Should Ethiopia reach Nuclear Power Capability or should it turn into a terrorist state to attract the attention of the United States? – Abdi Lami
An old friend of mine and I took our memory back to the mid1990s and early 2000s when we both were students at Addis Ababa University. Even though we were not in the same batch and pursued different professional studies, we have shared some fundamentals of campus life common to all students who undergo the processing machines of higher education institutions. Sometimes as friends and concerned citizens we shared our frustration, despair and grievance to one another about the lack of democracy, the repulsive, ever deteriorating nature of Ethiopian human rights and the toxic political landscape citizens have faced in that country.
Our frustration often goes to an extent to suggest to completely ignore politics and just to live in obscurity. This was however, a self defeating and a dangerous manifestation of hopelessness that could feed into our own professional degeneration. As we thought quitting is not a viable option and a recipe for self denial, our anger and resentment at this poisonous political reality fuel our discussions and often serves as an incentive to scramble to come up with possible scenario and solutions to our own inquiry.
In our discussions and arguments we often politicized foreign assistance and development aid industry. We frequently find ourselves excessively obsessed with the misguided west foreign policy toward Ethiopia particularly the appeasement policy pursued by the United States administration. In the course of our dialogues my friend often recalls the notorious AAU campus conflicts which were intentionally incited by the ruling parity security agents for political possible consumption. He had always been furious about these artificially inseminated conflicts among ethnically polarized student groups and the possible international reactions. He was very much optimistic about intervention particularly from the United States. In fact, he gradually recognized that the United States of America does not care and even there was a very real possibility that those skirmishes were not heard at all.
Probably we were too much ambitious and too young at the time. As we mature, learn more, widen our political scope, expose ourselves to a broader world view and get to know the international power order, however, we came to recognize that the west, particularly the United States of America does not care whether you democratize, prosper, advance, and or suffer from exclusion, subjugation, and subjected to evils of horrifying actions as caused by totalitarian regimes. In fact, massive amount of development aid has been poured into Ethiopia by donors primarily to protect and promote the national interest of the donor countries disregarding the needs of impoverished people. The United States of America cares if and only if circumstances are against its national security interests and the welfare of its people.
Several examples can be cited where the United States is particularly interested to defend and protect International peace and security and promote democracy. The United States is heavily preoccupied itself confronting the Iranian nation. Because the Islamic nation is committed to pursue its desire to acquire nuclear power and always resisted to back down to the US and UN’s demand to abandon its ambition to nuclear proliferation. For the Iranian nation to reach this level and achieve its nuclear power capability, whatsoever the nuclear power is used for peaceful or military purposes, means the national security of the United States and its closest allies are at stake. Even though several options are available to exclude Iran from international presence, strong economic embargo has always been on table to cripple its ambition and undermine Iran’s desire to become regional power. The growing influence of Iran in the Middle East means potentially a serious setback to the United States regional economic interest mainly its stake in the vast oil and petroleum resources. Iran’s nuclear weapons ownership would probably mean the falling of the nuclear weapons into the hands of “terrorist groups”, a capability that can strike the United States mainland, international and its regional interests.
The North Korean case of nuclear ownership and its controversial relation with the west particularly the United States is primarily motivated and caused by ideological divide. The communist nation is still a powerful remnant of the past socialist world order. In the 21st century, almost the entire world is organized under liberal ideology and free market principles where integration into the international trade and market is considered to be an opportunity to growth, prosper and benefit from what the world can provide. The globalization of international trade and movement of the global production factors have created an immense opportunities for multinationals corporations and international free enterprise that crash and dismantle the interests of indigenous entities and institutions. The defiance of the communist Korea to surrender to the international capitalism, in which the United States is a front runner, is a serious heart burn to the US administration and international allies. The psychological warfare and the sanctions that target and intend to weakens North Korea fundamentally reflects the desire by the United States to promotes solely its foreign policy interests but not historically to stand in solidarity with the North Korean people against the repressive and brutal communist dictator.
