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R. Mugabe’s Diplomacy in Zimbabwe During Cold War Essay

In the 1980s, Zimbabwe used to be one of Africa’s most promising and sustainable economies (Makaye & Dube, 2014). Unfortunately, poor political and economic policies in the country eventually led to continuous decay and deprivation. Experts and political analysts believe strongly that the failure of Zimbabwe as a state is something attributable to its political structure (Bratton, 2014). One of the interesting facts about this country is that Robert Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Unity-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), has been in political power since independence (Bratton, 2014). A turnaround in Zimbabwe’s political climate is needed in order to put it in a new path of economic recovery. The purpose of this research is to identify and describe a diplomatic doctrine that was used by Robert Mugabe during and after the infamous Cold War. The paper goes further to examine the major factors and issues that have led to the creation of this failed state.

Presidential Doctrine

The selected foreign policy for this paper is the Eisenhower Doctrine. This policy was announced in 1957 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. According to this Cold War doctrine, the American president stated that any country facing threat from international communism could get the required military support and economic assistance from the United States (Brew, 2015). In this doctrine, Eisenhower indicated clearly that the Soviet Union was the main source of threat. That being the case, the American armed forces were ready to protect the territories of every country that was threatened by the Soviet Union. The role of the Soviet during the period was the main factor why the president chose to announce and use the doctrine while he was in office.

During his tenure, Eisenhower authorized the commitment of the armed forces to protect the nation’s political freedom. The doctrine also guided the U.S. forces to provide security and protection to independent nations that were threatened by international communism (Brew, 2015). History shows clearly that the doctrine was implemented due to a number of events that were taking place during the late 1950s (Brew, 2015). For instance, many Arab nations were against the ideologies of the West. The Soviets were also influencing numerous events in Arab nations such as Syria and Egypt. Such happenings occurred during and after the Suez Canal Crisis in 1956 (Brew, 2015). During the same period, Britain and France were unable to influence the course of the crisis. The new situation forced the United States to intervene. In 1958, the Lebanon Crisis forced America to arbitrate after the country’s leader requested for military aid.

The above presidential doctrine has influenced both global and regional affairs since it was announced during the infamous Cold War. For instance, the doctrine escalated the tension between the Soviet and the United States. The aftermath of the Suez Canal Crisis led to new diplomatic tensions between many Arab nations and the West. Additionally, the doctrine played a significant role towards dictating the future of many nations especially in sub-Saharan Africa (Brew, 2015). Many African nations were able to get the required support from America.

The Case of Zimbabwe

The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, pursued a complex doctrine that sought to avoid any form of entanglement with the Soviet Union and the United States during the Cold War (Mapuwei, 2014). However, the doctrine was more or less similar to that of Eisenhower. This was the case because the president wanted to support the welfare of many African nations that were facing numerous struggles such as apartheid and internal insecurity (“Research and Advocacy Unit”, 2016). This is a clear indication that Zimbabwe’s president was actively involved in the affairs of different African nations.

The implementation of a doctrine during the period was to cement his internal rule and promote economic posterity. However, things changed with the political and economic situations in the country. Since 1992, Robert Mugabe has been able “to complicate things for the international community” (Bratton, 2014, p. 53). Consequently, many nations such as the United States have found it hard to deal with Mugabe’s regime. In 2002, Mugabe’s political won the elections amidst claims of unfairness and rigging (“Research and Advocacy Unit”, 2016). Since then, the country has witnessed numerous cases of injustices and loss of civil liberties.

The Creation of a Failed State

After the end of the Cold War in 1991, many nations in Africa managed to form new opposition parties in an attempt to secure political change. However, the opposition parties in specific nations such as Zimbabwe were unable to succeed. Consequently, Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has ruled the country since independence. The prevalence of political violence has led to instability and lack of transparency. It is agreeable that Zimbabwe has been holding parliamentary elections since 1980 (Mudavanhu, 2014). All these elections have always been won by Robert Mugabe’s party. Such elections have been observed to trigger violence, accusations of unfairness and fraud, and continuous intimidation (Bratton, 2014). The president has been using state resources to violate human rights. The country’s armed forces and the police receive public funds to back Mugabe’s party.

In 1988, Mugabe’s regime used the police to torture people during the Harare uprising (“Research and Advocacy Unit”, 2016). This is a clear indication that political unrest and violence are prevalent in this county. Torture has also been used as a powerful tool against journalists who question Mugabe’s leadership. In 2000, the leader ordered his followers to occupy most of the farms owned by Whites. This move led to deaths, rapes, and abuse of human rights (Bratton, 2014).

