By Andrew Korybko
American political analyst
The “Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace, and Democracy Act” (ESPDA), popularly known as the “Malinowski Bill” after one of the congressmen who introduced it, doesn’t support either stabilization, peace, or democracy. Rather, it’s the most malicious form of humanitarian imperialism short of a Libyan-like all-out war. ESPDA has mostly been reported to concern sanctions against individuals who the US determines to have either imported “restricted” military equipment, impeded the flow of humanitarian assistance, and/or have been involved in “genocide”, “war crimes”, and “crimes against humanity”.
There are several other provisions though that haven’t received all that much attention but definitely deserve to be more widely discussed. The first to touch upon concerns the US’ official strategy as enshrined in this bill to “combat hate speech and disinformation in Ethiopia, including efforts to coordinate with social media companies to mitigate the effects of social media content generated outside of the United States focused on perpetuating the civil war and other conflicts in Ethiopia, including through hate speech and language inciting violence”.
In other words, the US government will openly meddle in social media for censorship purposes based on its subjective definition of “hate speech” and “disinformation”. This is actually already being de facto implemented anyhow through the deplatforming of prominent activists from the #NoMore movement that’s revolutionizing the global activist community. It’ll predictably get worse in the very likely event that the bill enters into law, which could lead to anyone who challenges the US’ official but entirely false narrative of events being defamed as so-called “Russian/Chinese/etc. propagandists”.
ESPDA’s other malicious element is “to use the voice and vote of the United States in the respective institution to oppose any loan or extension of financial or technical assistance to the Governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea; and to work with other key donor countries to develop a coordinated policy with respect to lending to the Government of Ethiopia and the Government of the State of Eritrea aimed at advancing human rights and promoting peace.” This can be interpreted as attempting to bankrupt the country and thus further impoverish countless millions more Ethiopians.
It’s basically a policy of collective punishment that indirectly aims to eventually turn them against their government with the expectation that they’ll launch a Color Revolution against it out of economic and humanitarian desperation. Put another way, the US is slyly promoting a long-term regime change campaign against Ethiopia’s democratically elected, legitimate, and universally recognized government. The irony is that this tacit policy is anti-democratic to the core and it relies on tactics that are contrary to humanitarianism in order to destabilize the Horn of Africa’s leading state.
ESPDA isn’t a misnomer though since its specific wording is part of the US’ ongoing information warfare campaign against that country. America is manipulating perceptions about Ethiopia’s anti-terrorist operations to misportray the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and its commander-in-chief Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as bloodthirsty genocidal maniacs. This is all intended to create the false pretext upon which to publicly pressure international lending institutions and Ethiopia’s donors into suspending their support until the government capitulates to the US’ demands.
Those demands, however, have actually already been met in reality. These are to “cease all offensive military operations associated with the civil war and other conflicts in Ethiopia…take steps toward negotiations and a legitimate, inclusive national dialogue…implement measures to better protect human rights and ensure adherence to international humanitarian law…continuously allow unfettered humanitarian access…(and) cooperate with independent investigations of credible allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights abuse” carried out during the conflict.
The very fact that the Ethiopian Government has already done all of this doesn’t matter to the US since ESPDA’s purpose is to collectively punish its population in order to lay the seeds for a Color Revolution against PM Abiy for “Bosnification” ends. It’s thus not without reason that the current conflict can more accurately be described as the US-led West’s Hybrid War of Terror on Ethiopia. If the US was sincere in carrying out ESPDA to the letter without exception, then the full force of it would be directed against the TPLF that’s responsible for everything that the US accuses PM Abiy, the ENDF, and their allies of.
Upon its passing, this bill will likely lead to further hardships for average Ethiopians with time though the consequences could be mitigated through support from its close Russian, Chinese, and other partners. It’s unclear, however, whether Turkey would continue providing its reported military assistance to the country since American media hyped up the alleged game-changing impact of its drones on shaping the course of the conflict late last year. True to the very definition of Hybrid Warfare, the US is politicizing literally everything that it can from drones to humanitarian aid in order to weaponize it against Ethiopia.
America’s humanitarian imperialism has always been malicious, but ESPDA stands apart from everything other than NATO’s War on Libya as being among its cruelest form. Over 110 million people will be collectively punished as part of the US’ tacit regime change campaign against PM Abiy motivated by its desire to punish him for bravely refusing to kowtow to Washington’s pressure that he choose its side over China’s in the New Cold War. By attempting to pragmatically balance between them, he set a shining example of the multipolar trends that are in progress all across Africa.
Nevertheless, that fateful decision to maximize his country’s strategic autonomy in the bi-multipolar context that International Relations is presently in resulted in the US viciously punishing his people. Be that as it regrettably is, Ethiopia is Africa’s historical cradle of Pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism so it’s fitting that this country stood up to the US and refused to back down from doing what’s right for the continent. Observers should therefore have no doubt that Ethiopia and its people will indeed prevail exactly as they’ve always done when facing foreign threats like this unprecedented one from the US.