China is still a communist nation that is typically characterized by centralized development planning by which state monopoly and interference in every aspect of individual lives is highly reflected. However, with mixed economic policies of the Communist China the United States has been able to penetrate the Chinese vast market. Chinese companies have also a very solid ground in the United States and the economic interdependence between these nations has been growing exponentially in recent times. China is the biggest foreign creditor to the United States treasury as the US owes the Chinese government almost a trillion dollars. Whereas China is one of the world’s worst human rights offenders. The United States has always been reluctant to strongly condemn the Chinese government on this stance and the appeasement US policies towards China has always been a serious headache to the international human rights defenders. In the end, the pacification of the US government towards the Chinese government grave human rights records portrays the US’s recklessness about the Chinese totalitarian regime and US failure to pass even its own test of promoting democratic values.
For naive and innocent people like me, the invasion of Iraq by the United States means the United States is the guardian of world peace and stability with a vested interest in the promotion of human rights, democracy and social justice. Saddam Hussein was ousted and his minority government was toppled as the United States invaded the country back in 2003. Even though Saddam Hussein was undeniably one of the worst Dictators history attest, the real objective behind the US invasion of Iraq was primarily economic interest. Some credible but unconfirmed sources link high profile Royal Families in the Saudi Arabia and the United States former administrations inner circles to oil and petroleum fortunes in Iraq and the entire Middle East. Therefore, the US invasion of Iraq and ousting of the dictatorial regime could primarily be justified by reasons of not religious, nuclear weapons, political, concerns for suppression of freedom and deterioration of human rights. The United States had to meet the national security interest in terms of uncontrolled and obsessive consumption of the global resources.
In the nation where the lion share of its economy or 70% of GDP is accounted by consumption, it is barely possible to rely on domestic production. So, to meet these growing needs of its population the United States has to leave any stone unturned to dominate, control and exploit the world by creating any pretexts, and false reasons to scramble less powerful, non-complying rouge states. Iraq was an innocent bystander and the victim of the desire of the world capitalist domination and exploitation.
The contemporary concept such as terrorism is a fuzzy and abused word. The concept is defined and misunderstood solely from a single perspective characterizing terrorism as a desperate act of groups, or individuals who are frustrated in the formal institution of governance. For genuine understanding of the concept terrorism, states sponsored terrorism and state terrorists have to be in the category. If the definition of terrorism is equally applied to the Ethiopian government we may not have problem of understanding the concept itself. If it is means to the United States of America we may not contest its definition because the US indirectly promotes an act of terrorism by supporting dictators who terrorize their own citizens. If terrorism defines the nature of the Chinese government, it is fairly realistic to assume that any party can commit it to silence descents, maintain its status qua and extend its lifeline. The world also needs to thoroughly understand the motives of individuals and groups that engage in a catastrophic destruction of innocent lives and resources.
The US presence in every corners of the world in the pretext of fighting the international terrorism is the desire to control resources and promotes its selfish foreign policy motives. International presence also simply means the radicalization of Muslim extremists, Jihadist groups or individuals. The ever growing proliferation of what they call “home grown terrorists” in the United States seeks to resist the supremacy of international predatory capitalism. In fact, the United States of America is in war with not the Muslim world but with extremist groups. Attaining International peace and security needs common and mutual understanding among nations. The US can govern the world only through genuine promotion of democracy and defending human rights not through merely propagating the egocentric nature of its predatory capitalism.
Al Qaeda’s base of strike against the west particularly the United States and its ideological warfare has so far been Afghanistan and Pakistan. The overt motive of presence of the US and NATO force are counter-terrorism in mission. However, the covert purpose of the international coalition forces in Afghanistan should be beyond this clear mission. Somalia is becoming the next Taliban in East Africa where terrorism is moving its strong international presence to this failed and collapsed state. Therefore, exploiting every possible opportunity to pursue and destroy the terrorist networks means for the United States of America and its allies is to conquer further territories, disrupt indigenous structures and replace with its surrogate, expand the reach of the capitalist web of exploitation networks and ultimately meet their selfish economic interest.
