What’s Wrong with U.S. Policy for Ethiopia and Africa?

What’s Wrong With U.S. Policy For Ethiopia and Africa?

Lawrence Freeman, July 31, 2021

Knowledgeable American analysts of U.S.-African relations are disturbed by the U.S. government’s treatment of Ethiopia.  In the first six months of the Biden Presidency, we have witnessed a dramatic reversal of U.S. support for a long standing ally in the Horn of Africa.  Ethiopia, the second largest nation in Africa, has been a regional leader, with its bold economic vision to improve the lives of its 110 million people.  

Ethiopia has achieved two major accomplishments under the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed during June and July. First, the successful June 21st national elections, and second, the natural partial filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Regrettably, there were no robust congratulations from President Biden for either achievement. Following the freest, fairest, and most peaceful elections in Ethiopia’s history, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken’s only comment was: “the United States commends those who exercised their right to vote on June 21.”  Unusual for elections in Africa, not one individual died in Ethiopia’s voting process. In contrast, several Americans died during the January 6th, violent protest of the U.S. electoral vote.  

Equally astonishing, President Biden failed to praise the second filling of almost 14 billion cubic meters of water in the reservoir of the GERD, which will lead to production of electricity later this year. Following in the footsteps of former President Trump, the Biden administration and the Democrat controlled Congress, have tried to discourage Ethiopia from filling the GERD. Despite Ethiopia’s important role in Africa, Prime Minister Abiy’s notable reform movement, and the success of his Prosperity Party, President Biden has never talked to the Prime Minister.

Patient voters during the June 21, Ethiopian election

America’s Agenda for Democracy

Secretary of State Blinken along with several other officials from the Obama administration are leading President Biden’s global foreign policy with their mantra: “democracy, human rights, and rule of law.” But what do these words mean other than a desire to impose their world order on other nations.

Prime Minister Abiy’s non-ethnic based Prosperity Party won overwhelmingly in a democratic election deemed fair, free of violence and intimidation, and credible. Ethiopia Election: A Vote for Peace, Unity, and Prosperity.  Millions of Ethiopians approved of Prime Minister Abiy’s policies, giving him a mandate to lead for another five years. That is democracy.

Shouldn’t “human rights” include the most fundamental right; the right for human beings to live a productive and dignified life?  How is that possible when Africans are suffering from abject poverty, lack of food, clean water, and electricity.  It is not possible. 

The solution lies in physical economic development that transforms the conditions of life. As the Ethiopians are fond of saying: “eliminate poverty, don’t manage it.” Aid is not sufficient. Building vital infrastructure is an absolute necessity, not an option. More than anything else, African nations need electricity—a thousand gigawatts at least. Africa needs a minimum of 50,000 kilometers of high speed railroads.  With the billions of dollars in aid given to African nations, transformative infrastructure projects could have been built. Isn’t the right to electricity a human right?

Then, why hasn’t Ethiopia been profusely praised for building the GERD to produce 6,200 megawatts (6.2 gigawatts) of electricity. Physical economic development is the most fundamental of human rights.

Prime Minister Abiy, responded to the attacks on the Ethiopian National Defense Force, (November 4, 2020), by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), as a leader should.  He used the military capability of his nation to defeat the enemy within Ethiopia. Whatever grievances the TPLF might have had, a violent assault on the government’s military, is an insurrection.  Americans have learned that lesson afresh on January 6th.  Preserving the sovereign nation-state  from a rebel insurgency, is the most supreme responsibility of a Head of State. There is no higher “rule of law,” as President Abraham Lincoln properly understood.

U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

U.S.-Africa Policy; Does It Exist?

There are several components of U.S. policy towards Africa that undermine Ethiopia’s noteworthy effort to become a self-governing economically independent nation.

First, the U.S. does not have a long term development policy for Africa. It is willing to spend billions of dollars on short term aid, but nothing for large scale infrastructure that would actually improve living conditions. Despite all the attacks, and rantings against China and its Belt and Road, if China were to pull out of Africa it would negatively impact the continent.  That is because the U.S. would not step in to fill the vacuum. Sadly, the last U.S. President that understood the importance of physical economic development in Africa, and acted on it, was John F. Kennedy.   

