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African Politics and International Interests: The Compounding of History, Economics, and International Policies

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The situation in Zimbabwe is the result of political issues that have been compounding in not only Zimbabwe, but also in many other African nations. There are underlying issues that are not being addressed when NGOs, government officials, and international monetary lenders enter the African continent: Is there a genuine interest in establishing independent and African nations? Are policies implemented in a manner that empowers Africans to embrace an entrepreneurial and leadership spirit about their own countries? Do we as the industrialized world help Africans be true to their culture or do we impose our definitions of morality and regulations in order to maintain an international hierarchy, even when we pick and choose when to follow our own rules? Are there still hints of Manifest Destiny and colonization in our aims? Are we truly treating others as human beings or as profitable and expendable commodities? Do we see Africans as Africans, North Koreans as North Koreans, Iranians as Iranians, or do we see them as an extensive group of people who need to become American buttresses?

It is not only the African continent that sees our hypocrisy in diplomacy, but this is becoming an issue when we have meetings with government officials in the Middle East and in Asia. Many citizens of other countries know our diplomatic and political strategies better than we, the industrialized world, do! The U.S. is viewed by many government officials through the lenses of past economic exploitation. Thus, when the U.S. or countries from the E. U. drop off medical supplies from pharmaceutical companies that are based in the E. U. or the U.S. to African nations, they may save lives, but it doesn't change the overall trajectory of African lives. A Rwandan may receive AZT to help stabilize their T-cell count and diminish the development of AIDS, but he or she will still die in a few years with economic instability and internal conflict issues plaguing their Rwanda. The pharmaceutical company will still be in business and it will receive revenues from profits made based on policies that are not addressing why so many Africans are suffering.

There is a history of exploitation that has ravaged the African continent, and it has left the country with post traumatic-like systems of instability, internal conflict, and dependence on aid that exists today. Slavery is not in the past. There are still women and children who are being exploited, forced to join militias or perform sexual acts involuntarily. Men are sorting diamonds for wages that are extremely low; they can't even be called wages because there is no legitimate contracting services between a Sierra Leonean miner and those who sell the diamonds. The Department of Labor would not tolerate these practices here in the U.S., but since an African miner does not have the means, the possibility, or the wealth to receive legal aid to litigate these awful labor practices, he must wait on a NGO or some celebrities to bring light to his plight and hope that their voice will be heard. Imagine not being able to receive due justice by your own means. Imagine that the only time you can get things done is when someone from another country speaks on your behalf about your issues. No industrialized nation should stop NGO work, but we, the industrialized world, must help African nations establish their nations so their voices will be heard and they will have political clout when engaging other countries in every international arena.

Our policies in Iraq are undermining our political clout in other countries such as Iran and North Korea because our hypocrisy is blatant in regards to the mission that was presented to the world and what has become of Iraq. The government of Myanmar shows the Western world resistance because it fears experiencing a coup d'etat, which has become our diplomatic policy of choice when dealing with governments that don't cooperate with our desires in their country. Look at the history of Haiti, many South American, Asian, and African countries! Governments of many nations who are denied the right to develop nuclear technology independently challenge us with emboldened statements from their leaders because it is hypocritical for nations with nuclear proliferation programs to establish sanctions against countries developing their own.

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We need to use diplomacy in a way that invites other nations to empower themselves and engages them as neighbors instead of opposing strangers. We, the Western nations, are losing our political and economic power and stability because we are allowing a vast portion of the world to remain impoverished, feeling powerless.

It is never right to condone the practices of intimidation, manipulation, or exploitation, as has been demonstrated in the Zimbabwean elections, North Korean usage of Anne Frank's Diary for political propaganda, or Iranian oil-backed avoidance of nuclear policy compliance, but there are always causes for effects, and we, the industrialized world, must look for and understand that there are answers to diplomatic problems.  People like Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank is a great example of understanding the problem and finding an answer to it. The article on the http://www.lemonde.fr/ website about his work that has earned him a Nobel Peace Prize was definitely encouraging and inspiring to read. The article was released 11/14/2006.

Check out the Muhammad Yunus website! http://muhammadyunus.org/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/lang,en/
This article is in response to "West condemns Mugabe, ignores other leaders", released today (07/05/2008) by the Associated Press on http://www.msnbc.msn.com/.

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I am a native of Tampa, FL who loves to write, read, and learn new things. I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, and I love swimming, dancing, listening to music, watching sports, and playing sports. I just graduated from USF, and I (more...)
 

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