The International Crisis Group calls on the friends of Zimbabwe to take a range of steps now, in the last days before the presidential election, in order to maximise the possibility that democracy can succeed and the country be spared from a crisis that risks sparking widespread domestic unrest and regional instability.
Until very recently, war between states seemed a much less real threat than internal conflict. Interstate conflict had become rare and seemed likely to remain so. The ideology that saw virtue and nobility in war had all but disappeared in advanced countries.
Until terrorism overwhelmed international attention after 11 September 2001, the really big issue in international relations - the one that must have launched a thousand Ph.Ds - was the ��right of humanitarian intervention� - the question of when, if ever, it is appropriate for states to take coercive action, and in particular coercive military action, against another state for the purpose of protecting people at risk in that other state.
When it comes to conducting international affairs, there�s much to be said for being a congenital optimist. If you believe instinctively that all problems have solutions, it encourages you to go out and find them. If you believe that the world is not necessarily condemned to go on repeating the mistakes of the past, it encourages you to find better ways of doing things. And if you believe that human nature is, if not perfectible, at least improvable , it encourages you to not rule out dealing with those whose past behaviour has been indefensible.
More or less at the same time as President George W. Bush was announcing his list of countries belonging to an "Axis of Evil," his counterpart in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe, was issuing his own "Axis of the Unwelcome." On it were EU members whose citizens could not go to the southern African country to monitor presidential elections to be held March 9 and 10.