TCS Daily


The Other War in Ethiopia

By Dave Kopel, Paul Gallant & Joanne D. Eisen - December 29, 2006 12:00 AM

The world is watching Ethiopia's war with the totalitarian Islamist regime in Somalia. The world should also start paying attention to the campaign of genocide which the Ethiopian government has been waging against its own people, in southwestern Ethiopia, in the state of Gambella.

The Anuak people of Ethiopia, a black minority tribe, have historically been enslaved by other Ethiopians. The slavery persisted into the late twentieth century. Today, the Anuak are being exterminated, while the central government of Ethiopia tells the world to ignore the violence, claiming that it is merely an inter-tribal conflict.

Gambella is in southwestern Ethiopia, bordering Sudan. It is been the home of five ethnic groups: the Anuak, Nuer, Majangir, Opo and Komo. The Anuaks and the Nuer are the largest groups and have long feuded over the land and its resources. The Anuaks, who live atop gold and oil reserves, number approximately 150,000.

A mainly agricultural people, the majority of Anuak inhabit Gambella, although some live in eastern Sudan, and some have recently been displaced to Kenya and the US. Gambella also hosts UN refugee camps, for people who have fled the decades-long genocide in south Sudan.

The central government, in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, has disarmed most of the Anuak, and even disarmed Anuak police officers. Ethiopia is among the East African nations which have promised to conduct campaigns against civilian gun ownership, as part of the United Nations-sponsored Nairobi Protocol. Like several other signers of the Nairobi Protocol (Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Sudan), Ethiopia already had a well-established record of genocide against disarmed victims.

On December 13, 2003, eight UN workers were ambushed and killed. Although the perpetrators were never caught, the blame for their deaths fell on the Anuaks; the subsequent massacre of Anuaks was blamed on the Nuer.

The Ethiopian government vehemently and persistently denies its participation in the violence against the Anuaks. But consider the following:

With the expectation of the discovery of oil in the state of Gambella, the government in Addis Ababa has developed a keen interest in exploiting the region.

After the massacre of the UN workers, an Anuak police officer, Ojo Akway, observed tracks leading from the crime scene, yet he was not permitted to investigate. Instead, he was arrested and then shot dead.

Seven months later, another investigator was also shot and killed. The humanitarian group Genocide Watch wonders why the UN has not investigated the deaths of its own personnel. Who benefits the most from this cover-up? Have UN workers been warned that if they speak up, they will expelled?

According to a report by Genocide Watch, at an Ethiopian cabinet meeting in September 2003, government officials and military officers discussed ethnic cleansing of the Anuak, and the benefits of destroying Anuak leadership. A military official told Genocide Watch that he was present at a subsequent meeting on December 11, 2003, just two days prior to the murders of the UN personnel. At that meeting, government officials discussed eliminating Anuaks in a military campaign in Gambella, code-named "Operation Sunny Mountain."

Subsequent behavior of the Ethiopian army is consistent with a plan to destroy the Anuak. As detailed in a statement by an Anuak representative that was delivered to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Ethiopian army is perpetrating extrajudicial killings, beatings, torture, rape, sexual slavery and the destruction of Anuak properties. As a result, 50% of the Anuak population has been displaced.

The pattern of rape described by the victims appears to be systematic, and designed to create pregnancies that would produce non-Anuak children; such use of rape deliberately destroy an ethnic group is considered, under international law, to be a type of genocide.

And, of course, directly killing people is also a method of genocide. An anonymous Anuak spokesperson told the UN's OHCHR that from 2003-2005, up to "15,000 Anywa [Anuak] people have been killed in different villages by the Ethiopian national defence force militaries in trying to clear the area from the indigenous Anywa people and to facilitate the ongoing oil exploration in the land of the indigenous Anywa people ...."

Government guilt became especially evident in April 2006, when there was an attempt to capture eighteen Anuak resistance leaders who had fled to a refugee camp in south Sudan. These leaders could render potentially damaging eye-witness accounts of the 2003 massacre of Anuak by the Nuer. The Ethiopian army, under the guise of a disarmament exercise (that is, gun confiscation), rampaged through numerous villages on both sides of the Ethiopia-Sudan border. The "disarmament" campaign was accompanied by rape, pillaging, and murder.

As the Ethiopian army advanced towards the Alari Refugee Camp in Pochalla, Sudan, surviving Anuak villagers warned the refugees in the camp. Then, the tribal leader of the Anuak in Sudan, King Adonga, vowed that the Sudan Anuak would protect the refugees "with whatever it takes, even spears." The refugees moved the vulnerable in their camp to a safer location, while they and King Adonga's forces prepared for a violent confrontation.

The Anuaks contacted several people in the international community and alerted them to the imminent slaughter. With the plan exposed to potential donor governments, the Ethiopian regime aborted the invasion, and denied any hostile intention.

But in August 2006, over a dozen villages in Gambella were ethnically cleansed. The villagers were suddenly ordered to leave, to just go away, by the Ethiopian National Defense Forces. The Anuak Justice Council claims that there is extreme hardship for these new refugees because of a lack of clean water, food, and shelter, and that Anuaks are killed with impunity almost daily.

Human Rights Watch accuses the Ethiopian government of "human rights abuses so severe that they may rise to the level of crimes against humanity...."

It's not surprising that hardly anyone has heard of what the Ethiopian government has been doing to the Anuak. The world has barely paid attention even to the human rights atrocities perpetrated in Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa and other cities, after the disputed elections of May 2005. A recently-leaked report revealed that police killed 193 protesters, injured 763, and arrested over 100 others. These opposition leaders and journalists are now on trial for treason. And oh, what else? Attempted genocide!

Ana Gomes, the European Union observer at the 2005 elections, said that European leaders remain silent because "they want to continue dealing as usual with the Ethiopian regime."

One journalist, Qeerransoo Biyyaa, who writes only under his pseudonym because of fear of retribution, told us the government has created so many enemies that he predicts the current regime will be overthrown within 3-5 years. Biyyaa added: "I am living in a country where millions live in fear and their mouths are gagged."



