Al Mariam’s Commentaries
July 26, 2022
Even though Part VII of my commentary on Samantha Power’s “major foreign policy speech” of June 7, 2022 below stands on its own merits, I recommend first reading Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI to gain a comprehensive understanding of my analysis and arguments.
The end of history, the beginning of history: A New Pax (Peace)/Pact Americana
In a Hegelian sense.
Hegel’s conception of history postulated a dialectal progression towards “the consciousness of freedom.”
Fukuyama argued capitalist liberal democracy was the “end of history” because it had successfully removed the “internal contradictions” that had ruptured past civilizations.
Under capitalism, advancements in science had produced technological innovation and military competition, urbanization and bureaucratization which have maximized productive efficiency and satisfied man’s desire for material wealth.
Fukuyama believed capitalism met the material needs of mankind while liberal democracy satisfied the universal human desire for recognition by merit and achievement.
Fukuyama suggested human rights, liberal democracy, and the capitalist free market economy are the only remaining ideological alternatives for nations of the world in the post–Cold War world.
But contrary to Fukuyama’s predictions, liberal democracy today is under siege and assault in America.
The anchoring principles of liberal democracy including rule of law, individual rights, free and fair elections, right to vote, right to privacy, constitutionalism, separation of powers, market economy, etc. are under extreme challenge.
In 2021, 14 American states enacted 22 laws that restrict voting access, making it more difficult for Americans to vote. Particularly Americans of color!
A recent US Supreme Court decision puts longstanding constitutional principles of individual privacy at extreme risk opening the floodgates for repressive laws and state intrusion in the private lives of individuals.
The US House of Representatives is currently investigating the January 6, 2021 storming of the Capitol by a mob under the direction and approval of former President Donald Trump.
We have monumental human rights problems in America, the citadel of global liberal democracy.
People of color face all sorts of discrimination every day.
Millions of African Americans and other people of color are stuck in substandard housing, substandard educational institutions and impoverished crime-ridden neighborhoods where few economic opportunities exist while the pipeline from the hood to prison continues to flow unabated.
The bottom line is that Americans must take care of Americans before taking care of anybody else.
I do not believe America should donate $40 billion dollars to some country that ranks 122/180 on the corruption index while 40 million Americans go hungry every night, 40 million Americans do not have health care, our infrastructure is in a state of perilous decrepitude and our schools have become factories of illiteracy.
Fukuyama’s end of history is ushering the beginning of a new history: The New Pax/Pact Americana.
I am a political scientist and an American constitutional lawyer.
Like William Gladstone, British Prime Minister in the second half of the 19th century, I also believe the U.S. Constitution is
the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man. It has had a century of trial, under the pressure of exigencies caused by an expansion unexampled in points of rapidity and range; and its exemption from formal change, though not entire, has certainly proved the sagacity of its constructors, and the stubborn strength of the fabric.
I have been most fortunate to take the solemn oath “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States to the best of my ability.”
Indeed, for three decades I have done so in the courtroom, stateroom, classroom, boardroom and pressroom.
In my November 2015 commentary, I argued America is the last great hope of humanity.
In that commentary, I defended adherents of Islam against demagogic American politicians who were spreading fear and loathing against Muslims.
I was particularly inspired by Abraham Lincoln.
On December 1, 1862, one month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln sent a message to Congress.
It was a message about “saving the union.”
Lincoln said the
world knows we do know how to save it… In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.
For me, there is one and only one question.
Can we nobly save the last best hope of earth so we can save Planet Earth?
I believe we can! Americans can!
All things being equal (and call me selfish if you like), I am particularly concerned about saving America and a nice chunk of Planet Earth known as Africa.
No, I am not talking about the type of “saving” associated with the Messianic Complex of White (Wo)Man’s Burden.
I leave that to Joe Biden, Samantha Power, Jake Sullivan, Susan Rice, Gail Smith and the rest of that crew.
I am talking about a special kind of “saving” by interweaving America’s and Africa’s destiny.
