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Home / Opinion - Revisiting the illegally imposed sanctions on Zim… historical perspectives, rationale, consequences and effe

Opinion - Revisiting the illegally imposed sanctions on Zim… historical perspectives, rationale, consequences and effe

2021-10-27  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Revisiting the illegally imposed sanctions on Zim… historical perspectives, rationale, consequences and effe
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This article emphasises the theoretical aspect and the rationale behind the imposition of the illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. An attempt is made to review the historical perspective of the illegally imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in the context of international relations. Modern international system in statecraft diplomacy shows that statesmen and diplomats express genuine concern about legal principles, rights and obligations that is meant to govern nations in their interactions with one another. In which statecraft is a type of policy instrument used for exercising influence on the target countries like Zimbabwe where economic sanctions were imposed. Economic sanctions translate to deliberate governmental inspired withdrawal or threat of withdrawal from trade or financial relations. But it is well known in international space that no global community can compel all member states to law and collective monopoly of forces, even though their public declarations are in accordance with traditional rules of law, such foreign policies remain at odds with them. On the other hand, traditional law allowed states almost unfettered discretion in the use of force in which war is considered legitimate tool of foreign policy, whereas economic force was deemed permissible. 

The establishment of the United Nations in 1945 provided a new foreign policy landscape that governs the international community. Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter state that member states, ‘shall refrain in their international relations from threat or use of force against territorial integrity or political independence of any state…’ except in situations in which collective or individual self-defence against an aggression persists. Article 16 of the Charter of the Organisation of American states proclaims that, ‘No use of coercive measures of an economic or political character to force the sovereign will of another state and obtain from it advantages of any kind’’ is permissible. This is very important in the context of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and her allies. 

The United Nations Declaration on Friendly Relations provided similar sentiments that suggests to outlaw diplomacy, while threats remain indispensable in the intercourse of states, and at times allies. This has been on-going over the years without significant challenge on international space. But power and influence remain a determining feature of international relations today. With new methods on the use or exercise of power emerging in the form of economic means of exercising power by other nations through the exercise of power, sanctions become an essential instrument in this context to suffocate and annihilate innocent member states of the global community in which Zimbabwe is a victim. The unjustified reasons for the imposition of illegal sanctions by countries that exercises unfettered power over innocent member states subscribed to the United Nations Convention remains questionable. The scenario continues to persist in the context of unjustified sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe. This remains a bone of contention of the use and abuse of power by the United States and her allies on Zimbabwe.

In the same vein, aid, trade and investment, economic sanctions remain as important instruments of contemporary diplomacy, used by economically strong countries over weaker nations. As for Zimbabwe, a country on economic transition, economic security remains an indispensable agenda item, hence the need to question the rational of the imposition of the illegal sanctions and the inherent costs associated with the sanctions to the country. The country sees this as a means of creating internal disruptions and cause for political change in the country using economic pressure. This is the reality in our beloved Zimbabwe today. The use of force and imposition of the illegal sanctions on peace loving, democratically elected government, with good governance standing, translates to economic pain induced to attain some political goal by the United States of America and her allies. The target is meant to induce the country to comply to a particular standard of political behaviour favourable to the United States and her domestic and international allies. The imposition of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe has relegated international law to the back seat driver, perpetuating agenda items of the US and her allies in this evil game of suppression of other member states for their own gains, causing profusions economic bleeding of Zimbabwe. Nebulous as it sounds, economic force is only permissible when undertaken pursuant to internationally authorised measures, which is exactly opposite to the unilateral imposition of the illegal sanctions by few countries against the will of Zimbabwe, its people, the global community, and the United Nations.



Whilst the relations among countries in the world are governed by a set of rules, some nations abide to this convention, whilst others abuse it. Since the first world war, the rules that govern the use of international relations are growing at very slow pace. The idea of focussing on pacific settlement of disputes remains indispensable and a bone of contention for the international community. The post-Cold War era witnessed wide-spread desire to avoid large-scale wars, where nuclear war remains a major threat. Whilst the focus is placed more on the threat of the negligent use of nuclear warheads, little attention has been placed on economic sanctions imposed on innocent Zimbabwe by the United States of America and her allies. The sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are worse destructive instrument which is more than nuclear war that would be so swift and unprecedented. The alliance of the world nations has remained mute in this context, promoting the natural option in coercive international relations for non-military measures, mainly imposing targeted economic sanctions to innocent law-abiding, and democratic nations like Zimbabwe. 

It is common knowledge that, in the global community space today, no member states can be compelled to law through collective monopoly of forces. But this has been the issue over the years in the context of Zimbabwe, a country that has been trapped under the illegal imposed economic sanctions by the United States and her allies, contradicting the public declarations in of the traditional rules of law. Hence the call for the illegal sanctions to be removed. Zimbabwe, a country recognised in the global community, defines her foreign policy towards commitments and capabilities to defend herself, and deserve the right to voice against the illegally imposed sanctions that has caused untold suffering to Zimbabweans irrespective of colour, race, or creed. This assertion places value on the global community to focus on the new political thinking that recognises the existing checkmate, and the realities of interests of all participants in international relations in the context of the imposed sanctions. The scholarly understanding of statecraft and foreign policy remains clear particularly when it comes to the instruments used by policy makers in attempting to exercise power in its simple definition in which other countries will get others to do what they would not otherwise do on their own accord. Indeed, this absolute reasoning remains a remarkable definition in the exercise of power in context. The taxonomy techniques of statecraft outline important tenants that includes information, diplomacy, economics, and force. 