137 Comments

correction
We are not Arab, we are black. so the government in Addis is black unless your imagination is every black people is dark skin.

More corrections
This piece could have stood some fact checking before it went to press. The idea that there are "Arabs" in charge in Addis is a real howler, as ybalcha points out. Ethiopia has been a thoroughly Christian, black nation since about the fourth or fifth century. The reigning tribe is normally the Amhara, and they are forever fighting the Tigreans, the Oromo, etc to retain their power over this mishmash of different nations. There is no real Ethiopia, but rather an empire of eight or nine different peoples.

Also more than questionable is the opening sentence: "The world is watching Ethiopia's war with the totalitarian Islamist regime in Somalia."

The regime Ethiopia and the US are defending in Somalia are the ones fighting the Islamist rebels. Really, you can't watch this conflict for ten minutes without figuring out this most basic fact. The ones in the green jerseys are the rebels, fierce Wahhabis boiling out of the desert. The ones in the red, white and blue? That's the poor, beleaguered legitimate government Ethiopia is rushing in to defend.

For all that, the rest of his story sounds plausible. I think anyone itnerested should hit the web, and try to figure out the facts for themselves.

April 18, 1775
"Ethiopia is among the East African nations which have promised to conduct campaigns against civilian gun ownership, as part of the United Nations-sponsored Nairobi Protocol. Like several other signers of the Nairobi Protocol (Rwanda, Uganda, Congo, Sudan), Ethiopia already had a well-established record of genocide against disarmed victims."

British General Gage ordered 800 regulars to destroy weapons being stored in Concord, MA.

A shot in Lexington that morning was heard around the world as they say.

Governments understand it is difficult to control an armed population.

Too bad so many people are willing to submit to the government.

(Is this why the liberals are sympathetic to Muslims? They know how to submit to authority?)

Yes
Liberals need to be led. The submit to the will of others in return for security, imagined or otherwise. How else can you explin years of Ted Kennedy? They also force us to submit, to be led against our will for the greater good. My attitude is a bit different. A hundred years ago, an Englishman visiting Texas was attempting to find the owner of a huge cattle ranch. He rode up to one of the ranch hands, and inquired, "Pardon me, but could you perhaps tell me where I might locate your master?" To which the cowboy replied, "That sumbitch ain't been born yet".

Classic battle continues
Are people subjects or free?

Well that is a matter of opinion
I think they are Free but freedom requires responsibility and that is why so few want it. Why else are there laws governing virtually every aspect of my life? It is so stupid nowdays that my kids cannot ride in the back of the truck like I did. I cannot burn brush on my land because smoke causes cancer (even though it was used for fuel for millions of years). Eventually non-state approved fun will be illegal. Be prepared for the re-education camps. Wrong thinking will not be tolerated.

It is Up to Citizens
"Eventually non-state approved fun will be illegal. Be prepared for the re-education camps. Wrong thinking will not be tolerated."

The US Constitution was clearly designed to forestall the state of affairs you rightly fear.

Since it is apparent that the language in the US Constitution is often not understood in US courts, it is up to the citizenry to insure that Governments Constitutionally enumerated role is maintained.

A National Referendum process would serve as an additional check-n-balance of a Federal Government distorted by 9 figure re-election costs.

Maybe you should source your information
"Ethiopia has been a thoroughly Christian, black nation since about the fourth or fifth century."

That's a very sweeping generalization. Since not too long ago they were socialist.

"Ethiopians date the coming of Christianity to Ethiopia to the fourth century AD, when a Christian philosopher from Tyre named Meropius was shipwrecked on his way to India."

"During the seventh century, the Muslim conquests cut the Ethiopians off from the rest of the Christian world, except for the Ethiopian monastary in Jerusalem, which continued to be a pilgrimage site for pious Ethiopian monks, and the continuing thread of contact with Egypt maintained because the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria supplied the Ethiopian Church with its Abuna."

" Eventually, however, relations deteriorated and Ethiopia slid into its dark ages, retreating into the securitity of the mountains to defend themselves against the Muslims. They did, however, maintain their independence, their culture, their identity and their faith."

" In the sixteenth century Ethiopia was nearly overrun by the armies of the Muslim general Ahmed Gran who waged jihad on Ethiopia with great success. He took control of the country, but when he was killed by a Portuguese musket in an Ethiopian counter-attack in 1543 the incipient Muslim state in Ethiopia simply fell apart for lack of leadership. Portguese military support was critical to the success of the counter-attack, though it had not been enough to prevent Ahmed Gran from overrunning Ethiopia in the first place."

http://www.bethel.edu/~letnie/EthiopiaHomepage.html

"Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of the 1936-41 Italian occupation during World War II. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990's ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. Final demarcation of the boundary is currently on hold due to Ethiopian objections to an international commission's finding requiring it to surrender territory considered sensitive to Ethiopia."

"Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%"

https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/et.html#Govt

Fully Informed Jury: Jury Nullification
This is an excellent way for citizens to provide a check on all branches of government.

No Subject
Surely, it is interesting that many Ethiopians do considered themselves black africans on the net. It is on the contrary on the streets of Addis Ababa anyway. The fact that the truth is coming out would not make Ethiopians black, a notion that is being denied in the country. I hope this notion in the discussion forum would be the reality on the streets of Addis Ababa and let the people at some times not considered Ethiopians be accepted without limitations on their God given rights. Why not accept atrocities commited against Anuak people as the worst crime against humanity in the history of Ethiopia?

Kicked back a few?
It seems like you guys are on a roll . . . likely to roll off your bar stools of you have any more sauce.

The most reliable Republicans are the religious right. Many of these don't even believe in free will.

What do you know about being religious or right?

