I’ve been thinking a lot about Burma and Zimbabwe. Here you have two of the most oppressive, self-aggrandizing governments in the world and neither the U.S. not the United Nations appears to be able to do anything to really change the situation. The problems of rogue governments seems to resist even the most multilateral sorts of intervention. The resistance is a mixture of regional pride mixed with fear of U.S. meddling. Once America had a reputation for multilateral cooperation, but that perished with the promulgation of the Bush Doctrine of unilateral intervention. In Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s thugs control the streets while South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki resists U.S. pressure based on the principal of regional sovereignty. In Burma, The Generals refuse to let western aid workers into the country, again on the principal of regional sovereignty.
Perhaps it is time for a new era of regional alliances in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Mid East and the Americas to deal with Kleptocracies? What if we went to China, Japan, Singapore and Korea and said “we’re willing to provide you with aid for Burma, but only with your willingness to deal with a rogue regime at the regional level?” We could say the same to the South Africans. “Mugabe is your problem. Here is some assistance. Deal with it.”