By Yohannes Kifle,
The minority regime in Ethiopia believed its relationship with the West was for eternity. Unfortunately, for the minority regime, the West believes friendship is predicated on how much its own interests are protected. In other words, it will come down to “what have you done for me lately”.
The former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said, “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests”. Kissinger wasn’t the first to make such a statement. The two-time British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, was also quoted to have said, “Britain had no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies, only interests that were eternal and perpetual”.
One can only interpret the statement as follows: Our friends must serve our interests; therefore, they will remain our friends. And at the same time we have no problem sleeping with our enemies as long as it serves our interests. Our past friends may become our enemies as today’s enemies potentially become our future friends.
The minority regime in Ethiopia that is known for building diplomatic relationships with the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” mantra must not have gotten the memo that had been out there since the mid-19th century and echoed by Henry Kissinger in the late 60s.
During the 1998/2000 war between the minority regime-led Ethiopia and Eritrea, some Ethiopian intellectuals and political groups that were against the minority regime were in fact siding with the regime assuming it would deliver “access to the sea” as promised behind the scene in its effort to galvanize support from its citizens. The regime painted Eritrea as number one enemy of Ethiopia. Given the political landscape at the time Eritrea wasn’t favored by some Ethiopians.
The incompetent minority regime of Ethiopia’s foreign and domestic policies seems to imitate one another. The regime was quick to embrace any country or institution that hates Eritrea for its own advantage. At the same time, domestically, the regime is known for sniffing trouble areas to create antagonism between two separate ethnic groups and political parties in order to gain political capital that ultimately has become a permanent debt. The minority regime in Ethiopia is well known for one thing: amassing debt literally and figuratively.
Challenged with economic and political crisis in governing one of the largest populations in the continent of Africa, the minority regime in Ethiopia is on the verge of collapsing. Amassing $14 billion dollars of debt that is virtually impossible for the nation to sustain, the regime is too busy worrying about the political debts it has accumulated in the past twenty years. While begging and borrowing money to keep up with the swelling expense of maintaining its security apparatus and hoping its allies will pick up the tab, the political debt is the one that will ultimately suffocate the regime to oblivion. The genesis of the regime’s political crisis domestically or otherwise started the day it decided to divide and conquer its own people under ethnic federalism, the fatal decision to invade Eritrea and its involvement in Somalia’s internal affairs in the name of fighting terrorism. The strategic mistakes made by the minority regime were too costly to overcome and it is only a matter of time before fate intervenes.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend
The Ethiopian minority regime always treated Eritrea as their number one enemy. Despite the fact that the regime accepted Eritrea’s independence for its own valid reason, some never believed it was a genuine gesture. The regime was always waiting to attack Eritrea at a favorable moment. That opportunity presented itself due to the unannounced fallout between the government of Eritrea and the West. The minority regime lent itself to be a tool of the higher bidder as the West was trying to replace the current government of Eritrea.
One has to remember that the minority regime is known for its lack of vision. The track record shows that “penny wise and pound foolish” decisions were made time and time again. Internally, the inept regime was dividing Ethiopians under ethnic federalism and hopes to keep them apart for its own interests. The irresponsible minority regime took its irrational behavior to the next level by exposing the future generation of Ethiopia to unpredictable path. Future relationship with neighboring countries is predicted to be unstable. Most certainly its irresponsible action in Somalia’s affairs may invite impending conflict between the two nations unless the two victimized peoples of both nations start the reconciliation process now.
What have you done for me lately?
After the war with Eritrea was over, the minority regime was confronted by its own citizens about the outcome of the war. Despite the fact that the regime declared victory over Eritrea, access to the sea was the main trophy the supporters of the regime expected to win. When the facts were discovered, the regime not only lost the war, the cost to conduct the war both financially and in human costs was enormous. Those who once believed Eritrea was the enemy started to recognize that the actual enemy of Ethiopia and its people is in fact the regime itself.
It is no longer obscure that Ethiopia is heading to a dangerous path that may threaten its unity and perhaps its survival as a nation. The potential trouble in which the nation finds itself also brings impending conflict with its neighbors. While Ethiopia is trapped in a quagmire of dealing with potential ethnic conflict that may result in its disintegration, the minority regime is also in a serious predicament. The regime is no longer capable of controlling Ethiopia. Therefore, it will be difficult for the regime to protect its allies’ interests. The West will no longer benefit from the regime’s prolonged power. The West will come to realize its interests will not be protected by a minority regime that created enemies, including 95 million of its own people. It will not be long before its allies start jumping off the bandwagon.
The peoples of both Ethiopia and Eritrea are heading in the right direction to secure their eternal interests while building perpetual friendship. Something that is possible to achieve once the minority regime in Ethiopia is out of the way. The world we live in has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. The minority regime in Ethiopia is about to learn the hard lesson soon.