Ethiopia’s Zenawi: Neocon

If neoconservatism is a biographical creed, denoting someone who has evolved from some variant of Leninism or Marxism into a supporter of George W. Bush’s foreign policy of American global military dominance, then President Meles Zenawi certainly fits the bill. A former guerrilla leader of the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front — a Marxist group that supported Albania’s commie dictator Enver Hoxha as the architect of “real” socialism — Zenawi came to power in 1991, and wound up an ally of George W. Bush in the U.S.-led “war on terrorism.” See here for his commie background and his evolution into a neo-liberal Stalinist.

The United States has an intimate military and political relationship with the government of Ethiopia. In July 2003, the Pentagon held a three-month training exercise in tandem with Ethiopian military at the Hurso Training Camp. Ongoing “anti-terrorism” training exercises continue in coordination with the U.S. base at Djibouti. In January of 2004, a new joint U.S.-Ethiopian military base was established at Hurso, in Ethiopia, alongside “Camp United,” where U.S. troops train Ethiopian troops in anti-insurgency strategy and tactics. The record of U.S. military aid to Ethiopia shows a marked increase since 2001. As Keith Harmon Snow points out in an excellent bit of research:

“From 1995-2000, the US provided some $1,835,000 in International Military and Education Training (IMET) deliveries to Ethiopia. Some 115 Ethiopian officers were trained under the IMET program from 1991-2001. …

“For 2002 and 2003, Ethiopia received some $2,817,000 through the IMET and Foreign Military Sales and Deliveries programs. The US also equipped, trained and supported Ethiopian troops under the Africa Regional Peacekeeping Program. Ethiopia has remained a participant of the IMET program in 2000-2004. In August 2003, the U.S. committed $28 million for international tradeenhancements with Ethiopia.”

The tyrant Zenawi is killing his own citizens with weapons bought and paid for by the United States of America. But he needn’t worry about a cut-off in military or economic aid: Zenawi was warmly welcomed to the White House by President Bush in 2002, just as Uzbek tyrant Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan was greeted with open arms.