Saturday, April 26, 2008

Focus On The Cradle

It seems silly to think that, in this time of minor turbulence here in America, as two perfectly qualified people duke it out for the chance to run against another perfectly qualified man for the most powerful office in the nation, if no longer the world, we forget there's a far larger and more complex world out there.

Case in point: Zimbabwe. In what could be a preview of our own November, Zimbabwe's recent election results indicated that a thuggish regime, that of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, lost its hold on parliament to the Movement For A Democratic Change.

Mugabe would not be much of a thug if he just accepted those results and turned the reins of power over (which is where comparisons to America pop up, by the way). Further, preliminary results seem to indicate, altho there is no official word, that Mugabe himself has been voted out of the office of president.

A recount was called for, in due course, if only for appearances sake, the electoral commission agreed to do so. So far, 190-odd elections have been officially recounted and 190-odd results remain unchanged.

Now, if this was just a simple election dispute, no problem, right? After all, in the grand scheme of things, Zimbabwe is another landlocked country, borderded by South Africa (which to its credit has taken the lead in beating the drum for international attention), Boswana, Mozambique, and Zambia.

The story does have some intriguing aspects to it, not least of which is an unexpected wedge: China.
Angola's government has authorised a Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe to dock, although it says it will not be allowed to unload weapons.

In a statement, the government said the vessel would only be allowed to deliver goods intended for Angola.

On Thursday, the Chinese authorities said they would recall the ship to China after port workers in South Africa refused to unload the weapons.

Other southern African countries had also refused to allow the ship to dock.

Leaders in the region had expressed concern that the weapons could heighten tensions in Zimbabwe.
Basically, this ship swung around the South African cape, looking for a place to dock like a drunken sailor looking for an open bathroom.

Angola is China's second largest oil provider.

You can do the math, I assume. There's no way those weapons aren't being off-loaded in Angola. And yes, war is not out of the question. We are talking about Mugabe here...

Africa is a rich oil producing region, in particular Nigeria (as you probably know), but it seems the western coast of the continent has fairly robust oil reserves: Angola, Ghana, the DR Congo, all have discovered some oil reserves that they are hurrying to exploit.

Naturally, China has seized an opportunity that we in our infinite stupidity, declined to pursue.

Because, you know, it's all about the Sauds.