Over the past several years Zimbabwe has come dangerously close to becoming a failed state. Its economy is in ruin as the breadbasket of Africa has been transformed into a nation gripped by famine. In addition the country is experiencing hyperinflation that has been in the hundreds of thousands percent over the past year. On top of the economic crisis is a burgeoning health crisis brought on by the near-total collapse of all public services. What is most tragic of all is that these events are occurring in a country that until relatively recently was known as a model of development in a continent wracked by conflict and poverty.
During the campaign through to the inauguration, President Obama has laid out a change in style for US foreign policy, moving from, in his view, the unbalanced approach of the Bush administration to one that takes into account consultations with allies and the importance of negotiations. In her confirmation hearings (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/14/clinton-touts-smart-power-use/), Secretary of State Clinton gave a name to the new strategy, “smart power.”