Why Bring Eritrea in from the Cold? Changing United States Unjust Policy towards Eritrea: The Art of Manipulation, and Calculated Deception, and Eritrean Political adroitness
By Mebrahtu Asfaha,
Recently, the United States and the European Union have taken a conciliatory tone towards Eritrea by encouraging clearly manifested language of peace and inclusion. Thus, articles with headings “Time to Bring Eritrea in from the Cold” by Hank Cohen, “Time to Bring Eritrea in from the Cold (But It’s Harder than It Sounds)” by David Shinn, and “Bring Eritrea in From the Cold’ Have Proved Difficult, but We Should Still Try” by Princeton Lyman, have appeared one after another.
The three articles, at close observation, seem almost tailor made from one brain storming session. To a trained ear, they all sound singing the same music, from the same note in a big cacophony of the same orchestra, conducted, of course, by the same grand maestro.
A wise would ask who is conducting the great orchestra. Who is the grand maestro? Since music could lift the soul, and move the emotion if the instrument and the composition is harmonized; similarly a discordant note that lacks refinement and beauty could result in discordance of the soul. Therefore, any musical improvisation, before it reaches our ears, has to be scrutinized to avoid any dissonance.
Therefore, we can ask are the three articles a prelude to reconciliation, and a genuine desire to bring to an end the hostility? Or are they carefully crafted poison in a honeyed drink or an exquisite dish to make it palatable for consumption, and to condition Eritrea to the notion of dialogue? If we peel the outer shell of their manifested language of peace and inclusion, and if we expose the logical structure of their argument, is the substance and the intention of their articles going to manifest in the concept of “Dialogue” as the quintessential argument of their Peace Initiative? Or is it the rule of law that is the basis for their argument to achieve the idea of justice and implement the adjudication of the EEBC without any precondition?
Eritrea counts the final adjudication of the EEBC worth that other things are subordinate to it, and its policy vis-à-vis the border dispute has been that the implementation of the adjudication is antecedent to dialogue or any other form of negotiations. Why is Eritrea firm on this principle, one may ask? As it is stated in my previous paper The Hidden Agenda “It is because the rule of law is the basis of our freedom and shapes the common good. The true measure of our success as a country is to be found in the effort we make to achieve the idea of justice that is fundamentally based on the virtue of jurisprudence. At the pinnacle of our legal process is the court of last resort, and we have reached it through the adjudication process of Eritrean Ethiopian Border Commission. Its judges are characterized by the independence, their competence, and their integrity of mind and their width of comprehension. The learned judges acted to the best of their abilities, individual and collective, to adjudicate causes before them according to the highest principles of the law. In so doing, their judgments have rendered justice and should be implemented according to the verdict”.
The one question never asked loud is why the need to bring Eritrea in from the cold now? Are they following the ancient political dictum of keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? (Although Eritrea has never been an enemy)
Undoubtedly, there are numerous telltale signs in the articles that the art of manipulation and calculated deception is everywhere. To begin with the slinky sinuousness of the language they utilize for the title of their article. To bring “in from the cold” is an idiom, usually referred to spy agencies, to secret societies, to rebel groups, and to non-governmental entities. Further revelations, in Ambassador Princeton Lyman’s article, has come steadily clear when he said “After months of discussion on how to do this, I suggested to the Eritrean ambassador the Council sponsor a meeting between Eritrean officials and a distinguished group of Americans no longer in government, but with strong backgrounds in the region, to discuss the whole range of issues between our two countries”.
Observe, attempting to organize a meeting between a distinguished groups of Americans who are not part of the government and officials from the government of Eritrea is, to say the list, demeaning and dishonest. Now you can understand the choice of the title of their articles. .The meeting, if there was a genuine interest, should have been planned, officially, between equal government officials. Alternatively, if the intention was, as he has indicated in his article, between distinguished group of Americans, equally, could have been arranged with highest Eritrean civilian delegates who are not part of the government, but active next door in the Washington DC.
Of course, the Washington insiders would have done all they could to open again the fait accompli of the border issue. We are too familiar, unfortunately, of the trickery, from Kofi Annan, Lloyd Axworthy, Jendayi Frazer to Susan Rice, and many others in between. All the aforementioned individuals’ intentions, of course, were direct challenge to The Hague’s adjudication. When Eritrea refused to act against the stato quo of the adjudication, they tried everything from vilification to sanction, and everything they have done has failed to achieve their desired objectives.
Now what brought a change of heart? Or is it a new found truth? Or is it the realization that the crisis confronting the clientele states of the most impoverished countries of the Horn from South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya to Somalia? Or is it the realization that the disastrous policy pursued by Susan Rice in the Horn is threatening to unleash a revolution of the discontents that could topple subservient governments that they have created? Or is it post conflict management went into disarray with self-created refugees unable to accommodate them? Therefore, is this rapprochement self-interest?
Clearly, when the clientele states of the United States in the region are in the state of ethnic fragmentation as in the case of South Sudan and Ethiopia, and when their interest is at risk they must posture and appear as responsive to the needs of these countries in turmoil, and to the injustice inflicted upon Eritrea.
Throughout this period, Eritrea was able to bear all wrongs with equanimity, unflinching determination and perseverance in the midst of profound hardship. By ceaseless toil Eritrea has developed itself into a remarkable country that is in peace with itself. Eritrea’s secular governmental policies, its ambition to become self-sufficient, its assertiveness have, ultimately, made it a necessity not to bring Eritrea “in from the cold”, but to change United States unjust policy towards Eritrea for its own self-interest, and to protect its clientele states in the region. Hence, concluding paragraph of Ambassador David Shinn’s article states “Whatever Washington does in the coming months, its relationship with Addis Ababa is more important than the one with Asmara. Although the United States might decide to try again to improve relations with Eritrea, it will not do so at the expense of its ties with Ethiopia”.
In conclusion, from these three articles the closest one might come to objectivity is the need for peace in the region, and Eritrea welcomes peace anytime with dignity. The conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, has been arbitrated in the courtroom. What is needed now is the undertaking toward the demarcation of the borders, normalizations of relations, and the establishment of enduring peace between the two nations. Peace without total commitment leads to emotional strain and sadness. Peace without mutual understanding leads to greater sorrows, to family breakdown and even to enormous economic underdevelopment. Some segments in the US government and some leadership in Ethiopia have tried to accept partial peace experiment by detaching it from the border demarcation set by the United Nations Border Commission. This is why one cannot invent a meaning of brotherhood or peace to suit one’s wish or taste. Peace independently carries its own gravitational weight, inner meaning and social purpose. Its very nature is what determines the moral assessment of human personality within politics and outside it.
And that is precisely the reason president of the state of Eritrea, Isaias Afworki, in his address at the summit of Organization of African Unity now African Union when accepting Modalities for the Implementation of the OAU Framework Agreement on the Settlement of the Dispute Between Ethiopia and Eritrea indicated that “in the interests of peace, which we owe not only to the people of Eritrea but, may I add, also to the people of Ethiopia and our continent as a whole, Eritrea has decided to accept the peace. In accepting the Peace, Eritrea hopes to make its small contribution as the Year of Peace and Security; in Africa”.
Similarly, the leaders of Tigray should have an obligation and moral basis to clean their acts by virtue of their own free will and not because they are dictated by big power, and walk, as Emanuel Kant would say “Towards a Perpetual Peace” that has the power to heal both people. The acceptance of peace is not a sign of fear. It is the acceptance and respect of the notion of human brotherhood in its whole dimension.
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