Monday, January 22, 2007

Dilemma of a Horn

[posted by Callimachus]

Using an Ethiopian proxy, American aims were achieved rather neatly and on the cheap. The financial costs and the investment of American prestige was remarkably low while the gains have been relatively high.

Doesn't that sound familiar? Ethiopundit says it should. Low expectations for democracy and willingness to work with "our S.O.B." in the Horn of Africa -- cold-blooded Cold War tactics don't seem to energize the anti-war activists the way Neo-Con dreams do.

"The US has made great sacrifices in Iraq to see elections held and has put itself in the middle of significant armed civil strife for a vision of long term American interest that is breathtaking in scope.

So there you have it - in Iraq, American policy has been based on the 'audacity of hope' that long term American interests would be served by the establishment of a democratic society in the middle of the Arab world.

In Ethiopia, American policy has been based on 'low expectations' that hold that 'sure Meles is an S.O.B but he is our S.O.B.' This has included US government representatives approaching opposition leaders in prison to drop their struggle for democracy in concern for events in Somali politics.

This is comparable to many other times in modern history where the blood of Ethiopians seemed cheap compared to those of others. Back in the same month in 1977 when Steve Biko was killed in South Africa, literally hundreds if not thousands of Ethiopian students were killed in every Ethiopian city by the Dergue. Does anyone besides the living relatives of those Ethiopian victims know their names? Probably not.

To take the South African example further, imagine if Ethiopia's current regime was made up of ferenjis [foreigners]. The world would be angry about what was happening to those poor Ethiopians but since her tormentors look like their victims and since little is expected of Ethiopians anyway - none of it seems to matter very much."

In the end, he has no choice but to accept an inconsistency:

Islamism is a mortal threat to civilization. However, the way that Islamism is being dealt with in the Horn of Africa will do lasting harm to Ethiopians and ultimately to American interests. Not because the military option was used - sometimes that is the only option.

The harm will come from the mortal threat to Ethiopia of continuing and worsening Meles Inc. rule that such shortsighted American support guarantees. Sometimes there are no simple answers.

[hat tip: Booker Rising]

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