Stephen Glover has jumped on the "we must do something about Zimbabwe" band wagon with this article in the Daily Mail. It contains a lot of the usual stuff about how Zimbabwe is a better cause than Afghanistan and how we somehow have a responsibility for Zimbabwe.
I have never visited Afghanistan, but I know Zimbabwe well. When I first went there, in 1978, it was in the throes of a civil war. Nonetheless, it was, by African standards, extremely prosperous. There was no starvation. In fact, it exported crops such as maize and tobacco.
It was indeed prosperous by African standards. It was also called Southern Rhodesia, not Zimbabwe. Does that matter? Yes it does. Apart from being prosperous it also had the infrastructure and institutions of a settled nation - the colonial legacy.
Nearly 30 years later, it is one of the poorest places on earth, and probably the most pitiable.
Nearly 30 years later and Rhodesia doesn't exist. In it's place is a socialist totalitarian state called Zimbabwe ruled by a prominent, ruthless Marxist dictator who, 30 years ago, was one of the darlings of the liberal left.
Should we care? Of course I think so. I partly believe this because, until 1980, Zimbabwe was a British colony.
Of course we should care! When thousands of people are in imminent danger of dying from starvation it is only human to care. But, while the land it stands on was once part of a British colony, Zimbabwe never was. If you believe it was then you must also believe that Israel was also a "British colony" - and Gaza. Should we intervene there, too?
Glover's next statement is breathtaking in it's absurdity.
For better or worse, it is our creation.
NO, NO, NO! We did not create Zimbabwe! We created a successful and prosperous nation called Rhodesia. Zimbabwe was the creation of Africans, Marxists and soft left liberals - not of Britain. When BMW build a car which someone buys and then proceeds to smash to pieces is the end result a creation of BMW? Of course not.
What Britain created was a successful nation state - prosperous and functioning with all the institutions and essential infrastructure for it to become a beacon of light in the dark continent. What the Marxists, aided by the complicity of the liberals, then did with that was to systematically ravage that nation with utter disregard for the inhabitants - black or white. From the bread basket of Africa to basket case of Africa in 30 years.
Zimbabwe is the creation of socialism. Not of Britain. It is the creation of black Africans, not white Britons. Glover then outlines his grand plan. A rather familiar grand plan.
My suggestion is not that Britain should single-handedly invade Zimbabwe.
Well, thank goodness for that. We'd struggle to invade the Isle of Wight these days.
Any intervention, though likely to be welcomed by most Zimbabweans, and probably not opposed by the majority of a very disenchanted army, would have to be under a United Nations mandate. It would have to involve other powers, not least among them South Africa, which has hitherto displayed a shamefully indulgent attitude towards Mugabe.
Welcomed by most Zimbabweans - but not by the majority of blacks around the world I would wager. The "disenchanted army" may not like Mugabe, but I expect the vast majority of their commanders do as they have benefited very nicely from his regime - and joining the army is one way of ensuring that you have food and authority in a dump like Zimbabwe. When the options are starvation and helplessness or a full belly and the authority an AK47 gives you I think Mr Glover would be surprised how hard some of these soldiers would fight.
And where the hell is this "United Nations mandate" going to come from? Apart from the obvious fact that it would be opposed by every black nation and group - particularly the African Union - there is the little matter of getting past the Chinese or Russian veto. It's all very well talking glibly about "UN mandates" when you know damn well that it ain't gonna happen.
As for South Africa - without the support of SA over the last 10 years or so, Mugabe would have been long gone. South Africa is where Zimbabwe was 25 years ago. Outwardly everything seems fine, but it is heading the same way as Zimbabwe. It may take a little longer to get there, but make no mistake - in another 20-30 years we'll be looking at South Africa and wondering what we can do to save it.
What has happened to Zimbabwe is truly terrible. But I refuse to join in this self-flagellation and belief that it is somehow the "responsibility" of Britain. It is the creation and responsibility of the liberal left and Africans.
Let them deal with it.