U.S. Election 2020: Why War-monger Donald Trump Is A Danger For Africa

Resolute in building the dam

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.


You can bet that Ethiopians and most level-headed Africans are praying that Donald Trump loses the election. 


First there was his reference to African countries as S-hole countries. Then recently he said Egypt could “blow up” Ethiopia’s $4 billion hydro-electric dam project—called the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam—that’s now the subject of dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia.


Egypt claims the dam project, which involves diverting some of the Blue Nile waters, could destroy its economy by drastically altering the flow of waters flowing out of Ethiopia. On the other hand, Ethiopia denies any diverted water would severely impact Egypt’s economy. Ethiopia says it has an intolerable deficit in power and that the dam will help the country’s industrialization project. Prior to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Ethiopia had enjoyed one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. 


Ethiopia used to be synonymous with hunger back in the 1970s. Today Ethiopia offers evidence that an African economy can quickly move toward middle income status and lift-up the quality of life of its citizens.


Ethiopia enjoyed a period of political liberalization over the last two years, since Abiy Ahmed became prime minister. Abiy freed political prisoners and journalists. He invited armed opposition to return to the country and many responded. Millions of Ethiopians participated in rallies to support their new leader. Abiy reached out to Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki; their two countries had fought bitter wars and never concluded a peace deal. The two leaders traded visits. For his efforts, Abiy was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year. 


Yet, there are regional forces within Ethiopia pulling the country in several directions. There have ben a series of high-profile assassinations. There is legitimate concern whether Ethiopia will be able to hold it together. Abiy is balancing many contentious domestic issues while standing on a slippery slope. 


As if these challenges weren’t enough, relations deteriorated sharply with Egypt over the dam project. Irresponsible parties even talk of war. 


Over the last several months the U.S. had been acting as supposed neutral mediator between Egypt and Ethiopia. Then comes Trump’s lunatic remark last week Friday, during a White House call with Sudan’s prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu. The call was arranged to announce news that Sudan and Israel were normalizing relations. (Trump has been touting this as evidence of Middle East peace even though it has nothing to do with Palestine). 


The Ethiopian dam came up during the call. Sudan’s Hamdok said he hoped for a peaceful resolution. Trump suddenly interjected that the project was a “very dangerous situation because Egypt is not going to be able to live that way.” Then Trump added, “And I said it and I say it loud and clear—they’ll blow up that dam. And they have to do something.”


What’s even more troubling is the possibility that Trump could have discussed such a pre-emptive strike with the Egyptian leadership. 


Abiy responded to Trump’s provocation by saying Ethiopia won’t “cave in to aggressions of any kind.” The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry said, “The incitement of war between Ethiopia and Egypt from a sitting U.S. president neither reflects the longstanding partnership and strategic alliance between Ethiopia and the United States nor is acceptable in international law governing interstate relations.”


Total ignoramus Trump doesn’t know Ethiopia’s history. It was the only African country never colonized. It destroyed an invading Italian army of nearly 20,000 commanded by five generals at the Battle of Adwa in 1896. 


Africans must reject Trump’s foolish provocation to war in Africa. 


Voters must send him packing on Election Day November 3. 

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