Remarks of Rob Prince, Retired Senior Lecturer of International Studies. University of Denver, Korbel School of International Studies.
Just an announcement for starters…
A week from now on Tuesday, November 30 from 6-7… I’ll be interviewing a member of Colorado’s Eritrean Community – KGNU – 1390 AM, 88.5 FM. It’s a part of an ongoing series – Colorado and the Horn of Africa at KGNU’s Hemispheres Program… Last interview was with Nebiyu Asfaw, one of the founders of Taste of Ethiopia…also well worth listening to.
You can ask the Ethiopian brothers and sisters, some of whom listening to whether it worth listening or not…
Since Brother Dawit invited me to make some remarks today I have been thinking about what to say and what not to say…What concerns me most – is the evolution of U.S. policy – not just towards the growing crisis in Ethiopia which Washington had not small hand in helping foment – and whose pressure will continue, but towards the evolution of the entire Horn of Africa…
I think that it is useful to spell out from the outset and briefly where I stand on U.S. African Policy – what it is, and how it needs to change…
– Africa has long been for Europe and North America little more than a source of labor, raw materials – be it food stuffs or mineral wealth and little more. And it is out of that role that Ethiopia and the rest of the Africa are trying to transform itself – using a number of E. Asian models – modified for African circumstances – S. Korea, Singapore, whatever – into a more modern role
– My personal views on the subject actually are, after working with Ethiopian friends here, rather clear.
a. I support the regional integrity of Ethiopia and oppose any attempts – either de facto or de jure – to partition Ethiopia or weaken it in its efforts at increasing socio-economic development which will, in all likelihood, have positive echoes throughout the Horn of Africa specifically and frankly throughout the African continent
b. I fully support the demands of this rally, a part of both national and international demonstrations taking place worldwide.
What are they?
– No more U.S. intervention
– Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy
– No More Support for TPLF Insurrectionists
Succinct, to the point, humane and frankly all anti-Imperialist. I embrace them all and hope you do too.. I am not especially surprised who is sponsoring them…
I want to explore two points of the current situation…
a. the massive, coordinated misinformation campaign, with its daily lies, half truths and open attacks on the Ethiopian government of Abiy Ahmed…
b. a few reflections on what U.S. policy is all about – at least my understanding of it – in Ethiopia in specific and the Horn of Africa in general.
Black Alliance for Peace, Answer – both of whom I want to give both credit and respect for “leading the way” – for seeing, as we say “the forest through the trees” – something many other peace groups at least to date, have not been capable of… as they have drank the “humanitarian interventionalist” cool aid… They have been suckered into believing the news – often little more than official propaganda – of the BBC, CNN, Economist, Democracy Now! or a number of human rights groups whose ties to big money and Washington are too close for comfort are spewing.
Let me focus on two of them for a moment, typical of all of them – the BBC…Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now!”
The BBC is seen by many here in the USA as some kind of more objective alternative to U.S. mainstream news sources. Ah if let’s say CBS or the New York Times are painting a certain picture of reality in the Horn of Africa one can always check with the BBC or Amy Goodman to verify or challenge the mainstream media scenario…
Unfortunately that is something of a dead end. When it comes to U.S. foreign policy, the BBC has essentially echoed Washington’s call for war be it in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria or elsewhere.
As for Democracy Now! – while I wouldn’t throw out “the baby with the bathwater” – there is much of value in that program, it’s international reporting is disappointing where it concerns the Middle East and Africa
– It bought into the hysteria that softened public opinion to support the U.S. orchestrated NATO war on Libya,
– it’s reporting on Syria is nothing short of supporting al Nusra, and like terrorist organizations that it refers to as the “moderate opposition”
– and so far on the U.S. hybrid war against Ethiopia it’s reporting, frankly, reflects its continued support of U.S. military intervention (direct or through proxies) based on the false pretext of humanitarian intervention.
Neither the Black Alliance for Peace nor Answer have fallen into that trap… No small achievement.
All this is to say, that there is an unprecedented disinformation, media campaign directed against the Ethiopian government – one that will continue as Ajama Barack noted in recent remarks – for sometime into the future and that we must continue to deconstruct the lies and half truths on what is happening in Ethiopia – to undermine this false narrative and to replace it with a more objective and honest explanation of what is transpiring in the Horn and what the United States is up to there and why…
It is demonstrations like this one, – along with other efforts that have been made – that are beginning to challenge and undermine this false mainstream narrative – along with friends in the Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali Communities here in the USA, and the participation of groups like our rally sponsors here – that will make the difference
Concerning U.S. policy towards Ethiopia – the apparent shift of recent times from being an important “regional ally” to now a full blown adversary… just a few remarks for you to consider..
Mostly here I am responding to certain, ideas, misconceptions as I see it, concerning the policy
1. While no doubt it is the Biden Administration that has intensified its hybrid warfare against Ethiopia it is both naive and misguided as some have done, to blame the Democrats and let the Republicans off the hook.
When it comes to U.S. global geopolitics – America’s attempt to maintain its global empire – the policies are bipartisan. Both parties are involved – certainly at the leadership level – and what they argue over are frankly minor tactical considerations, no more.
Let us remember that before the Biden Administration engaged in its open full scale lovefest with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front that it was none other than Donald Trump in unsettled and racist statements spoke about “shit hole countries” and actually publicly encouraged Egypt bombing Ethiopia’s Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project to freeze it completion
That is one point..
The last point… what is driving U.S. policy today in Ethiopia and Africa as a whole… while there are a number of factors, the one that makes to most sense to me is U.S. competition with China over Africa’s raw materials and natural resources. And it is part and parcel of the current growing U.S. policy – enshrined in a number of key government documents – to deny China its rightful place as a major competitor to Washington on the world scene.
How does Washington – Democratic or Republican Administrations – complete with China in Africa and doesn’t it compete?
– It establishes AFRICOM, whose main mission, far from “fighting terrorism” in Africa is to control and assure U.S. access to the African continent’s rich natural wealth, an organization that should be dismantled as it sows instability and war rather than development and peace.
– Now, through its proxy the TPLF, it tries to stifle rather than enhance Ethiopia’s place as a regional forces for good, for regional prosperity, greater economic and social regional integration.
– U.S. policy towards Ethiopia bares an unfortunate but uncanny comparison to past misadventures – Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and beyond the region its choke hold on Cuba, Venezuela come to mind. The Libyan comparison has been made repeatedly recently, especially by Ajamu Baraka, the Black Alliance for Peace’s co-founder and spokesperson.
If the Biden Administration actually wanted to help Ethiopia – rather than destabilize it – it would help with the financing of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam rather than doing whatever to sabotage Ethiopia’s attempts to get loans from international lending outlets
If the Biden Administration actually wanted to help Ethiopia – rather than attacking China for its infrastructural projects in Ethiopia, it would help build the country’s road and public transportation network rather than covertly and overtly supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation attempts to wreck the country’s development efforts.
Let us prevent Ethiopia from becoming the world’s next Libya – with all the consequences that entails..
– No more U.S. intervention
– Respect Ethiopia’s Democracy
– No More Support for TPLF Insurrectionists\
Same demonstration in S. Africa