A Contrast

by zunguzungu

On Egypt, this morning:

“We pray that the violence in Egypt will end and that the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized and that a better day will dawn over Egypt and throughout the world.”

On Zimbabwe, last march:

The United States has imposed travel sanctions and a freeze on the financial assets of Mugabe, his family and closest political aides; a freeze on all nonhumanitarian government-to-government aid; and a freeze on any transfer of defense-related items and services to protest a disputed presidential election and human rights abuses by Mugabe’s government, the White House said in a message to Congress March 1. The European Union has also imposed sanctions on the country.

“I am continuing for one year the national emergency with respect to the actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions,” Obama said. “The crisis constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes or institutions has not been resolved,” Obama said.

Former President George W. Bush imposed the original sanctions with the declaration of a national emergency in 2003, saying that the actions by the Mugabe regime had “contributed to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe.” There are no trade sanctions against Zimbabwe and the country does not qualify to participate in the U.S.-sponsored African Growth and Opportunity Act because of poor economic management and human rights abuses.

I’m not saying the situations are exactly identical; they’re not. But Zimbabwe gives us an example of what the US and EU can do when they decide they want to punish country for “undermin[ing] democratic processes or institutions.” Not to mention that the real issue here is American military aid, as well as all sorts of other strategic agreements and entanglements. But if all of this is not now on the table, why isn’t it? We should be honest about why the US is only against certain kinds of dictators.