Second, one cannot underestimate the general level of  ignorance about Africa in U.S. society, especially our elected officials. Yes, there are a few members of Congress who have some knowledge about a few African nations.  However, I can report to you with authority, after observing Washington for decades, that the overwhelming majority of Congress, have little knowledge of the actual dynamics, when implementing legislation affecting African nations, Overall, there is no in-depth historical understanding of the African continent or the nations that comprise it.   

Third, the continent of Africa is close to last on the list of priorities for American Presidents. Often, U.S. policy for African nations is rarely articulated until the second year of a president’s term, except for the standard four page “talking points” paper on Africa.

Why African Leaders Are Opposed

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam-GERD, upper right, will drive economic development in East Africa with its 6,200 megawatts of electrical power.

This final point may be the most difficult for many readers to comprehend.

Following the liberation of African nations from the yoke of colonialism  three score years ago, African leaders, who fight to improve conditions of life on the continent, always face opposition from within and without.  There exists a financial-political elite, perhaps identified as an oligarchy, who see Africa for its material resources and financial gain. They attempt to exploit nations through international finance, manipulated terms of trade, and raw material prices controlled by the City of London based commodity cartels. 

The key concerns of the neo-colonialist financial institutions have always been, if they cannot control the leadership of a country, a  “divide and conquer” tactic is employed to weaken that nation.  War and chaos are the preferred fallback alternatives to losing command of the targeted nation.

They have always opposed genuine development programs that would lift a nation out of poverty, and abhor strong governments and leaders that aspire to national sovereignty. Their ideology is dominated by “geo-politics” that sees the world as a zero sum game of winners and losers.  Those with the most political and financial power are the winners. They have little desire to eliminate poverty. Except for the last one to two decades of China’s intervention, the West has dominated the African continent, with no demonstrable proof that their policies have improved the standard of living for the majority of Africans. Any progress in Africa is the result of national leaders, not Western policy.  

Abiy is seen as a strong leader with enough personal determination to move his nation forward, as evidenced in the rise of the Prosperity Party, which was founded in opposition to ethno-nationalism.

The most recent vivid example of the elimination of an African leader was the overthrow and assassination of President Muammar Gaddafi, followed by the destruction of Libya. Remember this was done by the “liberal” Obama administration, led by then Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power. Many of those same operatives from the Obama era are now part of the Biden Administration. Have those individuals admitted their culpability in creating the failed state of Libya, and the destruction of North Africa after Gaddafi’s removal? Those same cast of characters are attempting to undermine Ethiopia today with their fake and hollow cries for “democracy, rule of law and human rights.”

There is often a coincidence of action and interests between those insisting on implementing their “liberal” doctrine, and the objectives of the political financial elites.

Samantha Power, then U.N. Ambassador under President Obama, and now head of USAID under President Biden. (courtesy of axios.com)

Almost nine months after Prime Minister Abiy chose to defend his nation, the TPLF, now been rebranded the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), continues their violent attacks on the state of Ethiopia. After the June 28, unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by the government of Ethiopia, the TDF has launched offensive military deployments against two neighboring regions; Afar and Amhara. Not surprisingly, there have been no statements of condemnation of TDF by the Biden administration or Congress.  Blinken, and the Congress have never  acknowledged Ethiopia’s declaration that the TPLF/TDF is a terrorist organization. Instead, they continued to insist on reconciliation. Thus, establishing an equivalency between a duly constituted government and a rebel insurrectionist militia that is intent on destroying the nation of Ethiopia. This crucial failure, to withhold support from the government of Prime Minister Abiy, is contributing to Ethiopia’s turmoil today.

U.S.-Ethiopia Today

Is the U.S. lack of support for Prime Minister Abiy, encouraging the TDF to continue fighting?  Is the U.S. today still demanding reconciliation with the insurrectionists who have announced their intention to march on Addis Ababa, the capital? Will the TDF military campaigns against other regions spark a greater war?  If the conflict spreads in Ethiopia, will the U.S. accept responsibility for their encouragement of the TDF?