Furthermore, it is evident that expansion of foreign trade and capital flow has created vulnerabilities, asymmetric information, and unequal balance of the gains of trade in the new world order leading to external economic pressure to other member states by the aggressive states like the United States of America and her allies. The advent effect of this disruption leads to internal disruption and possible change in the face of economic pressure on sanctioned countries. Had it not been that Zimbabwe is endowered with virgin natural resources, and strong political will and social structure that is hard to permeate, the country could have collapsed many years ago. Credit should be placed where it is deserved, the first and second republics of independent Zimbabwe. We embrace and salute the resilient and defence of the hard-won independence through transparent democracy in the eyes of legit international community, and the fabric line of defence of level-headed Zimbabweans who believes in their own liberation, and destiny in the new world.


Open for business

We all now know that economic coercion relates to the imposition of pain by one-member state on another to attain some political objectivity. This instrument of foreign policy has been in practice over the years and applied by the United States and her allies to many countries in the global community that includes Zimbabwe through the imposition of illegal economic sanctions and other targeted embargoes as a form of inducement to try and make the country subscribe to the needs of the United States of America, a country that seeks illegal change of legit democratically elected government by the people and for the people. 

The economic statecraft continues to manifest in the form of influencing dimensions of targeted cultural changes through inciting changes in beliefs, attitudes, opinions, expectations, or propensities to work, economic sabotage, creating negative work culture, particularly in the public sector in Zimbabwe. This is driven and perpetuated by some unscrupulous domestic and international non-governmental organisations housed in the country, and few individuals who have lost their cultural identity, focus and direction.  Needless to say, the economic sanctions promoted by the United States of America and her allies remains in suspense, losing direction by the day and night. The 2nd Republic of Zimbabwe focuses on foreign policy of re-engagement to restore her dignity on global community space, but, the level of apprehension by the perpetrators of the illegal imposed sanctions remains slow, although signs are indicative of a positive change.  The current call by Zimbabwe in its mantra, that the country is open for business, and the policy of re-engagement is an open invitation to the international global community that includes the United States of America and its allies to re-apply their minds and consider the call and abandon the hostility, aggressive statecraft foreign policy. It is in this view that, we call upon the immediate removal of the illegally imposed sanctions. We seek the consideration of the unconditional removal of the unjustified sanctions in all forms as we focus on re-engagement as the best diplomatic instrument for informed diplomacy. 


Diplomatic armoury

We all know that economic sanctions have been an instrument of diplomatic armoury over the years, used before World War 1, used also in ancient Greece, and reflected in the celebrated occasion of the Pericles Megarian decree enacted in 432 B.C after the kidnapping of the 3 Asparian women. Therefore, the idea of perpetuating Woodrow Wilson`s use of sanctions as economic weapon by the US and her allies has waxed and waned in popularity over the years and in each every day of the calendar. Furthermore, theories of economic sanctions that focuses on economic deprivation and subsequent desired political change in political behaviour in independent countries like Zimbabwe, has proved negative, but caused untold suffering to ordinary people.  As a result, the country continues to resist the negative sanctions imposed that manifest in the form of trade embargo, blacklist, import and export, preclusive buying, aid suspension, unfavourable taxation or expropriation, and all relevant threats in their different forms. Thus, the significance of the theory of sanctions has failed to induce conformity on the value structure of Zimbabwe as exemplified in the case in point of the effects of International Economic sanctions that were imposed to colonial Rhodesia (World Politics, XIX, No.3, April 1967, p.379). This reiterates and confirm failures of sanctions in Zimbabwe.

As we commemorate the internationally promulgated sanctions day for Zimbabwe, by the level-headed global community, we call upon the United States of America and her allies to resonate on the various tenants raised in this discourse and consider the review of her foreign statecraft policy of using sanctions as a weapon against Zimbabwe and embrace the unilateral invitation and the extension of the army by the 2nd Republic of Zimbabwe of re-engagement, and reconsider abandoning the hostility foreign policy of state crafty which promulgates the imposition of economic sanctions on sovereign states in the global community space. 

Zimbabwe is open for business and re-engagement with the international community. The country is enemy to none, and friend to all, and embraces democracy, love, peace, and harmony. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered for a long-time in the face of the illegally imposed sanctions. This is the message of love and friendship to the United States of America and her allies coming from humble peace-loving country and its people. God Bless Zimbabwe! God Bless Africa! God Bless the world! God Bless you all!


2021-10-27  Staff Reporter

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