Category Archives: Anglosphere

In Africa, You Oust A Tyrant, But Not Tyranny


By ilana mercer

READERS were angry. I had rained on their parade by venturing that the appointment of a new party boss to head South-Africa’s dominant party was an insignificant game of musical chairs.

But perhaps it is I who should have been annoyed. Nobody with a modicum of cerebral agility should see in the new South-African Strong Man, union boss-cum-tycoon Cyril Ramaphosa, a significant change of the guard.

Surely by now it should be common knowledge that in Africa, you replace a despot, but not despotism; you oust a tyrant, but not tyranny?

There’s a reason Ramaphosa riles crowds at a South African Communist Party rally just as easily as he excites the head of Goldman Sachs’s South Africa office. (For a clue, ask yourselves how a union boss becomes a tycoon.)

In the tradition of dimming debate, the chattering class has reduced systemic corruption in South Africa and near collapse in Zimbabwe, respectively, to the shenanigans of two men: Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe.

Emblematic of this is a thematically confused  article in The Economist, offering a description of the dynamics set in motion by the Zuma dynasty’s capture of the state.

At first, the magazine explains the concept of “state capture” as “private actors [having] subverted the state to steal public money.”

Later, the concept is more candidly refined: “The nub of the state capture argument is that Mr. Zuma and his friends are putting state-owned enterprises and other governmental institutions in the hands of people who are allowing them to loot public funds.”

Indeed. Corruption invariably flows from state to society.

And, “state capture” is quite common across Africa, even if “unfamiliar elsewhere in the world,” which is all the “context” The Economist is willing to provide.

“To avoid a dire, two-decade dynasty of dysfunction, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress should ditch the Zumas,” the magazine concludes.

That’s it? If only.

The Corruption of South Africa,” courtesy of The Economist, hurtles between being an excellent exposé, yet providing nothing more than reportorial reductionism.

Continental context, if you will, is essential if one is to shed light on the “Dark Continent.”

To wit, elections across Africa have traditionally followed a familiar pattern: Radical black nationalist movements like the ANC take power everywhere, then elections cease. “One man, one vote, one time,” to quote the book, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Or, if they take place, as they do in South Africa, they’re rigged, in a manner.

For a prerequisite for a half-decent liberal democracy is that majority and minority status be interchangeable and fluid, and that a ruling majority party (the ANC) be as likely to become a minority party as the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). In South Africa, however, the majority and the minorities are politically permanent, not temporary, and voting along racial lines is the rule.

So, as the dictator Mugabe hung on to power for dear life, reasonable people were being persuaded by the pulp and pixel press that if not for this one megalomaniac, freedom would have flourished in Zimbabwe, as it has, presumably, in Angola, Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and the rest of strife-torn Africa south of the Sahara.

Reasonable people are also expected to infer from permissible analysis that now that Mugabe has been dislodged, his successor will not deign to commandeer the state’s security forces to subdue his opposition as his predecessor had done.

The pundit peanut gallery’s latest imperfect messiah in Zimbabwe is Emmerson Mnangagwa. His rickety political plank will promise indubitably what the majority of Zimbabweans want, including “equitable” land reform. A euphemism for land distribution in the Mugabe mold, this concept is anathema to private property rights.

Does Mnangagwa grasp that his country is bankrupt and that, unlike the mighty USA, Zimbabwe has no line of credit? Or that, as the great American writer Henry Hazlitt put it, “Government has nothing to give to anybody that it doesn’t first take from somebody else.” Or, that there are precious few left in Zimbabwe from whom to take?

The shortages and queues, courtesy of communism, exist in Zimbabwe as they did in the Soviet Union. Jokes from Hammer & Tickle, a book of black humor under Red rule, are not out of place in Zimbabwe:

“The problem of queues will be solved when we reach full Communism. How come? There will be nothing left to queue up for.”

Contrary to convictions in the West, any improvement experienced subsequent to the dethroning of the dictator Mugabe will be due to the West’s renewed investment in Zimbabwe and not to the changing of the guard.

For even if Mr. Mnangagwa proves no dictator-in-waiting, there is nothing in his political platform to indicate he will not continue to rob Peter to pay Paul until there is nobody left to rob.

Seemingly absent from the repertoire of both Mr. Mnangagwa and Ramaphosa is an understanding that only the rule of law and the protection of individual liberties, especially private property rights—for wealth-creating whites as well—can begin to reduce the dizzying scale of the two countries’ problems. Without these building blocks and bulwarks of prosperity and peace—Zimbabwe and South Africa cannot be rehabilitated.

The seductive narrative about the ANC’s new boss, Cyril Ramaphosa, gets this much right: There is nothing new about the meaningless game of musical chairs enacted throughout Africa like clockwork. The Big Man is overthrown or demoted; another Alpha Male jockeys his way into his predecessor’s position and asserts his primacy over the people and their property.

Mobutu Sese Seko ruled Zaïre ruthlessly, only to be overthrown by Laurent Kabila. Under Kabila nothing changed except Zaïre’s name; it became the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Sandwiched between Nigeria’s Strongman Sani Abacha and Olusegun Obasanjo was one more general. Then military rule was abolished and Umaru Yar’Adua elected. Yar’Adua died in May 2010. Two others have come and one has gone since, but ethnic violence continues unabated; instead of extracting oil from the earth, Nigeria’s factions quarrel and kill over crude.

Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki was opposed by one Raila Odinga. The latter is of the Kalenjin clan; the former of the Kikuyu. Even in one of Africa’s success stories it all comes down to tribal rivalries. A coalition was finally formed after Kenyan blood was spilled, and public office was soon being scavenged by two thieves and their gangs, instead of one. Last I checked, Uhuru Kenyatta had risen to rule, and Raila Odinga, the more progressive-minded Kenyan, had been locked out in an election declared invalid by the Kenyan Supreme Court.

The legendary Kenneth Kaunda oversaw the transition from a one-party state to the multi-party Zambia. But once the new Big Man on the block, Frederick Chiluba, was faced with an election, he banned the opposition parties—and Kaunda.

In Côte D’Ivoire, stability ended with Félix Houphouët-Boigny’s reign, after which a succession of leaders has consolidated power by siccing Christians onto Muslims.

While General Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, has allowed some traditional institutions to make a comeback, he conducts massacres against the aspiring kingdom of the Bakonzo, in the West. In league with Rwandans, Museveni preys on the Congolese. Another Homie who has pride of place in Uganda is Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA is in the business of … butchering and enslaving its countrymen.

The reputation of the Janjaweed militia of Sudan precedes it. Epic as well is the corruption that has been visited upon Angolans by their gilded elites. A new president has finally usurped José Eduardo dos Santos, after his 38 years in power. The new guy is busy … driving out “his predecessor’s clan,” and ensconcing his own.

Good news came when Zambians, under leader Rupiah Bwezani Banda, were no longer dying in large numbers through ethnic clashes. The bad news was that they began dying in large numbers from hunger, instead.

“Even when regimes have changed hands, new governments, whatever promises they made on arrival, have lost little time in adopting the habits of their predecessors,” observed historian Martin Meredith, in The State of Africa (2005).

One can only hope that Zimbabwe’s new leader measures up to Zambia’s relatively, and commendably, benign Levy Mwanawasa, Banda’s predecessor, who died in 2008.

Of the forty-four countries of sub-Saharan Africa, The Economist’s democracy index lists twenty-three as authoritarian and thirteen as hybrids. Only seven, including South Africa, hold notionally free elections. Only two, South Africa and Botswana, did Meredith single out as relatively well-managed African democracies. And that was back in 2005!

Propounded by Duke University scholar Donald L. Horowitz, the arguments against democracy for South Africa, in particular, have considerable force. Finely attuned to “important currents in South African thought,” Horowitz offered up an excruciatingly detailed analysis of South Africa’s constitutional options.

In A Democratic South Africa?: Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society (1991), Horowitz concluded that democracy is, in general, unusual in Africa, and, in particular, rare in ethnically and racially divided societies, where majorities and minorities are rigidly predetermined (also the dispensation presently being cultivated by craven American elites).

Prone to seeing faces in the clouds, the West, however, sees Sideshow Bob Mugabe’s epic villainy and Jacob Zuma’s confederacy of state-capturing knaves as nothing but a detail of history.

Lost in the din is the historically predictable pattern. Chaotic countries are hardly an anomaly in the annals of Africa south of the Sahara.

 

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & YouTube.

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Niger: Finally, A War John McCain Doesn’t Love


By ilana mercer

News first broke about America’s Niger misadventure on October 4. “The real news here is that the US has forces in Niger, where they’re conducting covert operations,” this writer tweeted out. “Hashtag America First.”

Official media ignored the ambush of the American Special Forces, until the story gained anti-Trump traction. No word came from John McCain. Three weeks hence, the senator from Arizona is making history. McCain, who has never encountered a war he wasn’t eager to prosecute, is questioning the folly in Niger.

The senator from Arizona can run but can’t hide from the pollution he has left along his political path. Republicans wisely rejected war in Kosovo; McCain jettisoned party loyalty to call for bombs from above and “more boots on the ground.” At the prospects of war with Iran, McCain burst into song, “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran.” The possibility still makes this war ghoul smile. Before that, McCain promised a 100-year war in Iraq.

Senator McCain’s jingoism has encompassed Syria, Georgia, Mali, Nigeria, and China. Where the US could not effect regime change, as it did fecklessly in Afghanistan and Libya—McCain would typically call to side with an imagined local “friend of America” against an imagined “foe of America.” McCain has many imaginary friends.

Where his target country was beyond US bullying (Russia), the idea of the resumption of a cold war was an option McCain liked. He is currently fulminating over a slight delay in sanctions against Russia. When all efforts to tame the world militarily fail, McCain is partial to the idea of UN troops acting as his surrogates, say in Sudan.

No war makes Johnny a sad boy. But now he’s considering a subpoena over Niger.

GLOBAL CENTRALIZER

Playing out in Niger are the permanently entrenched, unchanging, American foreign-policy interests. Keen observers will detect a familiar pattern. Once again, the American bias everywhere is toward a powerful, overweening central state. This conceit has put our forces on a collision course with the tribal interests America toils to tame.

