The Obama policy of “we are deeply concerned’’ is killing Ethiopians

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Jul 29th, 2014

by Teshome Debalke
It appears the unofficial policy of the Obama Administration on Ethiopia is ‘ignore the crime –’ translated in political speak ‘we are… concerned’. But, the official policy is; partnership with the Ethiopian Apartheid regime known for its extensive atrocities and corruption is a good thing for the economic and security interest of the America. Prevailing US foreign policy

Though the PR stunt of ‘we are… concerned’ is not new in diplomatic lingo at home and abroad, it is the only consistent word that comes out of the present and the successive US Administrations regarding the ‘friendly regime’ in Ethiopia in the last 23 years as the Obama Administration’s term approach to end.

In short, the legacy of the first American President with African roots and the Hope President to change America’s relationship with Africa depots is going to end up as ‘empty-word President’ that bolster African depots than any other President in US history.

The lesson, US African policy is outsourced for individuals like Susan Rice with a personal interest to override American interest. Rice, the Former US Ambassador at the United Nation and the present Senior Security Adviser for the Obama Administration is considered African expert single handedly decides the fate of US interest in Africa and the lives of millions of Africans with a stroke of a pen nearly for two decades.

Rice close relationship with brutal regimes in Africa started in the early 90s under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a longtime mentor and family friend before she became Assistance Secretory for African Affairs during the Clinton Administration.

JOHN PRENDERGAST, a special adviser to Susan Rice then defending her record on an Op Ed confirmed she alone ‘redefine’ the prevailing policy we see up to now. He wrote;

‘When I first set foot in the White House at the end of 1996, with Rice as Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council, I found her leading a dynamic policy process that sought to redefine America’s relationship with Africa in a way that a lifelong Africanist like me didn’t think was possible. Rice worked tirelessly to build new opportunities for two-way trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa that led to more growth and jobs on both sides of the ocean. She helped expand a truly bipartisan collection of influential senators and House members who prioritized partnering with Africa over patronizing it.

I watched her from afar build that investment and trade strategy, expand debt relief opportunities, fight for more security resources for our embassies throughout Africa, create more efficient foreign aid efforts, and conceive numerous additional U.S. initiatives that provided mutual benefit to African nations and to the United States”

Almost two decade later, on Sep of 2012, Rice traveled to Ethiopia and ’gave a personal tribute (video) at the funeral of the late Prime Minster Melse Zenawi expressing her long friendship and admiration. (Here is the official transcript of the speech).
The same year Rice made the praising speech, the State Department where she worked and still works in its 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices reviles a complete picture of her speech;

“Security forces generally reported to civilian authorities; however, there were instances in which special police and local militias acted independently of civilian control.

The most significant human rights problems included restrictions on freedom of expression and association through politically motivated trials and convictions of opposition political figures, activists, journalists, and bloggers, as well as increased restrictions on print media. In July security forces used force against and arrested Muslims who protested against alleged government interference in religious affairs. The government continued restrictions on civil society and nongovernmental organization (NGO) activities imposed by the Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO

‘Other human rights problems included arbitrary killings; allegations of torture, beating, abuse, and mistreatment of detainees by security forces; reports of harsh and at times life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; detention without charge and lengthy pretrial detention; a weak, overburdened judiciary subject to political influence; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights, including illegal searches; allegations of abuses in the implementation of the government’s “villagization” program; restrictions on academic freedom; restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, and movement; alleged interference in religious affairs; limits on citizens’ ability to change their government; police, administrative, and judicial corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women and abuse of children; female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C); exploitation of children for economic and sexual purposes; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against persons with disabilities; clashes between ethnic minorities; discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation and against persons with HIV/AIDS; limits on worker rights; forced labor; and child labor, including forced child labor.”

It is clear the impunity she operate under and the complete breakdown of oversight. Whether it is because of low priority given to Africa to begin with or .it is the official policy it is hard to say. The lack of advocacy to point out the vast disparity of the State Department’s report and the Administration action didn’t help either. But, what is not debatable is, Susan Rice continued to be the center of the contradictions with no accountability whatsoever.

What other possible explanation can be drawn from such lack of transparency?

Frankly, the war on terror appear cover up for something else altogether. Regardless, what does a high-level US official doing praising a small time depot that caused havoc in the nation and the region goes way beyond and above national security concern.

Two years later, addressing the Center for a New American Security Annual Conference in June 11, 2014 the National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice remarked;

“For, however much we might like to, we rarely can force nations to respect the rights of their citizens. So we must catalyze the international community to uphold universal values, build broad coalitions to advance human rights, and impose costs on those who violate them” she went on;.

“Human rights must be protected for everyone, especially traditionally marginalized communities such as ethnic or religious minorities, LGBT persons, migrant workers, and people with disabilities. That’s why President Obama decided to join the UN Human Rights Council, so we could lead in reforming that flawed institution from within. In fact, we have made it more effective. Because of our efforts, the Council has spent far more time spotlighting abuses in Qadhafi’s Libya, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Iran than demonizing Israel.”

As expected, no African depots’ violations were important enough to mention one country out of 54 countries of Africa. Instead, U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit was announced by the Administration to be held in Washington, DC on August 5 and 6, 2014 with the objective of;

“The Summit will build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.”

Is there any sensible African American organization or mainstream civil society out there to stop the madness of the Administration’s policy of giving free pass to African depots?

As a citizen, I took an oath to defend the Constitution from foreign and domestic enemies. But, I am having difficulty to figure out whether to defend the Constitution from the depots that produce the enemies or only from those that facilitate them.

I believe the lack of transparency in the prevailing US foreign policy to acknowledge the principal treat for America’s security are the world’s depots that produce her enemies faster than bread and butter.

Quite frankly, the Obama Administration’s unconditional invitation of African depots to the nation capital next week is not only a slap on the face to all Africans but, an insult to the legitimate leaders of a dozen African countries that would be treated the same as the depot counterparts.

Professor Al Mariam yet on another powerful article titled ‘Cirque d’ Afrique: 2014 U.S-Africa Leaders’ Summit’ dissected the policy of no policy. At least, the Administration should respect and acknowledge the legitimate African leaders from the depots out of respect for the people of Africa. Moreover, a little more sensitivity to the African Diaspora that sought political asylum from the same depots would go a long way from the ‘change president’ to ‘hope president’.

Unless and until US foreign policy is shaped by leaders that appreciate the essence of the Constitution and the value of democracy, it is inventible America would sooner or later look more and more like the African depots ruled nations that chased out their citizens as refugees. The Administrations to host our tormenters to come and wine-and-dine in the Capital of the free world can only be possible with the mindset of Susan Rice’s brilliance to go across the world to honor a depot.

I can only say, God save Africa and America!

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