Who benefits if Ethiopia is torn apart by war? As the case of Libya has demonstrated; not Africans.  If Ethiopia was to be torn apart in inter-ethnic warfare, tens of millions of Africans, not just Ethiopians, would suffer extreme hardship.

It is not too late for the Biden administration to correct its policy towards Ethiopia, before more Africans suffer from the spread of ethno-nationalist war.  

Watch my 20 minute interview below, where I discuss the conflict between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, the filling of the GERD, and U.S. policy towards Ethiopia.

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Prime Logue/Media Interviews Lawrence Freeman in Addis Ababa: “Without the Elimination of Poverty, There Will Be No Democracy in Africa”

May 10, 2021

On April 30th. I was interviewed in Addis Ababa by Prime Logue/Media for an hour. The interview is separated into four parts.

For those of you who do not have the time to view the entire interview, I would suggest you watch Part 4-16 minutes long. Here, I outline my development policy for Africa. In this, the 22nd century, the African continent will be the focus of strategic policy for the world. My policy starts from recognizing the uniquely human power of creative reason. The key question for policy makers should be how do we develop human beings. True democracy, cannot flourish unless and until poverty is eliminated. The nation state must be strengthened to provide for successive generations of its people. “The leadership of the U.S. does not understand, or want to understand, that the key to  supporting Africa is development.”   

Topics discussed in Part 1 include: Nigeria, refurbishing Lake Chad, Lalibela, Tigray, humanitarian assistance, Covid19 vaccinations in Africa.

Topics discussed in Part 2 include: poverty, developing Ethiopia, the nation-state, regime change in Libya, TPLF attack in Mekele, genocide, human rights.

Topics discussed in Part 3 include: US-Africa policy, flaws in Ethiopia Constitution, GERD, Egypt, Ethiopian identity, June 5 elections.

Topics discussed in Part 4 include. Slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, reason, agape, food, electricity, desperation, jobs, ICC,

Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in economic development policies for Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com. Mr. Freeman’s stated personal mission is; to eliminate poverty and hunger in Africa by applying the scientific economic principles of Alexander Hamilton

Human Rights Philosophy Challenged

Mekki Elmograbi Press Writer

By Makki Elmorgabi

Why the bill of indictment, and why against Human Rights Philosophy; not just against what the pretenders of the philosophy practice. Pretenders are advocates and activists, some of whom are deceivers, and some are dreamers.

The problem is not simply in the practice, but there is something inherently wrong with today’s human rights philosophy itself. It was not a negative philosophy during the period of aristocratic tyranny and feudalism,but in the recent period it has become negative and resistant to reform. While in the time of traditional tyrannical power, human rights had a role, but in the modern era, the dominant form of human rights philosophy has taken on a different and negative quality.

In the battle to resist the traditional tyrannical authority inherited from the time of European feudalism, the philosophy was positive. In addition to which, the philosophy of “individual secularism” was a positive force in the battle against the authoritarianism of socialism and communism during the cold war. However, after it had become the dominant school of thought for almost two decades, the evil content of this philosophy appeared.

Human Rights gradually became a reactionary philosophy, resulting in it losing its progressive aspects.

It is true that in the West, human rights are based on “individual secularism” which drives communities to a state of war (state of nature), by isolating the individual from the community. As is commonly known, the social contract theory of democracy is based on the development of communities from the individual in the “state of nature.” From this social contract is born civil society. Human Rights philosophy today is again isolating the individual, and separating him not just from the community, but from his inheritance and source of ethics.

The modern individual motivated by human rights theory, thinks about himself in his moment, and in so doing he is distancing himself from his community, traditions, inherited ethics, and much more. Through individual rights, he returns to the “status quo” of being completely dominated by his wicked, evil, selfish needs and wants. The result is that the community is returning day by day to “the state of nature.” The wicked personality is coated by fake culture, fake arguments, and the media; even the laws and its practice are full of tricks. As a result, justice is denied and abandoned!

