No, the US ambassador to Zimbabwe is not a Deep-Stater who adores Mugabe
At first glance, I was as appalled as anyone by this tweet from the U.S. embassy in Zimbabwe, extending condolences on the death of its brutal dictator, Robert Mugabe. The Marxist beast, after all, murdered thousands and left his country a smoking ruin. You don't send condolences for monsters like that. Not ever.
Here's the tweet:
The Twitter response was almost universally negative, comparing Mugabe to Pol Pot, which is appropriate enough. Many of the critics were Zimbabweans who'd fled the country. And the criticism extended to both Left and right, with the Left yelling that President Trump had a soft spot for dictators. I saw exactly two tweets defending the embassy statement — both from newly created accounts with no icon pictures, so zero credibility there.
Fox News's Tucker Carlson had the appropriate sentiment, given what we know of Mugabe:
According to the transcription from the Daily Caller:
The Fox News host called Mugabe "such a bad leader that no normal person could look at him and say we need to mourn his passing. Not one person."
"The only words in response to his death would be good riddance," he continued. "He wrecked that country. He took control of one of the richest countries in southern Africa and reduced it to starvation. He made its currency as valuable as wallpaper. He literally committed genocide against an ethic group almost as soon as he was elected in 1980. Roberts Mugabe didn't liberate his nation, he destroyed it, and only the U.S. State Department doesn't understand that. Somebody ought to get to the bottom of who sent those tweets out."
And the embassy has just deleted that tweet, and higher-ranking State Department officials put out these slightly tougher (but not that tough) adjusted statements. I'm using screenshots, given how shifty this is getting:
Carlson and others are viewing this as Department of State officials going off on their own, acting as Deep Staters, forgetting that they stand for something as U.S. representatives, and he calls for an investigation as to how this claptrap got out as well as the recall of the ambassador.
But this might be a little hasty. I looked up who the ambassador is — Brian Nichols — and from his previous postings, his name rang a bell. I recall him as a very good U.S. diplomat from my visits to Peru and Colombia about a decade ago, doing the tough job of opposing Democrats who wanted to deny those countries trade treaties while at the same time extending them to socialist hellholes such as Nicaragua. All of the embassy diplomats I met in those countries were first-rate people who understood well why these treaties mattered as a foil to Mugabe's doppelganger in Caracas, Hugo Chávez. I don't recall any really specific interactions with him, but his name brought up positive associations.
After that mission was accomplished, Nichols then got sent to Zimbabwe, a truly nasty hellhole posting. He didn't get a nice place like St. Lucia or even a place where the lights work, such as South Africa. It takes guts to work the Zimbabwe post.
But it wasn't an unimportant posting. Obviously, the tweet sent was likely a message to Zimbabwe's current rulers, the semi-Mugabes who are running the country almost as badly as Mugabe did. Unfortunately, those are the people he has to work with, as the real democrats there still don't have power. The news report here says the country's current rulers are burying Mugabe in a hilltop cemetery of heroes instead of the trash dump he deserves — but they are not holding any public events, obviously because they know full well what the locals think of the monster.
It might be fine and dandy for a U.S. ambassador to openly oppose the country's rulers and their blind stupidity and malevolent fealty to Mugabe, but actually, Zimbabwe is small fry in the larger scheme of things.
It's quite likely that Nichols knows what the real war is: countering the influence of communist China. Zimbabwe is such a dump that it can't attract any sane investors to get the people some jobs and economic growth, but China is stepping right in with its "Belt and Road" initiative and preparing to take control of Zimbabwe and all its natural resources. We have seen the Chinese do it in Venezuela; we see them doing it anywhere a country is ruined. Nichols likely has the important task of talking sense into these rulers and assuring them that the U.S. can be their friend, just to get them away from the clutches of Red China.
So for that reason, people should probably go easy on Nichols. He has a crappy but important job and has always been strong on the big picture of what U.S. interests are. He's not a rat. The tweet has been deleted, so he must recognize that it has repelled normal people. But some understanding is in order here. Extend it to him.
Image credit: Fox News via shareable YouTube screen shot.