The most henious criminal than Sadam Husien being hailed by the U.S!
I, and certainly 98% of the Ethiopian population will agree with your assertion that the tyrant regime has waged war against the Ethiopian population.The Gambella massacre being one of the many instances where the regime committed genocide, it has also killed about 26 civilians in the 1996 University students uprising, 43 in the 2000 A.A.U. students uprising and an estimate of 196 in Awassa years latter. Last year, it has massacred 193 poeple, as you mentioned and 6 other police officers to give the image to the world community that the demonstration was violent that the demonstrators have kiiled them. yet, in fact, the police members were kiiled by special security personnel with in the killer Agazi Birgade. The are simple instances. if we were to add the number of people killed everyday by the tyrant's security forces every day in other parts of the Country, the death toll can be much more than this.The Bush administartion is dancing with this kind of dictator while crying for the speedy excution of Sadam Husien, who has been accused of killing 148 people. This shows that these Westerners, who have given a blind eye to the cause of the Ethiopian people do not value the life of Black people, or they don't just care as long as their interest is fulfilled. it is a shame on these Western powers to still keep this tyrant in power blanking the quest for freedom and Democracy by the Ethiopian people. The truly elected leaders of the people and the great human treasures of the countery are languishing in jail and the international community led by the U.S. is encouraging the tyrannt to pursue his repressive rule with no regard to these true Ethiopian political leaders. You can gather these and much more henious crimes of this regime from the following fact finding websites, which the tyrant has blocked in Ethiopia.
http://www.kinijitethiopia.org/
http://www.ethrev.com/index.html
http://www.ethioforum.org/
http://addisvoice.com/
http://www.abugidainfo.com/index.php
http://www.quatero.net/

Black? Not exactly
The Oromo and the Tigreans would certainly dispute the notion that the Anuak had suffered more than they at the hands of the Ethiopian government.

And the question is certainly not whether the various Ethiopians are "black". They are very different from black Africans, and can easily be distinguished. But the author is entirely off base to call them Arabs. They are a people all their own, looking much like the other people of the Horn of Africa.

BTW genocide has always been standard practise in Ethiopia. Mass starvation was the tool of choice under Haile Selassie, and under Mengistu as well.

The misguided policy by Frazer on Ethiopia!
This is what the Bush administration facilitating to be carried out in Ethiopia in large scale for the future through its sympassy to the tyrant regime there. Have a look at this http://www.ethrev.com/2006/may/001NewsMay19_2006_atrocities_of_Meles.html

Minor point
Saddam Husein is accused of murdering thousands.

He was convicted of killing 148 (I'll take your word for the number.)

Really
This is a stupid statement. I am religious and I am on the right. Since both Christianity and Conservatism are about Free Will I think perhaps you are the one drinking to much. It is liberals who are the ones who don't want free will. It is the socialist leftist who want laws to govern every single aspect of life. Trans Fats anyone? Try to order Foie gras in Chicago? Gun Control, smoking, land use restriction, taxation for social engineering. I think the mirror is a good place to start.

The natural right of rebellion...
According to John Locke there is a tacit social contract between a government and its citizens. People have a natural right to life, liberty, health and property. Otherwise, citizens have the right to defend themselves and if the government is the oppressor then citizens have the right of rebellion.

Sovereign governments really hate that last bit, don't they? This entire right of rebellion if they betray the trust business implies an adversarial relationship. Therefore, no matter how oppressive a government is (and thereby liable to endure legitimate revolt) or innocent of any such abuse of our civil rights, the state is inclined to respond to civil disobedience with great prejudice and lethal force. When civilians are not actually killed during such incidents the government is applauded for its terrific restraint.

Governments are also in the habit of waging war on each other. War is simply a big part of what they do. Even if there is no longer anything to be gained by it. Who does all the necessary taking of lives and the consequent dying for their countries? Many of us. Few of them.

This is forever the nature of sovereignty. We made this deal with the sovereign so that we could stop living outdoors free and wild, move into the city and enjoy the fruits of civilization under a strong government that would protect our "life, liberty, health and property" from foreign invaders. But the sovereign, thereby holds that same power over our very lives and he holds eminent domain over everything that we (suppose that we) might own.

The idea that a strong sovereign would ever tolerate justified civil rebellion is specious. The sovereign is paranoid to a remarkable degree and he spends a huge proportion of his federal budget (our money) protecting his government from his own citizens (us). And he routinely violates private "civil rights" (ours) in the name of the public good (also ours). All sovereigns do this and all sovereigns are in it together.

We point out that this country or the other kills its own citizens. If lots of those who recognize their natural right to rebellion are from one tribe, then we call the government's response genocide and we are morally outraged. But all sovereigns do this and just because the words ethnic cleansing are not attached to it, we seem more willing to accept it. Look at the numbers regarding the ethnicity of those executed by the police in the United States. Might foreigners reasonably point to this nation and whisper the dreaded words "ethnic cleansing"?

On the other hand, since the end of the Cold War the business of sovereignty is not nearly as interesting as the business of financial capitalism. This is because military imperialism is finally in (end game) decline and the global economy is just starting to heat up.

If we want to be free we need to avoid unnecessary interaction with the government, make ourselves wealthy and powerful by competing in the arena of advanced capitalism, taking both responsibility for and control of our own lives, our liberty, health and property. If the government comes after us then we will have the money for good lawyers.

If we allow ourselves to be slaves of the state and if we continue to be human resources for business entities owned by strangers, then we deserve to remain the proletariant. The struggle is not to wage war with the thugs of the state. The challenge is to compete with the corporations for our real freedom. With wealth and power we might protect ourselves and our families from all abuse by any such predators.

A Democracy? "A government of the people, by the people and for the people." How many of you thought that line was written into the Constitution? Wrong. Just a really good speech by a really good guy.

You know Obama will also give you some great speeches next year. And that Barack is entirely a much nicer person than Hillary will turn out to be.

John McCain really scares me. (And I do not scare easily.) I see him doing something truly stupid before we could impeach him. That guy makes my blood run cold.

I like Colin Powell as a late entry.