Five Charges against Human Rights Philosophy and its Pretenders

1)…Human Rights Philosophy is tyrannical, i.e., it is vulnerable to manipulation by tyranny. The reason for its vulnerability to manipulation is that people are divided and scattered on the basis of needs, demands, and wants, that are guided and directed by powerful groups, who are conflicted and competing among themselves. The so-called activists and pretenders of human rights are mostly under the control of these powerful groupings who control the discourse of what are the appropriate human rights issues for agitation. The powerful, rich and strong decide, then the activists and interventionists follow. The pretenders often attempt to portray a false image that they are attacking “the powers that be” but, in truth they are not working for the sake of human rights, but for national and international powers pulling the strings behind the scene.

2)…Human Rights Philosophy is a divisive, discriminatory, and violent philosophy, not integrative nor peaceful. It creates, generates, and invents more differences every day among, and between groups, communities and even nations. In actuality, human rights philosophy does not simply invent differences, but encourages and drives the communities mad to accept and defend any newly-discovered differences among them. Thus, putting any person, group or even a nation overseas,under imminent threat and “justified” intervention, if they refuse the newly discovered differences.Their philosophy uses inflammatory campaigns under the justification of taking rights from the grip of other people peacefully, but the size and the effects of their campaigns leads otherwise. Violence is an absolute result of such inflammatory campaigns in a cracked community. If adopting and practicing inflammatory and provocative campaigns between groups, races, classes, and sects, is not violence, then what is?

3)…Human Rights Philosophy eliminates and denies the people’s right to information, as human rights pretenders are addicted to using silence and distracting facts on other topics to deprive their audience from needed and correct information.

Human rights pretenders’ tools are disinformation, misinformation, passive silence and distractive campaigns. A smart mix of these things is always ready to be put in place for immediate operation by well-financed tyrannical powers.

Sometimes human rights organizations give themselves the right to prioritize the size and length of campaigns. They claim that they didn’t miss any violations, but they can keep what they want low-profile, and use minute by minute updates to create massive. They design poll questions to bring specific answers, and they produce fake and rigged studies and statistics, instead of being observers and monitors. They themselves are the ones that need to be monitored, observed and investigated for the good of society. If the Human Rights Philosophy is leading people to such a waste of money and time, then their philosophy itself should be reviewed.

4)…Human Rights Philosophy pretenders are dehumanizing their opponents, mainly conservative and religious people, portraying them as monsters and barbarians. They deny their opponents the right of freedom of expression, justifying lies and fake news against them. Their methods include physical violence or when suitable they utilize passive silence and distraction in collusion with the violence.

5)…Human Rights pretenders collude with interventionists and neo-colonialists to create and prolong conflicts in Third World nations through pressure groups, NGOs, and support from elements within international liberal organizations. They drag countries into wars, regime change with chaos, or “Creative Anarchy”. Human rights pretenders follow the angle of the war and the directions of interventionists, then they distance themselves and pretend that it was not their idea even after very strong collusion. However, the fact remains that they get benefits through organizations that live off conflicts, refugees, and disasters. They manipulate innocent human rights believers and dreamers from the Third World. There is a class of people now making business from this collusion. They have not been held accountable for their corruption, and abuses to humanitarian crisis and use of donor’s money, because of the difficulty in investigating and proving their criminal behavior. They live off the collusion with interventionism, but claim they are opposed to it

Human Values Not Human Rights

I call for Human Values as an alternative to Human Rights today’s philosophy and practice. Another article has explained this thoroughly, but still we need to deal and debate with Human Rights philosophy and its advocate, in spite of the fact that a great number of them are “pretenders and paraders”.

Although human rights philosophy is resistant to reform, it is still advisable to try to solve the corruption of this philosophy by contributing to the debate of reform among the pretenders, who claim the title of activists and advocates. Trying to reform will help to create a good climate for change. However, we should redefine human rights philosophy in a broader concept of a “Comprehensive Orientation for Human, Environmental and Peoples’ Rights.”

Mekki ELMOGRABI, is a Sudanese press writer and diplomat focuses on East Africa issues, he founded in 2011 Mekki Center and participated in several African initiatives and programs. He is currently in Washington DC and reached through (Mekki Elmograbi: Google, Facebook, twitter) or chairman@mekkicenter.com  Cell Phone +17033426346 (Preferably text or Whatsaap)