I am talking about “interweaving America’s destiny with that of Africa, entangling our peace, prosperity and destiny with the peace, prosperity and destiny of Africa and sharing in our mutual interest in building a just and fair world” to paraphrase President George Washington, America’s first president.
This entangling of our peace, prosperity and destiny with the peace, prosperity and destiny of Africa requires certain actions on our part.
I. Commit to America First foreign policy which entangles our peace and prosperity with the peace and prosperity of Africa.
Biden talks nonsense about a “foreign policy for American workers and their families.”
Biden should stop talking nonsense and advance a robust America First foreign policy.
The roots of “America First” foreign policy goes back to George Washington’s Farewell Address in which he urged the American people to avoid political partisanship and entanglements with European wars.
Washington hated wars.
He once wrote:
My first wish is, to see this plague (war) of mankind banished from the earth, and the sons and daughters of this world employed in more pleasing and innocent amusements, than in preparing implements, and exercising them, for the destruction of mankind.
That is why he took a firm stand and questioned in his Farewell Address:
The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible… Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice?
I believe it is perfectly within Washington’s vision for America to entangle our peace, prosperity and destiny with the peace, prosperity and destiny of Africa!
President Woodrow Wilson used an “America First” foreign policy to pursue a non-interventionist and nationalist approach to international relations.
President Donald Trump took the idea to the next level by promoting a foreign policy that discarded the whole idea of multilateralism and emphasized bilateral relations.
Trump’s 2017 National Security Strategy of the United States of America declared itself to be “an America First National Security Strategy based on American principles…”
To be sure, I want to see an American foreign policy that avoids any and all intervention, direct or indirect, in the affairs of African countries. (See my November 21, 2021 commentary, “The Legal Case Against U.S. State-Sponsored Terrorism in Ethiopia.”
Our foreign policy should be guided by one simple principle: AFRICAN SOLUTIONS FOR AFRICAN PROBLEMS! PERIOD!
ETHIOPIAN SOLUTIONS FOR ETHIOPIAN PROBLEMS! PERIOD!
II. Commit to eliminating all aid to Africa
No country ever became self-sufficient or rich by begging.
Africa has long been called the “beggar continent.”
That was the singularly destructive legacy of white European colonialism in Africa.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the great Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement in 1967 warned:
Today, Africa is a Continent of COMPETING BEGGAR NATIONS. We vie with one another for favors from our former colonial masters; and we deliberately fall over one another to invite neocolonialists to come to our different territories to preside over our economic fortunes…
… We may continue and indeed we will be right to continue to use the power and influence which sovereignty confers, as well as the tactics and maneuvers which international diplomacy legitimatizes, to extract more and more alms from our benefactors. But the inherent evil remains—and it remains with us and with no one else: unless a beggar shakes off and irrevocably turns his back on, his begging habit, he will forever remain a beggar. For, the more he begs the more he develops the beggar characteristics of lack of initiative, courage, drive and self-reliance.
Fifty-five years later, Africa is still a continent of beggars.
Samantha Powers, USAID boss, has made a name for herself as the Queen of African Beggars.
The US aid program in Africa is an extension of the US democratic party’s domestic “War on Poverty Program.”
That war was waged on domestic poverty to uplift low-income Americans, particularly African Americans, who had been shut out of the American dream.
The same logic was used to help black Africans in Africa with “aid.”
Poverty won the war in America despite billion spent in the war on poverty.
Poverty has also won the war in Africa despite billions in US aid handouts.
US and Western aid in general has harmed African countries with minimal impact on poverty reduction.
Dambissa Moyo has convincingly demonstrated that “overreliance on aid has trapped developing nations in a vicious circle of aid dependency, corruption, market distortion, and further poverty, leaving them with nothing but the ‘need’ for more aid.”
Moyo compellingly argued trade, foreign investment, capital markets, micro finance, remittances, etc., are what Africans need, not handouts.
Today, Africa remains a “beggar continent”, to a large extent, because of US and Western aid.
