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Prime Minister Mugabe of Zimbabwe may feel he has to touch a number of political bases for home consumption or to keep lines out to an international spectrum. But there are limits even to empty rhetoric, and a banquet for North Korea's visiting prime minister was no excuse for what a Bulawayo newspaper reported Mr. Mugabe said: that the United States military presence in South Korea was identical with the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.

This will be news to those South Koreans who want the American troops to stay almost as much as the Afghans want the Soviet troops to get out. As for the US, it may be accustomed to a few bites on the hand with which it feeds nations with legitimate needs like Zimbabwe -- but this is ridiculous.

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