabe Problem: Time to Bring Our Ambassador Home

    1. Dennis Georgia says:

      It will not be long before oabma is spouting praise for his stance in the whole mess. It is hard for one dictator to bad mouth another. Our dictator is gaing power and controll.

    2. Yosi, Hutchinson, KS says:

      It makes you long for the good ole' days of Ian Smith and Company, doesn't it? I know…white rule, "maningis," mercenaries, and all that… Nonetheless, the white government and the '79-'80 government (not majority white) were civilized while Comrade Bob is not. The Rhodesian SAS, RLI, and RAR killed Communists like it was free in that war but the politicians wouldn't support the good guys. Now look at the mess and tell me it's better.

    3. Spiritof76, NH says:

      Mugabe Jr. doesn't like Mugabe.Sr! Come on, one dictator to another.

      Let me be blunt, to use Obama's own words: The only reason that Obama is disturbed by Mugabe is because he is harming the black Africans. He wouldn't care a whit if they were whites or other ethnic people. Obama only condememned Al Queda when they killed black Africans in Uganda. This man is a racist. Read what he wrote in his "Dreams of my Father" about white people's greed drives world in need.

    4. Julia says:

      Seems to me that Obama would like to BE Mugabe. He's learning fast and America is going to fall very hard when they see where his true alliances lie. Anyone on the fence about this fact should start by simply reading the books he has had ghost written for him. Start with "Dreams of My Father."

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.