July Thunder

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Since the recent Russian election of President Medvedev and Vladimir Putin’s shift to the less prominent post of Prime Minister, and even for a while before that, the Russian foreign policy was a question of guessing. There was a widely-held view that Mr Medvedev will take a more submissive course towards the US and the West, and eventually will surrender the positions taken by his mighty predecessor. Provided that Russia is the main hindrance of Bush’s wet dream to take over Iran, this was not a theoretical question, and many observers around the world (including this one) looked with great apprehension at the Russian moves.

The recent developments disabused them. Russia of Medvedev-Putin is even more independent and coherent than the Russia we knew of last year. Transfer of power hanged over like a dark cloud in Russian skies for a very long time, and only now, with July thunder of Russian-Chinese veto over Zimbabwe, it is over. It was preceded by a small warning: Russia demanded to dismantle the Yugoslavia Tribunal, this last vestige of NATO war against the once-independent Balkan state.

This was a richly symbolic demand. Yugoslavia was indeed the arena of a terrible crime, but the crime was not a NATO- invented and Photoshop-produced “genocide”. So many years of the Tribunal operation produced zero proofs, while “mass graves” and “million victims of Bosnian Holocaust” turned out to be a figment of imagination. The crime was the NATO intervention, blockade and bombardment which eventually led to Balkanization of Balkans, and to endless suffering for all its residents. The crime was made possible by Russia’s disappearance from the world arena. After 1991, broken, impoverished, mentally exhausted and spiritually colonised successor states of the USSR became an object rather than subject of international relations.
With this great black hole in stead of the USSR, the West could act freely for the first time since 1920, and it did so by reverting to the colonialist-imperialist policies of Nineteenth Century. Brutal rape of Yugoslavia and the first Bush war on Iraq were the peaks of 1990s.

But the Russian people proved their resilience once again, as they did after the German invasion of 1941. Sobered out of its silly pro-American sentiments by Belgrade bombing, Russia regained its legitimate place in the world. She did not acquiesce in the Anglo-American attack on Iraq, Afghanistan and (now) Iran. She supplies Chavez with weapons. Russian leaders routinely meet with Hamas, the much demonised though democratically elected Palestinian movement. In friendship with China, Russia may yet reshape the world politics.

There is one area, where the 1990s still lingered, and this is Africa. The Black continent is in a terrible shape, and the US-proposed resolution on Zimbabwe would make it even worse, by repeating Somalia.

There is a disaster in Somalia: the US-sponsored Ethiopian invasion has destroyed virtually all the life-sustaining economic systems, Somalis are being starved and a flood of refugees runs freely from South Africa to Sweden. The Ethiopians invaded when Somali just recovered from the previous American intervention under the UN flag, and formed rather stable rule of local autonomous bodies called Islamic Courts. This invasion – and consequent disaster – would not happen without the Security Council resolution.

Salim Lone, a columnist for the Daily Nation in Kenya and a former spokesperson for the UN mission in Iraq, wrote:

“The US pushed through an appalling resolution in December [2007] saying the situation in Somalia was a threat to “international peace and security” and basically gave the green light to Ethiopia to invade. Not much different in text and intent to the current failed attempt by the Bush administration to bulldoze a Security Council resolution on Zimbabwe. Unfortunately for Somalia, neither Russia nor China intervened then, resulting in a blatantly false resolution setting up the country for an American-backed invasion leading to inevitable losses, including displacement of millions.”

This time, Russia and China united in vetoing this resolution, supporting the view of virtually all African and Asian countries, including Zimbabwe’s own neighbour, South Africa. One does not have to be an expert on African affairs to bless this veto. We had enough of neo-colonial interventions since the Gorbachev’s days: Iraq, Panama, Nicaragua, Yugoslavia, Somali, Eritrea, Congo and what not.

This is good that in Zimbabwe, the wave was broken. The principle of sovereignty was upheld. If today the colonial masters will be allowed to ride into Zimbabwe, tomorrow, Iran will follow, and sooner or later, Moscow and Beijing will be besieged. Now we can hope that Russia and China will use their right more often and will block every colonialist attempt to strangulate Iran or squeeze Burma.

For too long time, Russia and China hesitated to use their right of veto; this right was used mainly by the US in the interests of its Middle-Eastern proxy, Israel. Now, the Brits and the Americans are enraged that this right is used by Russia and China. Let them rage, and discover that the world has changed once again, and the lull of opportunity they had since 1990 is over.

What was going in Zimbabwe? In short, a failed “colour revolution”, like those the US and the UK instigated in Ukraine and Georgia and failed to achieve in Burma and Mongolia. Pro-Western forces tried to remove the legitimate President Robert Mugabe. Mugabe won elections like Milosevic in Yugoslavia, or Yanukovich in Ukraine or Hanieh in Palestine, but the West never accepts the elections if unsatisfied with the results.

Stephen Gowans wrote: “At the core of the conflict is a clash of right against right: the right of white settlers to enjoy the stolen land against the right of the original owners to reclaim their land.” This is not exactly correct. This is not White against Black struggle. The white settlers could be a useful and an important element of national economics, but they have made a wrong choice.

Our friend, South African Joh Domingo explained the situation: “There was an opportunity for individual White farmers to utilize their experience and embed themselves into the fabric of African society, but they chose the path of aligning themselves with big agribusiness, and with exploitation of the mineral wealth of Zimbabwe.”

Mirroring the campaigns in Belarus, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Venezuela, reports of electoral bias fills the media. – “The opposition is being starved, they are assaulted, and the elections are rigged”: So goes the refrain. At the same time, progressive groups bemoan their fate, and ask why they cannot champion saints instead of savages. Instead they should ask why all those at odds with the Global superpowers are always savages: Mugabe, Saddam, Milosevic, Aristide, Castro… the list goes on and on.”

The Zimbabwe whites should not ally themselves with the imperialist West, and then certainly their problems, and other local problems will be solved.

Comment – July 14, 2008

While agreeing with Shamir on the wider ramifications of the situation in Zimbabwe, we are not entirely sure that the White farmers had allied themselves with the “imperialist West. If anything they were betrayed by it just as they rebelled against it in the sixties as a Crown Colony.

In fact, many of Zimbabwe’s white farmers have now moved further north to Zambia where they have welcomed for the skills they brought. Indeed, they are now transforming Zambia’s agricultural sector just as their forefathers did in the former Rhodesia.

Israel Shamir

Israel Shamir is a critically acclaimed and respected Russian Israeli writer. He has written extensively and translated Joyce and Homer into Russian. He lives in Jaffa, is a Christian, and an outspoken critic of Israel and Zionism.