By Teweldeberhan Gebre
A distinguished scholar, author, and Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council African Center, Ms. Bronwyn Bruton has come again with an updated briefing under the title “Eritrea: Coming in from the Cold”. In her brief report Ms. Bruton widely covered the historical accounts of the US-Eritrea relation, recent development in Eritrea, the US interest, and the dividing lines in the US-Eritrea relations. I genuinely greet Ms. Bruton for her usual balanced views on the US-Eritrea. While I fully approve Ms. Bruton’s assessment on the US-Eritrea diplomatic relations’ rifts and her recommendations to repair the diplomatic rifts between the US and Eritrea, with all respect, I disagree on her central message that improved relations between the US and Eritrea will improve the political and economic challenges Eritrea and its people are facing today. Here is why:
- As always and anywhere else, the US’s interest in Eritrea is not democratic governance or respect to human rights. In fact, to the contrary, democratic Eritrea will not serve the US interest because a democratic government means a ‘government by the people for the people’. In other words, a democratic government is accountable to its people and not subservient of foreign interests which the US doesn’t like.
- We cannot rule out the badly handled domestic issues and narrowly think the US’s policy on Eritrea is the sources of all tribulations in Eritrea. We all know that Eritrea is ruled by strong men not by strong institutions. Institution and institutional rules are intentionally prevented by a bunch of officials to ensure their rule in every aspects.
- We also all know that the US and its close western allies are the historical enemies of the Eritrean people. Eritreans are not naïve to believe that the US’s behavior toward Eritrea is limited solely to the diplomatic holes between itself and the regime in Eritrea.
- The US has successfully weakened the Eritrean regime but miserably failed to weaken the Eritrean people. It is for this reasons that the US is not interested to repair the diplomatic rifts between itself and the Eritrean regime. Unfortunately, the Eritrean regime is unintended working in the interest of the US and its close western allies that always wish to see weakened people and country.
In conclusion, repairing US-Eritrea relations is one and perhaps important at the international level. But, Eritrea’s major challenge is essentially domestic and failure in leadership.