What handouts have done in Africa is discourage self-improvement and self-reliance, and have caused more harm to the African poor as welfare programs have done to the poor in the US.
In my March 14, 2011 commentary, “The Moral Hazard of U.S. Policy in Africa”, I argued that the only outcome of US aid in Africa has been social and moral bankruptcy. Only Africans can save themselves from poverty.
In my December 18, 2016, commentary, I argued:
The best way America can help Africa is by letting Africa help itself, and by making sure the culture of panhandling on the continent is permanently ended.
US aid to African countries should be eliminated with extremely limited exceptions to countries that meet stringent conditions of accountability and transparency and for an extremely limited time.
III. Commit to building U.S.-Africa relations based on strong commercial/business/trade relations
George Washington in his Farewell Address said, “the great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations…”
Washington was right!
Our relations with Africa should be based on a strong commercial foundation, not endless handouts.
For instance, I know for a fact that the vast majority Ethiopian Americans strongly support U.S.-Ethiopia trade based on reciprocity, free markets and expanded business and investments opportunities not only in Ethiopia but all of Africa.
The economies of the Four Asian Tiger nations/Asian Miracle did not result from panhandling US/Western aid but from robust export-oriented policies, expansion of the manufacturing sector and provision of tax and other incentives to attract foreign investment.
Instead of having a punitive trade regime such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (which excluded Ethiopia in January 2022, in one day alone resulted in the dismissal of 600 poor Ethiopian factory workers), the US should deal with African countries on a bilateral basis.
The Morocco Free Trade Agreement provides a good template for the rest of Africa.
The African Continental Free Trade Agreement also provides a unique opportunity for the US to strengthen strategic partnerships with Africa by helping to develop small- to medium-sized investments.
The Power Africa program started by Obama has been a big flop but it could be strengthened if the US is willing to help Ethiopia fully develop its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, when completed will be the largest hydro power facility in Africa.
Once fully operational, the GERD will be able provide electric power at very reasonable prices to over 250 million people in the Horn region and beyond.
PROSPER Africa is tasked with “mobilizing services from across the U.S. Government to provide businesses and investors with market insights, deal support, financing, and solutions to strengthen business climates.” It has great potential if it can be liberated from USAID mismanagement.
IV. Abolish USAID
In my December 18, 2016, commentary, I argued,
The era of U.S. foreign policy of aid handouts and alms giving to Africa generously supported by American taxpayers, without accountability, must end or significantly curtailed!
Over the past 6 decades, American taxpayers have spent hundreds of billions of dollars providing “aid” to African countries.
But there is little USAID can show for the billions spent.
Truth be told, USAID has been the quintessential international “poverty pimp” in Africa.
It is an organization managed by bureaucrats who have cushy jobs and are committed, first and foremost, to perpetuating their cushy jobs and the jobs of their in the so-called NGOs.
USAID maintains a network of poverty pimp consultants and civil society organizations that feed at the trough of aid designated to salvage poor African and other countries out of poverty.
If they succeed in putting even a dent in poverty, they will be out of a job!
They perpetuate their jobs by perpetuating poverty in Africa and elsewhere.
“As a system, foreign aid is a fraud and does nothing for inequality” or poverty.
Much of the foreign aid does not reach the poor but supports the rich and spreads corruption.
In my December 18, 2016, commentary, I urged Trump to completely restructure USAID and preferably abolish it.
I supplied data and arguments to support my position.
USAID has significant and deep-rooted accountability issues.
In 2015, I registered my strong opposition to the nomination of Gayle Smith to head USAID.
A 1991, report documented “gross mismanagement of money” by aid recipients and exposed USAID officials “accused of receiving kickbacks from programs.”
At the time, the USAID deputy inspector general was quoted as saying, “Our crime rate is essentially higher than virtually any other agency of the government and higher than most major cities in the United States.” (Emphasis added.)
A 2010 report by the USAID Inspector General concluded that “because of weaknesses in the mission’s performance management and reporting system,” auditors “could not determine whether the results reported in USAID/Ethiopia’s performance plan and report were valid.”
The Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in 2013 found that USAID’s lack of effective oversight and monitoring placed hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars “at risk of waste, fraud and abuse.”
A 2013 Wall Street journal investigation revealed that a significant amount of the nearly $10 billion spent by the U.S. in Africa between 2002 and 2012 on various health projects, including malaria and HIV control, “has been partly hijacked by organized networks that steal large quantities of donated malaria drugs and ship them from East to West Africa, where they end up for sale at street markets.”
In 2016, the Inspector General of USAID reported “significant deficiencies” in financial accounting including issues related to “complying with Federal accounting standards for reimbursable agreements, maintaining adequate records of property, plant, and equipment, and promptly investigating and resolving potential funds control violations.”
It is becoming increasingly clear that USAID has become a rogue agency unaccountable to anyone.
IN 2021, The Office of Inspector General’s Semiannual Report on USAID to Congress (for October 1, 2021-March 31, 2022), shows 11 USAID personnel were “referred to the Department of Justice” for criminal investigation and 6 indictments sealed and unsealed have been issued. Some of the indictments have to do with violations in which their ability “to do business with the government is suspect.”
The Inspector General also identified 32 major “planning and weaknesses” in USAID (see pp. 61-65) which could result in wholesale criminal prosecution of USAID management and staff.
The bottom line is this: USAID is a corrupt institutional poverty pimp and must be abolished.
IV. Commit to fighting terrorism in Africa
The Biden administration is committed to supporting terrorists in the name of human rights.
Exhibit A is its support of the terrorist group known as the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), an organization removed from the US terrorist list in 2014.
The US has imposed all manners of sanctions and engaged in wicked conspiracies to undermine the sovereignty, dignity and unity of Ethiopia in support of the terrorist TPLF.
In my November 21, 2021 commentary, I have laid out the legal case for US/Biden administration state-supported terrorism in Ethiopia.
Until 2014, the US had officially classified the TPLF as a terrorist organization. That terrorist classification must be reapplied to the TPLF.
Tibor Nagy, US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs in the Trump administration in describing TPLF terrorism in Ethiopia said:
It is important to remember here there is not equivalency. There are not two states which have been belligerent with each other. You have a sovereign government on the one hand Ethiopia, and on the other you have a region of Ethiopia the leadership of which basically started a conflict against the government. And interestingly enough, the Ethiopia Constitution has provisions for a region to secede from Ethiopia but, you know, the best evidence is that the Tigrean leadership did not want to secede from Ethiopia. They wanted to use the opportunity basically to overthrow the prime minister and return to the type of privilege that they had enjoyed within the Ethiopian state for the last 27 years…
President Delano Roosevelt reportedly said of Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza: “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”
President Biden is making an equivalent statement in his actions. “The TPLF may be a terrorist organization, but they are our terrorists.”
There is no such thing as a good terrorist.
All the good terrorists live in a special place reserved for them in hell.
V. Commit to opposing multilateralism and Obama/Biden’s New World Order
Multilateralism is one of the greatest political scams invented in the post-WW period.
The real agenda of multilateralism is to enable the liberal elite classes in Western nations join forces to conduct international relations using international organizations and maintain a world order that suits their liberal agenda.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden are rabid advocates of multilateralism.
Trump’s America First Foreign policy was fundamentally against multilateralism.
Trump tried to cut funding to the bloated, self-serving, populated-by -overcompensated-and-underworked United Nations bureaucracy with limited success.
In his 2018 UN speech, Trump made it crystal clear:
America is governed by Americans… We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the doctrine of patriotism. America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination.
In my June 9, 2017 op-ed piece in The Hill, “US should drop out of UN Human Rights Council”, I expressed my complete agreement with the Trump Administration’s criticism of the Council.
The Trump administration decided to dump the Council in 2018 because it did not want the US to “remain a part of a hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights and has been a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.”
Trump rightly withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiated by Obama.
