- Category: Stories
- Published on Sunday, 15 May 2011 13:10
- Written by Charles Rukuni
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Kagame became the country’s leader in 1994 when his Rwandan Patriotic Front overthrew the government and ended the genocide in the country that had killed hundreds of thousands.
Although he spearheaded reconciliation and the economic growth of the country resulting in his country becoming one of “Africa’s biggest successes” he has largely survived on the grace of the West.
He invaded the Democratic Republic of Congo twice with impunity and is reported to have used Congo’s resources to finance the war.
In an editorial soon after his 2003 election victory, Canada’s Globe and Mail said though Kagame had managed to transform the economy and promoted reconciliation largely because of the large amounts of aid he was getting, Western governments should move beyond genocide-related guilt and begin to measure Kagame by the standards they applied to others.
“They and he need look no further than Zimbabwe, a few borderlines to the south, to see what happens when power goes to a strongman's head,” the paper is quoted as saying in a diplomatic cable just released by Wikileaks. “History will judge Mr. Kagame by his ability to ensure that the poison of ethnic hatred is not supplanted by the vices of one-man rule."
Viewing cable 03OTTAWA2473, MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ; WTO; AFRICA; U.S.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 002473
STATE FOR WHA/CAN, WHA/PDA
WHITE HOUSE PASS NSC/WEUROPE, NSC/WHA
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ; WTO; AFRICA; U.S.
¶1. "Leaving Iraq would be unparalleled disaster"
Columnist David Warren reflected in the nationalist
Ottawa Citizen (8/27): "...[T]he situation [in Iraq]
continues to improve. It was never going to be a rose
garden, but it is clear to impartial observers within
the country that Iraqis themselves are co-operating -
the overwhelming majority within each of its religious
and ethnic groups, including even the Sunnis, co-
operating with each other and with the U.S. military to
hunt down Baathists and insurgents, and rebuild the
country both physically and institutionally, even
through the baking summer heat. It is the most
promising event in post-colonial Arab history. Yet it
could all be overthrown tomorrow if the U.S. decides it
cannot stay the course. Terrorism achieves its results
by drama.... [T]he problem, from the political view, is
that while the U.S. soldiers may be risking their lives
for the good of Iraq, what they are doing for the folks
back home is much less obvious. It is very real - for a
functioning, non-totalitarian Iraq will make a huge
difference in the fate of nations - but this requires
some explanation. Back home in the U.S., people want to
know how they are benefiting, by
putting the lives of 'our boys' on the line.... The
American people have grown tired of being in Iraq, and
want to move on. Their attention is refocusing on
domestic threats, and the Democrats are making hay with
the notion that progress against the enemy abroad is
made at the cost of progress at home. This is a lie,
but it is a good one.... The question on my
mind is thus, will the Americans funk out? And the only
thing I can say for sure is that if they do, it will be
an unparalleled disaster. For 9/11 itself was the
payback for the last U.S. funk-out from its
responsibilities as a superpower."
¶2. "WTO: the rich get more"
Columnist Paul Knox commented in the leading Globe and
Mail (8/27): "...[I]f globalization is a win-win no-
brainer, why are international trade negotiations in
such a mess? There's continued pessimism about the
chances of a comprehensive free-trade-area-of-the-
Americas deal clicking into place on schedule at the
beginning of 2005. That's also the deadline for
finishing the Doha Round of negotiations under the
World Trade Organization, and Doha isn't shaping up as
a slam dunk either. Sharp splits among rich and poor
countries, and those in between, will be exposed next
month at a key meeting of WTO ministers in Cancun,
Mexico.... Social activists have worked hard the
past few years to challenge the notion that globally
integrated markets will necessarily bring prosperity to
the poor. Maybe they should relax. No one is
working harder to discredit globalization than the
representatives of rich countries at the WTO. When you
cut through the verbiage, the message from the First
World is this: globalization when it works for us; self-
interest when it doesn't."
¶3. "The result in Rwanda"
The leading Globe and Mail opined (8/28): "...Mr.
Kagame now begins a new seven-year mandate. Helped by
large amounts of Western aid, he has made the economy
grow and promoted reconciliation at the community
level. He has the chance to lead the survivors of
appalling atrocities toward a genuinely democratic,
prosperous and harmonious future.... For their part,
Western governments must move beyond genocide-related
guilt and begin to measure Mr. Kagame by the standards
they apply to others. They and he need look no further
than Zimbabwe, a few borderlines to the south, to see
what happens when power goes to a strongman's head.
History will judge Mr. Kagame by his ability to ensure
that the poison of ethnic hatred is not supplanted
by the vices of one-man rule."
¶4. "Howard Dean and the U.S. buzz"
The leading Globe and Mail editorialized (8/28): "Is
George W. Bush vulnerable in 2004? Until recently, the
answer has been an unequivocal no.... But there are
signs that may be changing.... Why the sudden buzz? For
one thing, Dr. Dean is a ferocious and tireless
campaigner. In the past five days he has made nine
campaign stops in eight states. For another, his
speeches pay scant attention to his Democratic rivals,
focusing instead on attacking Mr. Bush and his
policies.... Dr. Dean also appears to be tapping
a growing vein of unease about the President's economic
policies. He is a no-nonsense fiscal conservative,
widely credited with balancing Vermont's
books. He dismisses Mr. Bush's economic policies as
'borrow and spend.'... Nor is Dr. Dean the only
prospective Democratic candidate generating a buzz.
General Wesley Clark, most recently CNN's top military
analyst and formerly NATO's commanding general in
Kosovo, has hinted that he may jump into the
race. In addition to being a decorated Vietnam veteran,
Gen. Clark is a Rhodes scholar and former lecturer in
economics at West Point. Dr. Dean, no
fool, has already named Gen. Clark as a potential
running mate. Mr. Bush's second term is no longer a
¶3. "If only money grew on bushes"
Columnist Marcus Gee wrote in the leading Globe and
Mail (8/28): "...If Mr. Bush and the Republican-
controlled Congress make the tax cut permanent, as
they have promised, it will cost Washington a total of
$1.5-trillion over the course of a decade. As if that
were not enough, the White House also wants to start
providing old people with subsidized medicines. The
cost over 10 years: $400-billion.... Of course, it
would be hard for Mr. Bush to change course now. He
sees himself as a man of his word. When he says he
will do something, whether defanging Iraq or cutting
taxes, he does it. But real leaders know that a change
of circumstances sometimes requires a change of course,
however embarrassing. Instead of stubbornly sticking to
an outdated and irresponsible fiscal plan, he should
cancel or delay at least some of his tax cut. Americans
would surely understand. As they must know, the only
thing worse for the United States than a tax-and-spend
liberal is a spend-and-don't-tax conservative."