Extreme Makeover: Dictator Edition
Although they were talking about the Hamas win, you could almost verbatim apply their conversation to what is happening in
Both were stunned (to the extent that uber curmudgeon Imus can be stunned by anything other that his own greatness) that the world is stunned by the Hamas win. In fact, Rose, ever the contrarian, was contemplative about why Hamas did so poorly. (Someone had a side of glib with his oatmeal, um?)
Imus asked the million dollar question:
One of the things that occurs to me is, wouldn’t you think the geniuses at the State Department in this country would have recognized the potential for this outcome?”
Right then and there I knew I should have dropped acid in college.
That’s what a lot of us interested in Ethiopian politics have been asking: What did the State Department and the EU expect would happen after the May 2005 Ethiopian elections? In one of his speeches in London, Berhanu Nega, geek-God Economist and democratically elected Mayor of Addis Abeba (who is presently, um, in prison facing willowy charges-- inciting “genocide”, condoning “treason”, and going 60 in a 40m.p.h zone) said he had lunch with EU man Tim Clarke in the days before the elections. Berhanu asked Clarke what contingency plan the EU and donor nations had if the opposition won. Tim coughed delicately into his monogrammed handkerchief and patted Berhanu on the head. Okay, that part didn’t happen. But Tim was very clear that it was the diplomatic world’s “understanding” that the EPRDF and Ato Meles would be the clear winners, sans perhaps a few seats, which would prove that this was a democratic undertaking. “Now,” said Clarke, “Can we order some sweet and sour chicken?”… Okay, I made that last part up. (In fact he had ordered ginger sautéed beef.)
It didn’t even enter the smallest recesses of EU’s mind that there was the slight probability that Ethiopians were sick and tired of being sick and tired of Prime Minister Meles’ gloriously inept government. Prime Minister Meles, after all, was Tony Blair’s buddy, an ally in the war on terror, hell, Meles was notorious for wearing suits and ties while sipping tea with his pinkie raised. pinkies.
Waiter, I’ll take my fortune cookie now.
Well, a funny thing happened on the way to democracy. EPRDF had its behind handed to it, all gift wrapped with pages from “Revolutionary Democracy.” Dilemma for the West. Stunned, they were, much like the same state of stunnhood we all are that Hamas, freakin’ Hamas won a democratic election!
So, wasn’t the west promoting democracy in
Tom Rose on the Hamas win:
A thing of beauty when déjà vu moments collide.
Even with the Prime Minister Meles’ appalling human rights record, his ravenous appetite for crony capitalism and predatory tendencies towards those who oppose his will (Donald Levine is on record as saying that PM Meles said if the opposition wants power it should do what he did: raise arms and fight. Hm. Add two cups of Lithium and drink slowly), the west convinced itself that once Ato Meles started traveling in private jets and using electric razors things would change. Let’s give the boy a good bath and scrub and ta-da! Meet your statesman. Blair asked Ato Meles into the Africa Commission. How can anyone, anyone, so the thinking went, who was personal friends with angel-faced Blair not magically transform into a democracy-loving, freedom-y smelling, bundle of liberty?
So money poured into
If Hamas was the West’s bogeyman in the
Imus asked Rose again why the West failed to see the outcome of the Hamas victory?
Rose hits the nail square on the head:
Because we can’t for some reason, and by ‘we’ I mean Americans, Europeans and Israelis, we can’t get past, we can’t break out of this notion or concept that free societies are not created from the bottom up and not the top down. You can’t invest authority or power into a corrupt leader and then expect him to transform a society into one that is consistent with and in sync with democratic principles and the ideals of co-existence and peace.
Imus and Rose share a frustration: “When the hell will we ever learn?” How can the west keep on making the same mistake over and over again? Young men and women, and in some cases boys and girls, are facing down Ato Meles’s army of thugs. These kids have been rounded up, beaten and killed, yet they come back and face an army that has been instructed to aim at their heads. And yet the kids come back with nothing more than anger, strong will and stones.
And yet, for the umpteenth time, the West, instead of being on the side of people who want to raise the ‘V’ sign without being arrested, finds itself on the side of the folks who run around in Humvees, occasionally using kids as target practice. It’s almost like an addiction.
The EU and the
A Rose by any other name is still a Rose. Speak, oh, outraged one:
We have done nothing, virtually nothing to encourage independent Palestinians to develop and economic and political platform designed to better the lives of Palestinians. Instead what has happened is there was one alternative to the corrupt, horrendously corrupt, ossified organization Fatah-- and that was Hamas, which we let the corrupt Palestinian leadership always appear as our bogeyman. “You gotta support us or these bad guys are gonna win.”
Now why does that sound familiar in the Ethiopian case? Ethiopundit brilliantly debunks the theory that Ato Meles is the only able partner in the war against terror in what has become bible for people with triple digit IQs. No More Appeasement is a must read.
Tommy boy, bring us home:
Well, there was a third option which we punted on and the irony here is that the President Bush’s three-and-a-half year campaign to promote democracy missed a central message here which is surprising and shocking to me, and that it is our middle east approach has lacked the very moral clarity that the president had demonstrated quite admirably vis-à-vis
People who are free and societies which respect that freedom are in the West’s interest. When Ethiopians see the EU/US siding with a government which has been fiddling with elections, torture and killings, seeds of anti-west sentiments are sown. And the last time
Something has gone horribly wrong when in the 21st century communist freaks lead countries such as
Still, Tom Rose is optimistic.
The silver lining is, and I am somewhat reluctant we’ll learn the lesson, we can finally learn the lesson that freedom comes from the bottom up and not the other way around.
Imus interrupts Rose. “Well, that’s not going to happen.”
Ethiopians will eventually take care of Meles because they have the will to do so and because moral clarity is on their side. It just would have been nice, just for once, to know that the EU and these great
"All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know...
- President Bush