Foreign Policy Blogs

More Quick Hits

I’m back from a week in England and am still absolutely buried with email and work and deadlines. But here are a lot of links on some of the crucial issues facing Africa and Africans:

The online news editor of The Economist is in Zimbabwe trying to get a feel for things there, to stay out of jail, and to report what he sees from a “Correspondent's Diary”-cum-Blog called “Robert Mugabe, Man Or Monster?” Meanwhile, it probably should come as no surprise that Mugabe is “not losing sleep” over the prospect of western universities stripping him of honorary degrees they thrust upon him in a bygone era. I should think not.

Nigeria's presidential election was a nightmare just as were the local and state elections that preceded it. As expected, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Governor of Katsina State, the winner of last Saturday's presidential election. Equally predictably, international observers scoff at the credibility of the polls, the opposition parties continue to press for protests and resistance, and The New York Times similarly laments the recent farce, though it is tough to discern what real “democratic legacy” they find in Nigeria's history. J. Peter Pham had an astute pre-election assessment in the World Defense Review (courtesy of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, for which I have been a fellow).

World Politics Watch shows how the April 11 terrorist bombings in Algiers fit into al Qaeda's larger global plan. Of course the implication of the article is that the real concern is the potential for future attacks in Europe, which reveals a remarkable willingness to pass off African suffering as of secondary significance. Maybe someone should , say, the Somalians that their suffering only serves as a prelude to something more important. 

Closer to the putative focus of this blog (I’ve said all along that while my focus would be South Africa, I would try to place the country within its larger continental context) the Proteas advanced to the semi-final round of the cricket World Cup, but unfortunately barring some sort of miracle, the South Africans, who put up a pathetic 149 all out , their worst total ever in a World Cup and every bit as embarrassing as what they did to England last week, the Aussies are likely to reach the necessary 150 by somewhere around the 25th over. We should know soon enough. As I type this the Aussie juggernaut is at 27-1. South Africans should probably start to turn their attentions toward Amabokkobokko.

It doesn't all have to be grim, though. Just imagine yourself isolated from it all, travelling along the Skeleton Coast, free of the cares of the world. There the bad news fades amidst the splendour of Africa.