Indeed, US foreign policy often flouts local authority. It certainly disavows separatists and generally discourages any meaningful devolution of power. Born of a loose confederation of independent states, America now stands for the strong centralized state. Our interchangeable leaders strive to see the same in the tribal lands of the Middle East and Africa.

MEDDLING IN YEMEN’S CIVIL WAR

In Yemen, America is working to impose a central authority on “bickering sheikdoms.” In the South alone, Yemen has 14 such principalities. Southern secessionists are at war with the north, have been for at least 139 years. There, “even the bottled water,” notes the Economist, “is called ‘South.'” There’s no such thing as a united Yemen. Never was.

Into this fray, the US has waded. So stupid and dangerous is our foreign-policy colossus that it imagines America is fighting al-Qaida by backing the Saudi-led coalition to vanquish northern Houthi rebels. The northern Houthi rebels, however, clearly wear many hats. More so than the invading coalition, the rebels are of the community and often for the community.

As America’s Emirati partners in Yemen are realizing, “Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s.”

Would that the Empire’s military would confine itself to that constitutional mandate: fight for home and hearth and no more. Alas, our soldiers have been propagandized to conflate fighting for American freedom with fights in Niger, Burkina Faso (yeah, I know) and Mali.

Ultimately, all the spots America chooses to mess with are too complex for the prosaic American mind to grasp, for we are schooled to see societies unlike our own through a Disneyfied, angels-and-demons prism.

More so than the Middle East, Africa is riven by tribal interests and dynamics. These, McCain or CENTCOM (the United States Central Command) have no hope of understanding, because they’re wedded to the idea that their own home (America) is nothing more than an idea, and never a community of flesh-and-blood people with a shared, treasured patrimony.

AND NOW, NIGER

To their credit, Africans’ fealty is not to deracinated political propositions—democracy, human rights, gay marriage, and communal bathrooms—but to each other. They will kill for clan and kin. (And they kill each other, too.)

Niger is no different. You’re told that the Americans and the French are empowering the local forces of Niger against the mythical ISIS. Poppycock. This is never the case. In Africa, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, the conflicts are regional, tribal, old, if not ancient.

Tongo-Tongo, the Niger village that ambushed our unsuspecting Green Berets, had not been “infiltrated” by hostile forces; that’s the take of Niger’s central government, itself a very recent development. If past is prologue, it’s fair to assume that the Niger government is vested in developing as a French and American client state with all the attendant perks.

Villagers have likely learned not to wait for any trickle-down from the state. The Tongo-Tongo villagers enticed our forces to mill about, giving their homie militant benefactors just enough time to set up an ambush in a kill zone.

Imagine! Locals don’t particularly relish a visit from the American and French patrolmen and their Nigerien puppets.

Again, Niger is heavily dependent on bribes from the West (foreign aid, we call it). We reward Niamey (the capital) to play war games with us. This is another case of an Islamic, if multi-ethnic, tribal land, whose people don’t want Americans there. (And even if the people of the region wanted us there, America has no business being there. Deplorables voted against the concept of making Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali great again.)

So, if John McCain’s hatred of President Trump has driven America’s most ardent warmonger to question the American intervention in Niger—that’s a good thing.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

WHY LIBERTARIANS AND TRADITIONALISTS ARE NATURAL ALLIES


Why Libertarians and Traditionalists are Natural Allies
Christian Robitaille

A version of this article appeared in French in January 2016 (Contrepoints.org).

christianIn this article, I will identify the reasons why it is essential to build a solid alliance between libertarians and traditionalists.[1] As a libertarian, it appears to me that it is now of utmost importance to insist on a strict separation between libertarianism and various ideologies that are increasingly plaguing the libertarian movement. Indeed, when one notices the feminist, queer, relativistic, and hippie excesses characterising the cultural leftist turn of the libertarian movement, one realises that it is not without utility to remind libertarians of some traditionalist implications of an application of the libertarian doctrine to Western societies. It is also appropriate to remind traditionalists that the State is not a good tool in order to implement and maintain a traditional social order. Although few libertarians, to my knowledge, have formulated such analyses in French, it is important to indicate that the ideas that follow have already been expressed in English by various writers. Given the current state of the libertarian movement, however, restating these ideas is not, I believe, a useless endeavour. Read more

Viva Obama – Reply to Sean Gabb


Tormod

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Americans hate England or even that an adversarial stance toward England is necessitated by our sense of national identity. The official propaganda doesn’t like to touch on the American War of Independence very often, as the justifications given for that war were comparatively very minor grievances to those with which we are presently living. Consequently, they mostly ignore the subject altogether. Read more

Viva Obama (Reloaded)


Viva Obama! A View from the English Right
By Sean Gabb
Published in TakiMag
November 2012

Note: Since I am not an American, I have no right to feel disappointed by Mr Trump’s apparent pulling off his mask to show the usual neo-conservative skull beneath. I am disappointed, even so. I therefore offer some rather old thoughts on Mr Obama. They are sharply-expressed, but may turn out to contain less wishful-thinking than anything else I have written about American affairs. SIG Read more

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