"Laugh about it, shout about it, when you've got to choose, any way you look at it you lose" (Paul Simon). Sovereignty is not your friend. "Just get yourself free" (Paul Simon, again). Happy New Year!


Notion of not Black
The comparative level of suffering and injustice committed against different ethnic groups in Ethiopia depends on the age of the microscopic instrument that you are using. The Anuak who join the Ethiopian modernity in 1970s have more to show in search for acceptance in the country. If that acceptance fails and becomes a source of weakness, then there is other side of the story they can tell for there children in there homeland.

For someone who do not know the history of these people and the entire Ethiopian ethnic relationships, it worth understanding the dynamic relationship based on the notion of "Black". In fact, the other Ethiopians in the north would give a similar notion of Black; they are not Black Africans. But others from different African countries and Anuak are black Africans.

The article, did not for sure suggest that other Ethiopians are Arabs and there is no line that points to such a notion. What seems clear in the article is the level of injustice committed against these people who are distinct from other Ethiopians in the north and centre at the time the Ethiopian regime is waging war across its international border.

The complexity of issues surrounding Ethiopians relationship require more understanding of historical development of the country which other ethnic groups including the Oromo, others in the south and east are victims in today Ethiopia. Yet not at the level of Anuak who are massacred in their homeland because they are Anuak. That is what makes their suffering distinct and falls under genocide as defined in international law.

I may also want to highlight that it is only people who have lived among the Ethiopians and experts on Ethiopia could understand clearly the notion of black in Ethiopian context.

Ethiopians in the north and centre compare to Anuak ethnic in Gambella can not make them non black in the Eastern of Africa. Many others in Kenya and in south Sudan to mention few can be seen distinct but do not claim that they are different from black Africans in their countries. What people who do not know Ethiopia very well can not understand is the fact that there is negative attitude build in the social and political systems in the country. It is these negative attitudes that make other Ethiopians in the north considered themselves non black Africans.

The Oromos have received a similar or related notion in the process of Ethiopian State building and that is why they today are showing resistance in the political domination of the minority regime in the country since 1970s.

Well, I am not convinced that starvation during Haile Selassie and Mengistu regimes could be considered genocide. If so, we would definitely conclude that genocide using starvation have been committed against Ethiopians under this regime widely supported by other governments in the world. Tigreans may have committed genocide against their own people under tyrant Meles Zenawi regime.

Sounds like you believe you can't fight city hall.
"If we want to be free we need to avoid unnecessary interaction with the government, make ourselves wealthy and powerful by competing in the arena of advanced capitalism, taking both responsibility for and control of our own lives, our liberty, health and property. If the government comes after us then we will have the money for good lawyers. "

If we are the government then we can make it less powerful.

Society's new form
You have hidden depths, forest. That's quite a statement you've made.

Interesting take, that all states are by their nature predatory and driven to preserve power, so one's best move is to go up the corporate ladder, to a refuge where the states are becoming increasingly powerless.

Of course the trend is toward a world with increasing terrorism. Whether the armies of the future are employed by states, or by corporations protecting their interests in failed states, there will be great resistance on the part of the disempowered losers in the global game.

And, as has been said many times, "War is the terror the strong impose on the weak. Terror is the war the weak wage against the strong".

Corporate ladder
In a society where discrimination is embedded in systems, individuals could excel by breaking the walls or else survives at the edges. The third world so called, neither ready for playing the game on the leveling ground nor have got mechanisms to enable citizens prosper in multi-lateral corporations drive for profit in their territories. They have got open system of discrimination against some or else lead by self centred leaders making it difficult for the victims to compete, by far a contrast in the liberal west, the originators of corporate ideals and promoters of international peace.

The drive for profit by encroaching on territories untapped in the past and perceived low returns or sovereign nations/states, creates unnecessary tensions between locals on the one hand, and states or multi-lateral corporations on the other. The liberal west did not entail to repeat the scorches of two WWs by constituting the charter that protect sovereignty and limits the power of individual states save to the use of force by its institutions. The adventure of corporate world in search for profit through R&D and cost savings seems to take back, the originators and promoters of peace, to old days; anarchy, optimistically in the international system.

The desire for control of global resources through corporate values and power monopoly save in the hand of sovereignty, knocks at the door of uncertainities; increased resistance and possibly anarchy in the existing world order. The resultant trend requires different thinking in global corporate world to realize the need to understand the anatomy of world politics and social fabric not profit driven ideals that will unsettled both locals and international actors.

They fought Mussolini's tanks with spears!
Don't forget how the Ethiopians resisted during the occupation of Italian East Africa in World War II. Although as a westerner in one of the most advanced countries, I admit the best hope for peace and security for native black Africans was colonial rule.

Good for me isn't always good for you
I agree entirely. We in the US tend to forget how different things look from outside our borders, than they do in this country.

To us it seems only natural to send our economic tentacles creeping out to engulf smaller countries, and call it progress when money comes flowing back to us. We don't see the consequences that others see in their countries. All we see is that the process can't be bad, because we're getting richer.

Zambia is a good example of a country blessed with a great natural resource, that got taken to the cleaners by trade agreements that were not in their best interest. Today the place is dirt poor.

No dream for master
That is the slight history of the country in the records; "they fought Mussolini,s tanks with spears!" Ethiopians including Anuak in Gambella are very much proud of this development in the history of the country. Yet, they do not appreciate the ideals of being colonized by any other country. There is much to reveal in the history of Ethiopia in line with the resistance of colonial forces. But no point to go deep.

Did the colonial rule brought peace and security to native Africa? Not really. If it had brought security and peace there would not be any resistance that lead to de-colonization. The history of Gambella shows that they have never had any insecurity problem prior to arrival of Ethiopian forces. Food shortage was not common in the Gambella area. This is one of the forntiers with limited colonial presence. Yet, they had maintained their political system, law and order with any need for colonial forces administration.

Your opinion is over generalization of the circumistances of native black Africans. All human beings are capable of administring and ruling themselves. It is a God given right.

