In a report in the Washington Times, the Bush administration said in August that it no longer considers President Robert Mugabe to be the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe and called upon “the body politic” of his country “to go forward and correct that situation.”

According to the Times:

Mr. Mugabe has ordered the takeover of thousands of white-owned farms, which are being handed over to his political supporters, former independence war veterans, military officers and peasants.

The farm disruptions have deeply reduced agricultural output that typically feeds not only Zimbabwe but also its neighbors. Some white farmers have refused to leave their farms and were arrested last week.

Nevertheless, the Bush administration plans to send 190,000 tons of emergency food aid to southern Africa in addition to 310,000 tons of food the US already contributes to the region.

Why on earth would the Bush administration send food to mitigate Mugabe’s politically inspired food shortage? Any subsequent famine will be due directly to Mugabe’s banditry, and yet our government sees fit to send taxpayer-purchased food to lessen the effect of his reign, even as it calls for his ouster.

This policy of sending food subsidies to failed regimes does nothing to promote US national interests. Furthermore, by lessening the effect of Mugabe’s banditry, US policy actually undercuts the rights of Zimbabwean landholders and uses the fruits of Americans’ labor to prop up Mugabe’s evil regime. It is not the place of the United States to cover for the mistakes of a thuggish dictator with no concept of private property. If Mugabe thinks that food can be produced without the farmers who made the farms productive in the first place, then let him and his cronies feel the pain of that decision in their bellies.

The appropriate US policy would be to simply offer refuge status to the affected farmers. Let these farmers come to the US to grow crops in Iowa or Kansas, secure in the knowledge that their property is safe from seizure.

It is sad to say, but Africa is still far from entering the civilized world. For a continent as rich in resources as it is, it still is impoverished in the one realm that matters–the realm of ideas.