Lack of proper economic policies is another unique challenge that has contributed a lot to the state’s failure. The violence experienced in the country has always been associated with reduced harvests and exports. The continued slump in the country’s food production is a major challenge that has made it impossible for many people to realize their objectives. More often than not, Mugabe’s regime has been blocking aid from non-governmental organizations and foreign nations (Mudavanhu, 2014).

Violence has remained a major problem in this country. This culture of impunity allows more citizens in the nation to resolve their political problems using force. Violators of human freedoms and liberties are usually pardoned by the political regime. People who commit heinous crimes such as arson, kidnapping, and rape have reduced chances of been prosecuted (“Research and Advocacy Unit”, 2016). Most of the political crimes in the nation are never investigated adequately.

Corruption is the other leading factor that has made Zimbabwe a failed state. According to economic scholars, Zimbabwe remains one of the most corrupt nations across the globe (Cain, 2015). The level of corruption experienced in the country allows state leaders and officials to secure wealth without focusing on the needs of the other people. Many leaders such as Jonathan Moyo have embezzled funds from different government projects. Zimbabwe has been “described by experts as a predatory state” (Makaye & Dube, 2014, p. 231). This is the case because the policies implemented by its leaders do not support the welfare of the greatest majority. The country’s citizens do not have access to new opportunities that can transform their lives.

Actions Taken by Zimbabwe’s President

The actions taken by the president of Zimbabwe have failed because they do not support the welfare of the citizens. The president has implemented predatory laws that make it hard for journalists to practice independently (Makaye & Dube, 2014). Access to information is also restricted in this nation. Citizens have known that political disputes can only be resolved using violence.

The country’s leader does not care about the welfare of his people. The state has been unable to direct funds towards essential needs such as infrastructure, health, and education (Mapuwei, 2014). When these problems are not addressed, it will always be impossible for a country such as Zimbabwe to succeed. The laws enacted in the country do not promote the use of new technology. The elites benefit from the country’s monopolies, valuable minerals, and assets. Political power is designed in such a way that it promotes impunity, inequality, and discrimination. Consequently, Mugabe has failed to deliver desirable support and governance to the people of Zimbabwe.

The political elite in Zimbabwe depend on the state to amass wealth and cling to power (Mapuwei, 2014). This has remained the core objective of the president despite his old age. Corruption has reached epic proportions since the nation’s officials are allowed to secure huge profits without taking care of the other people. This means that wealth in this country is obtained from political power.

The “fast track land reform is another unique action that has made Zimbabwe a failed state” (Brew, 2015, p. 98). The ultimate goal of this policy was to strengthen the political status of the president. This was the case because of the increasing level of opposition from different economic elites (Cain, 2015). The president used other strategies in an attempt to restore the economic position of the nation. For instance, hyperinflation policy initiated by the government failed to offer positive results. Zimbabwe’s involvement in the Second Congo War was a major mistake since the country did not have the required resources to intervene. These initiatives undertaken by Mugabe failed and eventually affected the welfare of the country.

Prospects for Success

The situation in Zimbabwe might not change any time soon. Mugabe might rule this country for the rest of his life simply because the opposition has been divided and unable to consolidate leadership. The electoral system is always manipulated to favor the current president. Any form of electoral fraud has the potential to trigger violence. The lack of infrastructure, adequate schools, and health facilities is another huge challenge that affects the future of this country. The nation has been characterized by lack of transparency and irresponsibility (Mudavanhu, 2014). It is characterized by absence of the law, social and economic disparities, regional instability, and abuse of human liberties. The elites continue to use state resources for personal gains. The people do not have access to information. The natural resources and government monopolies benefit a small fraction of the country’s population. In conclusion, the situation in Zimbabwe is worsening and any form of violence can result in an unimaginable crisis.


Bratton, M. (2014). Power Politics in Zimbabwe. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Brew, G. (2015). “Our Most Dependable Allies”: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Eisenhower Doctrine, 1956–1958. Mediterranean Quarterly, 26(4), 89-109.

Cain, G. (2015). Bad governance in Zimbabwe and its negative consequences. The Downward Review, 2(1), 1-7.

Makaye, P., & Dube, B. (2014). Zimbabwe: The challenge of democracy from below, 1980 to 2013. International Journal of Political Science and Development, 2(10), 227-236.

Mapuwei, N. (2014). A social-semiotic engagement with representations of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the ZimDaily.com from June 2008 to July 2013. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 8(7), 236-243.

Mudavanhu, S. (2014). A critical analysis of whether Zimbabwe can achieve economic development through its ‘Look East Policy’. African Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 8(8), 280-287.

Research and Advocacy Unit. (2016). Conflict or collapse? Zimbabwe in 2016. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'R. Mugabe's Diplomacy in Zimbabwe During Cold War'. 8 September.

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