The major power of the sub-saharan region, South Africa, is continuing to treat Zimbabwe with kid gloves, refusing to seriously criticize the government and now apparently stepping in with big money to help out Mugabe and his cronies. On past evidence, virtually all of the money will be stolen by Mugabe's crowd; after all, the main reason Zimbabweans are starving is that Mugabe has actively worked to keep food away from regions of the country where his opponents are especially numerous (the previous white administration can surely be blamed for how poor Zimbabwe was when white rule ended, but who should be blamed for the country's wealth dropping by at least half since then is equally clear; it's the guy at the top). There seems no reason to think he'll change his policy of starving the opposition.
Now, I'm not generally in favor of embargoes and similar tactics for weakening corrupt governments. They have a pretty horrible track record. To take just one example near and dear to American hearts, Castro is still hanging on after almost half a century now. But surely actively giving money to a corrupt and evil regime is not likely to do much good. So I guess my questions are twofold. First, is there something I'm missing, any hint of reason for thinking South Africa is not making a mistake? And second, if they are making a mistake, what better alternatives are available? Is there any effective way to help the starving people there? Invasion almost seems appealing in this case, as the government is quite unpopular and not all that well armed, so it ought to be a lot easier than the Iraq situation has been. Of course, Zimbabwe has no oil, and as far as we know no training camps for international terrorists, so there's probably nobody willing to make that kind of effort in this situation.