Despite the rising humanitarian costs of the crisis in Zimbabwe, the international community remains deeply divided about its response, allowing President Mugabe to believe that he can exploit the policy fissure between - broadly - the West and Africa. The foreign media's emphasis on the plight of white commercial farmers plays into the regime's liberation rhetoric, reinforcing the erroneous but widespread belief in Africa that the West is concerned about Zimbabwe only because white property interests have been harmed. What is happening in Zimbabwe and the lack of a continental response have damaged perceptions of Africa in the wider international community, weakening in the process the promising but still embryonic New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU). Zimbabwe's crisis of governance is the primary cause of its economic tailspin and food emergency. The ruling ZANU-PF party has consolidated nearly absolute political and economic power in the aftermath of the stolen March 2002 presidential election and the similarly flawed 28-29 September local elections. Both were marked by systematic state-sponsored violence and intimidation, but ZANU-PF officials went even further in the latter case, telling local chiefs and headmen in some areas that if they did not produce a ruling party victory, they would not receive food. Indeed, food is increasingly being used as a political weapon to undermine opponents and reward loyalists. If current trends are not reversed, there is a real prospect that its political, economic and social foundations will collapse, leaving Zimbabwe a failed state. At the least, the escalating economic crisis will further destabilise the region, particularly South Africa, by driving tens of thousands more refugees out of Zimbabwe and into the neighbouring states. Destruction of the commercial farming sector, the backbone of the economy, ensures that this is no short term emergency. Despite government rhetoric, the land invasion strategy has not reformed ownership inequities. Its real objectives - as with the abuse of food aid - have been to punish the opposition and to reward its own supporters. Large estates have routinely been given to ZANU-PF officials and military officers, creating a class of absentee landlords who are growing few crops in the midst of intensifying famine. Mugabe believes that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will disintegrate without white farmer support. He wants to retain many white farmers since his government needs the foreign exchange they can generate, but as docile supporters of his party. He has calculatingly taken a temporary hit in production to break the back of commercial farmer support for the MDC. Politically compliant farmers will be allowed to remain, while the assault will continue on those who are more politically active. The international response is still characterised by too much bark and too little bite. Mugabe himself may be virtually impossible to influence at this stage, but to affect ZANU-PF calculations, key actors must increase the regime's isolation. More credible targeted sanctions - wider, deeper and better enforced than those presently in place in the U.S. and the EU - are a necessary start. Without serious regional movement, however, there is little hope for achieving meaningful change in Zimbabwe. South Africa and its negotiating partner, Nigeria, can provide ZANU-PF an honourable way out of the crisis by resuming the process they began last spring, before the ruling party walked out, for negotiation of a transitional or interim government leading to an internationally supervised new election. However, South Africa does not yet appear to be sufficiently convinced of the imminence of the threat to its own stability to act with sufficient energy, especially as it seems to fear the impact of Mugabe's charges that it is in collusion with the West. Therefore, the U.S. and EU, although they