"Africa presented with biggest test yest." So reads a headline over an article in Saturday's FT. Actually, I'm not sure what exactly has been Africa's "biggest test yet." A case can surely be made that it is Darfur. But the slaughter there is being done by Arab Muslims and against black Muslims. So maybe sub-Saharan Africa is alien enough from the Maghreb and its environs to actually feel not only isolated but insulated.

In any case, there is no question that whatever blandly chastising rhetoric has been used against Mugabe's tyranny in Zimbabwe it has not been taken seriously by the dictator. And all the evidence points to his African Union colleagues also not taking their own blandishments seriously either,  least of all Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. After all, he has just dispatched more weapons to Harare, an index of his political desires.

And let's face facts: the most aggressive response to the calamity of Mugabe's rule has been that of the United States. Which is to say, the response of George Bush. See the New York Times article headlined, "Zimbabwe Faces Wider Sanctions Under Bush Plan." The problem is that the U.S. is taking the plan to the Security Council where it will surely fail.

Which raises the fundamental question about the United Nations: is it worth anything?  My answer is "no."