Had Trump been reelected to a second term, he would have significantly restructured and diminished American entanglement with such New World Order Organizations as the UN, NATO, UNHRC, UNESCO, etc.
Had Trump been reelected, there would have been no Ukraine war!
No wheat embargo and no hunger in Africa.
No runaway inflation and no $9 a gallon gas in California.
I find no convincing justification why American taxpayers have to finance the defense of Europe, Japan, South Korea, etc.
I believe it is to America’s advantage to pursue an “America First” foreign policy agenda and prioritize bilateral relations over multinational agreements.
VI. Treat Africa with dignity and respect its unity and sovereignty
The US must treat Africa with respect, not as the continent of beggars and peons.
Biden and the Dirty Dozen Democrats (DDD) in Congress have treated Ethiopia as a colonial outpost and with absolute contempt and abysmal hatred.
Biden and the DDDs, in support of the terrorist TPLF, have mounted a sanctions campaign against Ethiopia “the likes of which the world has never seen.”
They hope to impose such crippling sanctions that will cause the population to rise up and overthrow its own democratically elected government.
Biden and the DDDs continue their conspiracy to destroy Ethiopia by supporting terrorists and coordinating with Ethiopia’s historic regional enemies.
Power has the audacity to propose a declaration of a “revolution of dignity” on Africa.
Only people who have lived a life of dignity know what dignity means.
Unfortunately, Samantha Power is not one of those people!
Power should realize Africans take their dignity very seriously.
Because Power can throw around hard-earned American tax dollars on poor African “s*** hole” countries like a drunken sailor does not mean the people of those countries are subhuman.
How can there be a Revolution of Dignity when nations that disagree with the Biden administration are targeted with the indignity of sanctions, imperial bullying and vilification of leaders/nations?
The Revolution of Dignity will be answered with a counterrevolution of indignity.
Regrettably, Power, Blinken & Co., their minds permeated by White (Wo)Man’s Burden and carrying the mantle of US foreign policy, will never understand that dignity is the core element of the humanity of the poor people of the planet.
Romanticism, idealism and optimism
Samantha Power authored a book and titled it “Education of an Idealist.”
She should have titled it, “Education of a Romantic.”
Revolution has always had a romantic special appeal to American liberals.
Gail Smith, USAID boss before Power and Power’s best friend joined the terrorist TPLF revolution four decades ago.
It was the cool thing to do.
Revolution has a romantic appeal to armchair bureaucratic revolutionaries.
Now Power wants to reprise that in a romantic “revolution of dignity” throughout the African continent.
Thomas Friedman in a review of Power’s book described Power as a “table-pounding idealist and human rights advocate, and believed in using American power to protect innocent civilians and advance democracy.”
Even Obama found Power’s table-pounding advocacy irritating and annoying. In one situation,
Obama said that he welcomed her advocacy, but he sometimes bristled when she voiced it. More than once, Obama told Power, ‘You get on my nerves.’ In 2013, during a meeting in the Situation Room to discuss Syria, Obama, put off by her arguments, snapped, ‘We’ve all read your book, Samantha.’
Not unlike the officer in Vietnam who said, “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”
Power wants to export wholesale American liberal democracy and her gospel of human rights to the rest of the world and enforce it with American military might.
Power wants to destroy the world in a “revolution dignity” in order to save the world for human rights.
Indeed, if Power had a shred of intellectual honesty, she would have titled her book, “A Bleeding-Heart White Woman’s Burden to Save the World’s Half Children and Half Devils.”
Because her mind is infected by congenital white supremacy and she carries the “White Woman’s Burden” on her shoulders, she is incapable of stepping out and looking at herself and her ideas and how offensive they are to the world.
I understand all of the song and dance about a revolution of dignity, democracy, etc., is about reinvigorating the Obama/Biden New World Order. I get it!
What I don’t get is how Samantha Power mustered the courage to spread her horse manure idea of revolution of dignity on the world.
William F. Buckley, whenever his interview guests make nonsensical statements would quip, “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”
I can’t be as charitable as Buckley.