I Agree
I agree. Lack of consultantions with the local communities as in the case of Zambia is crystal clear in most African countries to undermine the intended outcome of development projects/programmes and as result resistance to good intentions of corporate bodies or governments.

OK, Here's what I think...
Africans cannot govern themselves because they are always fighting each other. The standard of living in African countries is very low. War is the state of affairs somewhere in Africa at all times.

I suppose a form of democracy could slowly develop in Africa, but it would require an outside authority from elsewhere in the world to maintain order. To practice democracy, Africans would need to meet criteria. Everyone must obey the law.

Noone will ever convince me: the native black Africans will stop harming each other, if just allowed to settle their differences as free people in independent countries.

re: disempowered losers
When you said that, does that mean that you think there are more of them, or less of them, or the same amount? There are for sure many losers in Zambia and most of Africa, but what about the rest of the world? Maybe you didn't notice that most of the world is incredibly richer than it was even a few years ago. Even the former basket case of India which traditionally aped Russian socialism as its guru is now opening up because of globalism and embracing capitalism. So I think that resistance to greater wealth can come from the losers who are maybe too lazy, or dumb to get ahead, or just too envious and want freebies from the winners.

re: Ethiopia
It seems like the author is surprised that Ethiopia is pretty much the same as the other dysfunctional African countries. Why would that be? The history of Africa is mostly one of continual warfare, except in the time period when western colonial powers stopped it for awhile. Ethiopia just had the bad luck to only be colonized for a few years, and then by Italian facsists! How unlucky is that? So what we see in Ethipia is carrying on the ages old African tradition of shooting its own wiener off.

Law And Order
Africans require the rule of law, and they require a degree of order. The status quo in much of Africa consists of either blatant lawlessness, or outright war.

New technologies can be developed to provide better public safety so Africans can live peacefully. These technologies are needed presently in Iraq and Afghanistan. The development of better surveillance from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV's) will occur when UAV's are mass produced. The UAV's currently deployed by the U.S. Armed Forces are effective armnaments although very expensive. Smaller drones can be mass produced economically, and deployed effectively. The innovative military technology can work in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa too. With the protection of the U.S. Air Force, it can practically defeat the enemy by remote control.

The nature of the sovereign...
We are not the government. And neither are the individual politicians. The government is a social group all of itself with a group behavior and an existance of its own. The government's life as a human entitiy (a group behavior) is independent of any which of us might become a member of that group.

The necessary culture of sovereign behavior everywhere is itself the problem we must deal with. Not the people working there. A strong government must operate in a certain manner or it will be a weak government.

It is a matter of universal, human social biology. All successful organizations in any industry (including government) want very badly to grow. This is necessary because it is mathematically impossible to stay a constant size. Shrinking is both painful and risky. Any group is self-perpetuating and this means that it must try to grow. In addition, each sovereign enjoys a monopoly on the business of government inside its own borders. If the government cannot achieve its purposes at the expense of outside entities then it must look inside its own nation for such opportunities.

The point is that the tasks of government constitute a self-sustaining culture of group behavior. Any individual member of government will either execute those tasks in a reasonably expected manner and consistent with the culture of the group or that person will be considered "anti-social" or at least a poor performer.

On the other hand, you might imagine that the democratic process could introduce fundamental changes into the government. But that is impossible too. For example, the political process in our own two-party republic (the hands down most successful on Earth) delivers middle-of-the-road moderates who dominate both major parties, the Congress and the executive agencies of government top to bottom. These moderates are remarkably difficult to distinguish (without a program) and are nearly interchangable once they are in office.

Sovereign government is a service organization that we initially agreed to subordinate ourselves to out of our own self-interest and that now (thousands of years later) we have little choice about. Nevertheless, the services our government might perform for us better, faster and cheaper than we can do for ourselves are finite and we have now reached mechanical limitations regarding government's portfolio. We may not need government any less, but we also do not need very much more from government.

Hereafter, global society will grow faster than government and fewer new tasks will be abrogated. Some of the more intrusive tasks already appropriated by the government will be quietly taken back.

Without military imperialism as a sovereign option (since 1991) it is inevitable that a competitive government will not need to use its GDP industrial base to prepare the nation for all out modern warfare. More of the wealth created by each economy must now be reinvested as working capital to create wealth. Nations who figure out how to do this sooner than later will enjoy an unfair competitive advantage.

We are not the government. The government and its culture of group behavior exists independent of any of us. We cannot make the government less powerful. The government holds absolute power over our lives, our liberty, our health and (through eminent domain) our property. We need to go about making ourselves financially stronger rather than to in any way confront any sovereign government. The tasks global society assigns to sovereign group behavior will relatively diminish as we no longer allow further intrusions into the cultural integrity of our own affairs. We will mind our own business and thank everyone who is not "us" to do the same.

Reduction
Look at a corporation doing this to a small company. Is there a diference? Business is like war. Defeat is the result of bad decisions or weakness. Do we, as a nation, only play ball with those that somehow make a "fair" decision? In business do I suddenly look and realize I screwed my competition, maybe because I offered a better product, and feel poorly and give it back? Do the nations that got screwed deserve sympathy because they made poor choices? I doubt anyone in Zambia got taken to the cleaners. Rather I suspect a few corrupt people who controlled these resources took advantage of the situation and were greatly enriched. While I can argue strongly for us to establish and nourish self deterministic governance in other countries, and the ethical use of national resources, it is not the duty of private business to determine the worldwide ethos of every global business decision. Is it? First, if we don't do the business then someone else will. Since I think we, as a nation are very ethical, it can be argued that in the long term these people benefit. Second, do the Russians or Chinese offer a better deal? I think perhaps we are the best trade partner a country could hope for.

Only if I let it.
"The government holds absolute power over our lives, our liberty, our health and (through eminent domain) our property."

If I had your attitude about government, I would kill myself.

