Rich in minerals and agricultural land, and blessed with stunning national parks, the country once known as Rhodesia and now Zimbabwe bursts with potential. But its 50 years of postcolonial independence have been far from normal. First, a white minority claimed control.
The nation was shunned internationally (even apartheid-era South Africa refused to recognize it) and became caught up in civil war. Since 1980, when internationally supervised elections were finally held, it has been under the autocratic, eccentric rule of Robert Mugabe. Mr. Mugabe’s eventual departure likely will provoke a succession crisis – one more that Zimbabwe doesn’t need. More than anything, this battered country needs normalcy – the rule of law, real democracy, rational economic policy. If it can achieve those, its enormous potential can be unleashed.