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Botswana’s foreign policy and war criminals

SOLLY RAKGOMO
This past Tuesday, Botswana welcomed former president of the United States of America (USA) who is on a two day visit with his wife Laura Bush.

George Bush was said to be on visit to push some “philanthropic agenda” which includes among other things the   Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, which is a global partnership to fight women’s cancers and the Bush First Ladies Initiative, which engages and supports first ladies from around the world to effectively use their unique platforms to advance issues of women and girls.

 George Bush’s political history needs no introduction to the readers. In the aftermath of the 911 attacks by extremists on US soil, President Bush launched what came to be popularly known as ‘War on terror “ which saw the USA launching two wars in the space of three  years against Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

Perhaps it is the war that was launched against Iraq in 2003 which drew a lot of criticism to the Bush Administration.

The brutal war that Bush unleashed on Iraq was motivated by false intelligence information that claimed that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein possessed some weapons of mass destruction and that he supported Al Qaeda, which was heavily fingered in the 911 attacks.

The terror unleashed on the population left about 1.3 million Iraqis dead, millions injured and more than 5million both internally and externally displaced. 

The country’s centuries old civilisation was reduced to debris and since then Iraqi citizens have never enjoyed any peace as the country has descended into sectarian chaos largely orchestrated by the advent of Isis, which during the era of Saddam Hussein was totally absent from Iraqi soil.

In 2015 declassified documents that were used to justify war against Saddam Hussein by the National Intelligence Estimate brought to the attention of the public the sheer lies that were used to push for war against Hussein.

These declassified documents brought a controversial debate of war crimescrimes against humanity.

War crimes are deliberate acts, typically as part of a systematic campaign, that cause human suffering or death on a large scale. Many institutes, independent academics, journalists and political observers are quite convinced that what Bush did to the Iraqi population was in fact crimes against humanity which demanded that Bush should face a war tribunal.

Even though the International Criminal Court has not issued an arrest warrant for George Bush a large portion of the international community feels he deserves to be hauled before such a tribunal.

Back in Botswana, a country that has always stood firm against those who

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are deemed war criminals has strangely welcomed George Bush on its soil with open arms.

Recently, Botswana called for countries to support entities like the ICC and has vocally demonstrated that it is more than willing to extradite anyone who has been named by the ICC to have committed crimes against humanity. Not only that, Botswana has always condemned brutal rulers who have caused misery to their own people.

This has put Botswana in the world map of those who walk the liberal moral high ground by espousing justice and fairness to all human beings.

Today I find it totally very strange that the same country Botswana, has welcomed someone whom more than half of the world population views as a disgrace to humanity by subjecting the Iraqis to the same treatment that Botswana has stood up to condemn. One may ask why the double standards?

Even though the answer may not be readily availed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it will not be an understatement to say that George Bush's wallet is too fat for our leaders to uphold the principles they have always never compromised even if they found that their diplomatic or foreign policy posture risks Botswana becoming a pariah state in the African continent.

I know a lot of realists adherents may say the issue of national interests come first. My argument is if that is the case, my beloved Botswana should never shout from rooftops that it is allergic to impunity from world leaders and then go on to celebrate a war criminal on their soil.

This will really hurt our image in the long run especially in the eyes of our African brothers whom we have always vowed to humiliate by sending them to the Hague in pursuit of pleasing our western masters who are not at all clean when it comes to issues of war crimes. Botswana has failed to resist the purse of Bush which I suspect are the proceeds from millions of dead Iraqis, daylight robbery of the oil resources in the country by dozens of multinational oil corporations which have indirect and direct connection with George Bush.

Botswana needs to put her act together as far as diplomacy and foreign policy are concerned. She has to choose whether she walks the liberal moral high ground or pursues a realist policy of narrow self-interest.



Global Politics

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