Check this book out:

"The Sovereign Individual [BARGAIN PRICE] (Hardcover)
by James Dale Davidson, William Rees-Mogg "The coming of the year 2000 has haunted the Western imagination for the past thousand years..." (more)
Key Phrases: megapolitical conditions, megapolitical factors, commercialized sovereignty, United States, Middle Ages, Sovereign Individuals (more...)"

Be open to other views
The position of the native Africans could remind anyone of old days of European wars. God did not come down to talk to Europeans and resolve their differences. Instead, realization was the only thing to curve bitter wars in Europe. But that is different for native Africans of today. The current shapes of independent countries did not come through native Africans dialogues. Colonization has everything to account for every conflict in Africa.

Be open to other views rather than taking closed stand that "noone will ever convince" you on the native Africans conflict resolutions abilities.



A Supreme Authority
I am surely willing to listen to other viewpoints, but I think we can assume an understanding of the basic facts of life for most of black Africa. Although my opinion about this subject may seem unusual, I certainly believe I am correct. The only way to establish an acceptable level of public safety in Africa is to use technology under the command of an outside authority.

No general rule
There are more losers in some places and more winners in others. About the only general rule you can apply is that the gap between the rich and the poor is growing, not shrinking.

Zambia used to be developing fairly well, back when the proceeds from its copper resources were being used to improve the lives of the people. But that was "socialism". Now it is much more open to globalised capitalism, but everyone is much poorer because the profits are being shipped out of the country, instead of staying there to do some work.

In Russia, the Soviet economy was a terrible mess. You would have had a hard time convincing anyone that their lives would not be improved by capitalism.

What they have now is kind of a robber baron brand of capitalism. And no one's lives have been improved, other than a tiny group of the super-rich at the top.

So I think there is no general rule. Capitalism is a good idea, so long as it is linked to the goals of socially useful activities that can't be run at a profit. State subsidies are in many cases a good thing. And in other cases, a very bad thing.

I don't subscribe to your belief that the losers are too lazy or too dumb to get ahead. To survive at all in the third world you have to be a lot smarter and work a lot harder than you need to survive in the United States.

The duty of money is to make more money
Now that most nations have tried the free trade experiment they are more able to make an informed choice over it. And many are beginning to turn their back on it.

What they have discovered is that the path being offered to them is not one likely to make them develop *like* the US. Instead it is as likely to make them develop *for* the US.

We didn't get where we are today by indebting ourselves to donor nations for unpayable sums of money, and by spreading our legs wide to the world's low bidders. We developed behind a trade wall that was very tall. And as a result we developed strong domestic industries.

A third world country can in fact be made to be very profitable-- so long as the outside money that comes in to develop it is free to flee the country as profit, while doing no work there. By this formula we can extract wealth from the country's nonrenewable resources while giving nothing to its people but the waste products, which they will then have to clean up. Gold, oil and other mining operations leave a lot of waste inthe environment. So the nations that let our corporations in often find themselves much the poorer by the time they leave.

There is a place for all things. There is a place for private initiative, and profit. But governments exist to take up the slack, and do necessary jobs that are not profitable. If it were all up to business to do what it considered important, it would do everything that made its principles richer. It would leave the other work undone.

Once the profit were drained from employees, for instance, they'd be terminated. And once the profit were drained fom the earth, it would be trashed.

So no, it is not the duty of private business to determine the worldwide ethos of every global business decision. It is the duty of business to provide useful services and products to offer to people who have the money that they can afford to purchase them. The other jobs have to be done by the other sectors of society.

Thus it is the duty of profit-oriented pharmaceuticals to make Viagra, weight loss preparations and anti-anxiety medication to cater to the ailments of the rich. If the world's poor want solutions to leishmaniasis or dengue, they will have to turn to some other societal mechanism. No one can make a buck off them when they have no bucks.

Force
Are these nations forced to sell to us? We don't march in every nation and set the prices. The lack of regulation and control in these nations is due to weak governments and corrupt officials. Oh, and dengue is a mosquito borne illness. Perhaps a return to DDT? Don't fret. Were on our way to a better place. Todays WA Times hearolds the saviour of the poor! "The federal minimum is $5.15 an hour. The new state minimum wages go as high as $7.50 an hour. We've made Massachusetts the best state to live in for struggling working families," said Carl Nilsson, an activist for the poor, citing the higher minimum wage and an earlier state law that requires health care insurance for all. " Once again the lies of socialism and false promises predicated upon economic ignorace will save us by raising the minimum wage. Better buy that Big Mac today because the price goes up tomorrow and $7.50 = $5.15 in real worth. The new math? Oh, did I forget union wages are tied to the minimum wage, I guess everything goes up now huh? Alas, in a fwe years they will drumbeat the lack of income for the poor and talk of raising it even more.

Either for us or against us
"Are these nations forced to sell to us? We don't march in every nation and set the prices."

Actually we do. Trade agreements are placed before other nations on a take it or leave it basis. Either they lower all trade barriers and find local businesses driven under by competition from the bottom, or they get frozen out of world trade. It's far from an easy choice, and is actually anything but free (as in "free to choose") trade.

Your parroting of the party line in "the lies of socialism", "false promises", etc indicates a brittle approach to gaining anything like a broad understanding of trade issues. I will take it that for you there is no question but that everyone benefits in every way by free trade, and that there are all winners and no losers. That being the case, any nation's reluctance to join in is inexplicable and due to their mindless adherence to moronic philosophies from the dustheap of history.

In fact inflation is expected to progress in the coming year. Not from any increase in the minimum wage, but from an increase in costs relating to energy use, particularly in corn and wheat.

I would be interested in finding out how union wages are "tied" to the minimum. In fact, I'd be interested in finding out that union wages were a factor in any industry, as unions are no longer a serious presence in manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing itself is no longer a factor in our economy. With free trade, it has gone overseas. The dollar you spend now finds a home in China, and they loan it back to us to buy more of their goods.

Who controls what
I want to keep people healthier by preventing restaurants from serving them trans fats. Maybe that's a dumb idea but it's not malicious. You want to prevent gay marriage and doom gays to lonley solitude. That's malicious.

