Sunday, 13 July 2008

Spot the difference

The other day, Gordon Brown hinted (1) about possible military intervention in Nigeria, to help end the sufferring of the Nigerian people maximise Nigerian oil supply because Britain's economic growth - and hence Mr Briown's electability - is being weakened by high oil prices (1).

Contrast this with the situation in Zimbabwe. Yesterday, the UN failed to vote to sanction Mugabe and his henchmen (2). This was large due to Russia and China's noble defence of a country's right to conduct their own internal affairs discomfort at the idea of their own brutality toward dissidents leading to them facing similar condemnation. The fact that China is the second largest trading partner of Zimbabwe (after South Africa, who also opposed sanctions) had nothing to do with it, either (3).

The British response? Hand wringing and a few words about what a shame it all was:

The British ambassador said the Security Council had fallen down in its duty to defend the democratic rights of ordinary Zimbabweans. Sir John Sawers said: "The people of Zimbabwe need to be given hope that there is an end in sight to their suffering. The Security Council today has failed to offer them that hope."

The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, said: "I am very disappointed that the UN Security Council should have failed to pass a strong and clear resolution on Zimbabwe. In particular, it will appear incomprehensible to the people of Zimbabwe that Russia, which committed itself at the G8 only a few days ago to take further steps including introducing financial and other sanctions, should today stand in the way of timely and decisive security council action. Nor will they understand the Chinese vote.

"The UN still has a key role to play in supporting African efforts to bring an end to this crisis, and we will continue to press for the appointment of a UN envoy." (4)

I am certain, of course, that the different approaches has nothing to do with the fact that Nigeria is a major oil producer, whereas any intervention in Zimbabwe would offer no economic reward? Surely, such base considerations would not enter into the heads of our leaders?
1 - As described previously on lefthandpalm:
2 - 'China and Russia veto UN sanctions on Mugabe,' by Leonard Doyle in The INdependent, 12th of July, 2008. (
3 - China is now "the second largest trade partner of Zimbabwe, after South Africa, and China is also the biggest tobacco buyer from Zimbabwe, with the total trade volume between the two countries reaching 275 million U.S. dollars in 2006, while a few years ago, China was not even among the top ten trade partners of Zimbabwe, according to the Chinese ambassador" according to an unattributed article, 'Sino-Zimbabwe cooperation enters brand-new stage,' in The People's Daily Online, 19th of April, 2007. (
4 - Doyle, op. cit.

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