I believe Power actually believes all that nonsense about revolution of dignity, bright spots, evangelizing American liberals’ liberal democracy and the rest.
A tale of two, three… worlds?
If we are to believe Power, today we live in Two Worlds, the World of Good led by Joe Biden and the World of Evil led by Vlad Putin.
So, like Charles Dickens who told “A Tale of Two Cities,” today we must tell “A Tale of Two Worlds.”
We live in interesting times.
But are our best of times behind us and should we look forward to the worst of times?
Will the internet age usher in wisdom or consign us to perpetual foolishness?
Are we in a season of light or trapped in the darkness of war and strife?
Are we in our spring of hope or winter of our despair?
Sometimes I am infinitely hopeful, other times fall in the depths of despair.
I was very hopeful when I heard Biden at the beginning of his presidency say, “The message I want the world to hear today: America is back. America is back.”
Back from insanity to sanity.
I fell into despair when I heard Power pontificate in her June 7, 2022 speech quoting Madeline Albright (“Democracy is poised for a comeback.”) who said the deaths and starvation of millions of Iraqi children was worth it to achieve US objectives in that country.
I am not an idealist. I am not a romantic revolutionary either.
But I am a Utopian Ethiopian.
As a utopian Ethiopian, I believe “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
For the last 16 years, every single week, I have raised my pen to register my bootless cries to the conscience of humanity and the mercy of divinity.
I love America.
But I tremble for America under the quivering and unsteady hands of Joe Biden and his crew of incompetent do-nothing New World Order fanatics.
In 2008, during the presidential campaign, Power promoting her book in Britain said of Hilary Clinton:
We fucked up in Ohio. In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio’s the only place they can win. She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything.
This is not off the record, and I will say it straight up!
“Samantha Power is ****ing up American policy with her bull**** evangelical mission to spread Obama/Biden New World Order liberal democracy and with her fanatical zeal to stoke up the world in a revolution of dignity.
Ecce Femina! The Monster!
Our best days are yet to come…
I believe America’s best days are yet to come.
I believe Africa’s best days are yet to come.
I believe Ethiopia’s best and brightest days are shimmering on the horizon.
I can see it, but many cannot.
The Good Book teaches, “They have eyes but cannot see, mouths have they but cannot speak.”
I shall speak of what I see.
I find great inspiration in George Bernard Shaw’s plays in “Back to Methuselah.”
Shaw discouraged by the collapse of civilization after WWI, the incompetence of governments and the looming darkness that covered human destiny from pole to pole could still muster hope against abysmal despair.
I shall quote a few lines from a conversation in Act I of “Back to Methuselah.”
“Adam, Eve and the Serpent are having a conversation about living forever and death and everything in between.
THE SERPENT. “The serpent never dies. Some day you shall see me come out of this beautiful skin, a new snake with a new and lovelier skin. That is birth.”
EVE. “I have seen that. It is wonderful.”
THE SERPENT. “If I can do that, what can I not do? I tell you I am very subtle. When you and Adam talk, I hear you say ‘Why?’ Always ‘Why?’ You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’ I made the word dead to describe my old skin that I cast when I am renewed. I call that renewal being born.”
So, I too, in my dreams, visions, optimism and imagination, see renewal and hope in America, in Africa, in Ethiopia, the world and always ask, “Why not?”
Why not have an America at peace with the world?
Why not have a New Pax/Pact Americana?
“Why the hell not?”
Before the world goes to hell in a handbasket…
I too imagine a different world like John Lennon.
Imagine all the people/Livin’ life in peace… / Nothing to kill or die for…/
You may say I’m a dreamer/ But I’m not the only one/
I hope someday you’ll join us/ And the world will be as one…
Imagine no possessions/… No need for greed or hunger/
A brotherhood of man/ Imagine all the people/
Sharing all the world/…
You may say I’m a dreamer/
But I’m not the only one/
I hope someday you’ll join us/
And the world will live as one
To be continued…