I admit that I'm not an expert on Christianity, but I studied the Reformation in school and learned that one of the reformation sects (maybe one from Switzerland?) believed in predeterminiation. That means that whether you are saved or damned is determined by God before you are born. In other words, God knows in advance what you are going to do -- no free will.

I understand that lots of people were killed over questions like this a few hundred years ago. Is Jesus a good person or a supernatural part of God? (more deaths).

Do I?
You presume a lot. Who are you to tell me what to eat? It is none of your business at all. I can claim gays are unhealty by spreading aids... As to Gay Marriage, nobody is stopping gays from living together and I see no issue with some sort of civil contract but marriage in the tradional sense is for a man and a woman and the very notion of gay marriage is absurd. It is a sacred institution for the rearing of children and a family. It does nothing to help gays except to normalize it in a secular sense. As to predetermination, it is fatalistic. Free will is the very premise of Christ. You either accept him or not. It is your choice. You can live by his word or not. Determinism is a useless concept to pass off responsibility for ones actions by claiming they had no control. Life is all about self control.

gaps
So it sounds like most people really are richer in the world on average, but it's not right and just because some people who can only afford a peanut car might think it unfair that a richer guy has a BMW. Some losers in Zambia would be the cronies of Kenneth Kaunda, the dictator there for decades. It's not an example of capitalism. In Russian MOST people's lives have been improved and very few would like to return. Russian, like chinamen and east indians are getting richer on average just the way they did in in Euroland, and america, and australia. It's not whether some are richer, but are the poorer ones getting richer. And they are in the places that have most economic freedom. But I think you might be one of the guys here that said his own condition was poorer than before, and poorer than his dad and grandpa's.

It's in the eye of the beholder
"So it sounds like most people really are richer in the world on average, but it's not right and just because some people who can only afford a peanut car might think it unfair that a richer guy has a BMW."

Actually it's a little worse than that. The 4,000 richest people on earth own more property than the two billion poorest people combined. I don't think anyone would object if the poor folks had to drive Yugos while the rich owned Bentleys. That would be a beautiful world.

"Some losers in Zambia would be the cronies of Kenneth Kaunda, the dictator there for decades."

Zambia's a hard place to put in an ideological mold. Prosperity has more to do with the price of copper than with the form of government. But to summarize, Kaunda was a socialist and also a corrupt dictator. The common people prospered anyway, because the price of copper was high. Then, still under Kaunda, the price dropped and poverty spread.

Later, Frederick Chiluba was another corrupt dictator. Only he was a market capitalist. Copper prices stayed low so the people still stayed poor, despite widespread privatisation.

Now they have a guy called Levy Mwanawasa, and he's really a free trade guy all the way. And copper prices are high again, and agriculture's making a comeback. Everything's great apparently, and their stock market's doing fine.

The only problem is that this new prosperity now only benefits a very small number of Zambians. Nearly everyone in the country is still dirt poor. The average age at death is, I believe, only 35-- among the lowest on earth. So I wouldn't say in this case that capitalism turned out to be the answer to their woes.

"In Russian MOST people's lives have been improved and very few would like to return."

In Russia poverty was very bad under the Communists. And since the fall, it has grown even worse. The only difference is that now you have a conspicuously rich new class of wheeler dealers at the top of the heap. Things have very much NOT gotten better for the average Russian.

We need to beware those ideas that "most" people are getting richer, or that "most" people are poor. The two classes don't see that much of each other. But if you look at the best numbers we can come up with, you find that the rich are getting much, much richer. And that the poor are getting more numerous.

"But I think you might be one of the guys here that said his own condition was poorer than before, and poorer than his dad and grandpa's."

No, that would be someone else. Most people in America are doing a lot better than their grandparents were. Conditions have improved here. But that's not the case everywhere on earth. Absolute poverty is as bad as it ever was. And neither capitalism nor communism has been of much help in eradicating it. Give some credit to industrialization, for improving the lot of so many millions of Chinese, Indians and other people regardless of their form of government.

A Standard of Living
Most reports I've seen say, the standard of living in Russia has improved since Vladimir Putin was elected. As in other cases, the Singapore model for example, a society will raise it's standard of living when laws are thoroughly enforced. Order must be maintained. It is an absolute rule. A lack of public safety or social problems like drug addiction affect prosperity very adversely.

I know the article is about Ethiopia. I wanted to state this fact because blatant lawlessness in black Africa is a root cause of poverty there.

Blatant lawlessness never helps
Thanks for the comment. It may well be that the general standard of living is now rising in Russia. It's kind of hard to tell though, for a couple of reasons.

One is that there is no real equivalence between a ruble-defined standard of living and a dollar-defined one. In the old, soft-currency USSR rubles were technically worth nothing. Yet everyone had a job, a pension and other social supports. Other than party members, everyone was pretty much in the same boat-- not destitute but not doing all that well either.

Then Gorbachev destroyed the ruble, and with it everyone's life savings. And the old social support system was done away with, including pensions. So that when people got thrown out of work in the wake of the collapse of the system, there was nothing.

Fine if you lived in Moscow. You could always come up with some sort of hustle. Not so great in Sverdlovsk, or out in the countryside.

The other problem with gaining a clear view is the skewing of incomes. For the year 2002 Russia's GDP grew at a rate of 4%. Not that great for an economy emerging from a deep pit, but okay. Of course there was that 16% inflation rate.

How were those gains distributed? Did any trickle down to the guy on the street? A few fabulous gains among the billionaire class could cover up an actual loss in GDP among the submerged 90%. So what's actually going on, besides incredible gains in speculative bubbles like last year's Moscow real estate market?

Just for one example, the World Bank reports this for 2001: "The richest 10% of the population accounted for approximately 38.7% of household consumption and the poorest 10% approximately 1.7%. It was estimated that in 1999 about 40% of the population had incomes below the poverty line."

