Mugabe’s descent into autocracy was not inevitable, After Mugabe, Zimbabwe set for more of the same, Germany’s political center needed to hold, US should be cautious as Lebanon heats up, Australia welcomes same-sex marriage, but much of the world resists

A roundup of global commentary for the Dec. 04, 2017 weekly magazine.

Ben Curtis/AP
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (c.) arrives to preside over a student graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University on the outskirts of the capital, Harare, on Nov. 17, 2017, days before he resigned amid parliamentary proceedings to impeach him, Nov. 21.

The Japan Times / Tokyo

Mugabe’s descent into autocracy was not inevitable

“Few tears may be shed for Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who was effectively deposed by the military...,” states an editorial. “[O]ne thing seems certain: It is an ignominious end to the career of one of Africa’s greatest leaders – and one that is long overdue.... Economic mismanagement and chronic starvation did not spur the military to take action against Mugabe.... [It] was the power grab by his wife, Grace.... Mugabe’s descent into autocracy, capriciousness, corruption and tyranny was not ordained, but it is all too common in Africa.... Rather than demanding that Mugabe adhere to the rule of law, other parts of the power structure joined him in exploiting institutions of the state.... And neighbors and regional powers that could have made Mugabe pay for his rapaciousness, indulged him instead....” 

Daily Monitor / Kampala, Uganda

After Mugabe, Zimbabwe looks set for more of the same

“The people of Zimbabwe have rebelled against the defiant Robert Gabriel Mugabe and for all intents and purposes, the army has overthrown him,” writes Nicholas Sengoba. “Like it happens in countries where leaders with an iron grip subjugate people for decades, the citizens get so fed up that their yearning for change finds any kind of change acceptable.... [Mugabe’s] substitute is likely to be his immediate former vice president and long standing comrade ... Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa.... All the major players against Mugabe do not come to the table with clean hands.... If the history of the main characters in the ouster of Mugabe is anything to go by, things in Zimbabwe are likely to change, but still remain the same.”

The Hindu / Chennai, India

Why Germany’s political center needed to hold

“The crisis over government formation in Berlin has raised the possibility of fresh elections in Germany and the ripple effect of instability in the European Union,” states an editorial. “The breakdown in talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and potential partners ... has dealt a blow to a time-tested post-War model of political compromise and consensus-building.... The proof of the efficacy of the German consensus model lay in solidifying the political centre-ground.... The need for a strong middle ground could not be greater than it is at this point. Once the Netherlands and France averted political instability ... the outcome in Germany had appeared to be a foregone conclusion. Perhaps not.”

The Jordan Times / Amman, Jordan

As Lebanon looks to be next Middle East hot spot, the US should be cautious

“The resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri ... is an indicator of a potential local escalation with Hizbollah and regional escalation with Iran,” writes Amer Al Sabaileh. “The expectation of an imminent escalation with Hizbollah has been there for months, as the end of the crisis in Syria was likely to turn regional focus to the Iranian-backed group.... The US and its allies launched a strategy to isolate Iran, but they must ensure its long-term viability with a clear and substantial roadmap in order to prevent clever and influential Iran from turning the outcome to its advantage....”

The Globe and Mail / Toronto

Australia welcomes same-sex marriage, but much of the world still resists

“Holland was first off the mark in December of 2000, and in the intervening years 25 other countries have approved same-sex marriage,” states an editorial. “Actually, make that 26. If all goes as expected, Australia will legalize same-sex marriage by Christmas.... The reality is there are regions of the world where it is still difficult, and even dangerous, to be gay.... Homosexuality is considered a crime in much [of the world] and is punishable by death in some places. It’s an intolerable situation that cannot and will not last.... The latest evidence is the vote in Australia, a country where the political middle is generally situated to the right, but which still embraced tolerance and equality.”

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