In the name of terrorism, they invade and destroy local culture, dismantle indigenous governance structure, seed instability, create mistrust among various groups. Yes the United States want to maintain its global lead in terms of military capability, economic mighty, political influence and cultural slavery. Loss of international dominance in this competitive world means for the United States is a symbolic and catastrophic failure in every aspects and probably equivalent to committing suicide.
The United States is a uniquely and exceptionally built nation on earth. A nation that is built on the core value of promoting predatory capitalism does not recognize the true face of democracy and freedom. If the US really does recognize these credos they are solely limited to its national boundaries. Every calculation the United States makes in the international relation is guided fundamentally by the material gains and self-centered corporate world. The United States claim to promote democracy, international peace and security is therefore, simply a fake. It is a fake claim because the United States does not live up to its commitments and universal principles that are enshrined in its own democratic ideals when it comes to promoting freedom and democracy beyond its national borders.
A fake claim in a sense that the United States partners it-self with predatory of peace, creators of havoc and insecurity and the worst offenders of human rights. A false and fake claim because the United States provides moral, financial, logistic and material support to totalitarian/ authotarian rulers who brutally crash oppositions, silence dissents and suppress freedom and liberty. A false claim in a sense that the United States institutes coercive state machinery and surrogate government that defends its foreign policy interests and dies for its dirty war particularly in the fight against terrorism. These actions do not represent and guarantee the interest of the impoverished people of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular. Therefore, this is absolutely a failed and misguided foreign policy goals as well as a serious strategic blunder if not a severe provocation of instability, chaos and devastation the United States of America has ever caused to the International peace and order.
The United States of America has nurtured the present regime in Ethiopia. It has done every possible effort to strengthen Melese Zenawi since the mid 1980s when he joined guerrilla warfare until his TPLF thugs were eventually able to topple the military regime in 1991. CIA’s covert involvement in the Ethiopian catastrophic civil war from the very outset was primarily motivated by the US interest to dismantle the socialist camp in which Ethiopia was a party to it during the Dergue regime. The communist camp came to an end in Ethiopia and the presumption and hope was to make a meaningful transition from totalitarian rule under the communist regime to democratic governance.
In fact, in early years of the transitional government there were some hopes that Ethiopia would democratize sooner or latter. As early indicators, free speeches began to emerge. Free media, independent newsletters flourished, opposition groups were blooming, and economic independence and freedom were some of the symptoms of free markets and democratization process. Early elections were held relatively in an environment of peace and stability with some exceptions that eliminated few opposition groups from the real political game changers. The mysterious case of the OLF removal from the political and nation building processes was in fact one of the classic examples and the gravest and most calculated political risks the TPLF has ever made in early 1990s.
As the government got solid ground and critics from the oppositions camps held strong resilience, the early signs of democratization process ceased way to intimidation and harassment. Symptoms of totalitarian nature of the TPLF inner circle began to emerge and its human rights records began to deteriorate. And the EPRDF ruling clique has made greater stride toward steady movement to consolidate its power and eliminate any forms of descents by any possible means. Opponents were crashed and stifled, and the TPLF gangsters have proven themselves the worst predators of peace and stability. They have achieved every reasonable level of what the totalitarian regime can achieve on average.
The may 23, 2010 Ethiopian parliamentary election outcomes has clearly proven that the path Ethiopia has taken is absolutely an erroneous course. However, the west particularly the United States has managed to remain silent and soundless even unabated their solidarity with Melese. Two fundamental questions remain to be answered when it comes to the silence of the United States and the west. The questions are: Should Ethiopia turn into a terrorist nation or reach a nuclear power capability to attract their attention to curb its dangerous move toward an authoritarian single party rule and totally eliminate free thinking, democracy and liberty? Should the west really trade off democracy with stability? We will wait and see what happens.