Compared to what, we might ask. But it's still pretty shabby. I would offer that if we both were to take a closer look we would find a pattern of increasing income disparities.

http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Europe/Russia-INCOME.html

The other thing, of course, is that Russia is now in a fresh stage of lawless behavior at the top. It has reverted to their all too familiar form of a strongman dictatorship, a strong military and security system, state controlled media and the rescission of democratic processes in government, and a judicial system subservient to the wishes of the Kremlin.

Ask Mikhail Khodorkovsky what the view is like from his Siberian prison cell.

Thanks Roy, for explaining in detail.
I guess when Putin's finally out of office Russia will continue to evolve.

Roy...Back to fundamentals...
Roy,

You mean well and you are bright. But you don't understand all of these matters and you are filling in some of your arguments with mistaken assumptions that may seem intuitive to you. These flaws lead you further off the mark.

For example. You said: "We developed behind a trade wall that was very tall. And as a result we developed strong domestic industries." This is simply not correct. We developed a strong economy by enjoying almost unrestricted global trade.

Our companies are able to go out and purchase inexpensive materials, components and finished consumer products offshore and to incorporate these into their US value added operations. Our dollars are accepted worldwide. The exception has been the use of tariffs to protect American farmers from the unrestricted importation of cheap agricultural products that would compete with such an unfair advantage that our farmers would be financially crushed and our ability to feed ourselves might be put at risk. And such surplus of inexpensive food or fiber should be finding its way to markets with poverty and starvation. In any case, the strength of the American economy has not been very much enhanced by trade barriers that keep our farmers working. (I think you will agree.)

Alternatively, US companies are not restricted by our trade barriers in terms of selling their products offshore. The exception here is regarding technology with military applications being sold to known bad guys. Those transactions should be restricted. (Again, you will probably agree with that.)

Imports and exports. That is all there is and there simply are not any substantial trade barriers. Any such restrictions would have damaged our economy. Furthermore, clearing products through Customs at our borders does not involve the foolishness we suffer almost everywhere else in the world.

Developing economies will not do well as long as they depend on foreign investment. Because those foreign entities thereby own the upside. Successful foreign operations need to raise capital through their own domestic banking systems. This is how Germany, Japan, Korean, Taiwan and Singapore developed themselves. Their banks underwrote their industrial companies and put those nations into the global arena as modern competitors.

China and India got in late and their Central Banks are the secret. Cheap labor is simply not enough. Indeed, a strong banking system will impose the rule of law and appropriate business behavior regarding contracts and property (collateral) far more effectively than any judiciary might. Money talks. Banks work very diligently to lend money only to entities with solid, auditable Balance Sheets, growing Income Statements and one set of books.

You said: "governments exist to take up the slack, and do necessary jobs that are not profitable". I think this is wrong, Roy.

Anything that is not profitable, is thereby not sustainable and society does not value it enough to pay a premium for it. Governments exist because governments must exist. Not because we need a generous, powerful padrone. The sovereign government must perpetutate itself by defending its own integrity, putting its productive resources to work (creating wealth) and then consuming some of that wealth to sustain its endeavors. This is the nature of the sovereign and defines his necessary behavior. Regardless of what is said by politicians.

If the government only consumes (rather than to run State owned, value added operations that try to generate profits) then technically none of the government's "jobs are profitable". Nevertheless, when the government "takes up the slack" this should be in the interest of the sovereign's self perpetuation or should be an investment that will eventually make money (that can be taxed).

Underwriting the poverty of a permanent underclass or creating a Medicare monster that is projected to devour our entire GDP might not be included on that list of prudent investments.

People are the best thing this planet has ever come up with. It should be in someone's best interest that dengue fever gets a cure and a vaccine. Ultimately, however, if we believe that this is the responsibility of the government then we are buying into the idea that we are owned by one government or the other (into perpetuity) and that the government should take better care of its property (us).

I am not willing to depend on any government to take care of (what we might think should be) its business the way we would like. However, I am willing to take responsibility myself for the people who depend on me. And to make a better life happen for all of us. Rather than to hope someone else will do this just because I voted for him. And then to feel like I have a good (Judeo-Christian) excuse and someone to blame when he doesn't. Because he won't.

"I want to keep people healthier "
Statistics are swirling aound the internet claiming a homosexual lifestyle reduced the life expectancy by 20 years.

They are statistics and their validity is questioned.

But considering the high risk behaviour of some homosexuals, they certainly expose themselves to very high medical risks.

How can you claim the same about what people eat?

You are eager to force some to live the way you think they should but not others.


Why?

This is not correct.
"The exception has been the use of tariffs to protect American farmers from the unrestricted importation of cheap agricultural products that would compete with such an unfair advantage that our farmers would be financially crushed and our ability to feed ourselves might be put at risk. "

US agriculture does not need protection from cheaper imported food. Other countries erect tariffs to protect their agriculture from cheaper US food products.

Secrets of American business
My comment:

"We developed behind a trade wall that was very tall. And as a result we developed strong domestic industries."

The record:

"The high tariff on imported steel had greatly boomed the American steel industry. The Carnegie Company had practically a monopoly of it and enjoyed unprecedented prosperity."

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/99/

You can look this up, and I urge that you do. During the period that American industry rose to such powerful heights it was protected by a high wall of tariffs. And steel was at the heart of our empire.

Then when those walls came down we began to hemorrhage American manufacturing jobs. True, we may have gained jobs in other areas. But we lost manufacturing jobs and we lost manufacturing share in market goods.

As a result, we now live with an intractable trade deficit that's going to end up biting us in the ass one day. You can't live indefinitely by buying more than you sell. This is a basic rule of commerce.

Let's look at one area that stands out as being one where we enjoy a trade advantage: ag products like cotton, wheat, corn and chickens.

Are we able to sell these to the world because of lowered trade barriers? Not at all. We are able to penetrate foreign markets and destroy their domestic production only by selling them subsidised products that are made artificially cheap as a consequence of government intervention. We are dumping these products on the world market, through the medium of trade agreements that are written in our favor. If we did not, American products would not be competitive.

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