Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Millennial Challenge: Dialogue on Lessons of African Development Programs and HIM's Visit to Nixon's White House and Kissinger's Memo

Dear patriotic Global Citizens and friends of Ethiopia without borders:

Re: Dialogue on lessons from the past and current trends on development issues in Africa +

The Emperor HIM Haile Selassie visit to Nixon’s White House and Kissinger’s briefing memos

There have been interesting critical views of the what happened to the HIV/Malaria and TB money promised for Africa.

I am encouraged and inspired by BT Constantinos comments following the HIV AIDS Critics to Africa and the Lessons from the past 40 years as it impacted Ethiopia and Africa in general.

 The call for criticism should not be on the money but where it is utilized. The money should have been used for changing the root causes of the spread of infections, which is poverty, malnutrition, ignorance and lack of enabling environment for progress.

 Infectious Diseases have great friends in poverty, ignorance and malnutrition. So we need to address the disease via comprehensive pre-emptive prevention and early intervention approach. Good Governance, accountability and transparency to all public and private stakeholders at home, regionally and globally is critical.

First on HIV/Malaria and TB Pandemic

 All Infectious Diseases are dealt with prevention, control and treatment protocols that are well known and we do not need to re-invent the wheel. However our priority should be on Prevention and Early Intervention and appropriate rehabilitation into the community.

Poverty synergizes with infectious Diseases.
Infectious Diseases such as HIV, Malaria, TB flourish in communities who are malnourished, un educated and most importantly those who do not have public and private institutions that can respond to challenges and opportunities from Prevention and Early Intervention perspective.

Tuberculosis like leprosy and other infectious diseases flourishes among those who lack early warning systems both for natural and man made challenges to the ecology, security and well being of the economic development of the nation. As such the $15 Billion is too little too late. Most importantly the focus is not at changing the root causes of the problem, but at the visible symptoms and effects.

First HIV Pandemic. This is mainly a sexually transmitted disease which can be wiped out by Mandatory testing of all sexually active populations and providing appropriate counseling and care. The most important task should be eliminating new infections, and caring for those who are positive so that they are contributing members against the spread of infection by ensuring that new members are not infected via prevention and early intervention strategies.

Rollback Malaria Strategy. Malaria is a disease of ecologic poor management. Prevention- Remove the vector, the carries the malaria parasite, the disease is gone. That is what we do here in the Northern Hemisphere. The treatment protocol is well developed and we do not need to deal with them here. However, creating a Surveillance System and infrastructure is critical.

TB is a disease of poverty and is caused by slow rate of reproduction cycle mycobacterium and is transmitted by close aerosol contact with the source of infection. Here too, it has been wiped out from the northern hemisphere where it came from and we could take the lessons from success stories.

They all have one thing in common. These diseases flourish among malnourished, poor and uneducated communities. So, the Nixon-Sellassie Visit and Kissinger memo is critical. The experience of the Horn and Ethiopia in particular over the past 40 years shows that the Emperor was wise but did not have intelligent support from his American counter parts.

I wonder if one could say the same today about the events unfolding in the Horn and Ethiopia in particular.

The Nixon-Sellassie-Kissinger Memo and its lessons for the current leadership of the Horn and the US-EU and UN Security counsel.

The Agenda discussed continues to be our challenge today. Do we have equal partners in these challenges is the real question?
• Security - Pre-emptive rather than defensive security strategy
• Economy - Prosperity rather than poverty reduction strategy
• Integration- Global integration for trade, investment and enterprises
• Global Peace - Peace based on dialogue, engagement and pre-emptive intelligence

All the items discussed in this memo are relevant today. Some have evolved far worse where a Taliban Like -Communist-Islamic Movement is threatening the national security of Ethiopia.

We have a highly energized and pre-emptive Bush Whitehouse that is very different from the Nixon White House. I believe we have a well experienced and resilient leadership in the Horn that can address the issue in a comprehensive format by engaging IGAD, AU and regional powers pre-emptively to prevent a crisis by acting early as we see now the progress unfolding.

Poverty can only be changed by investment and an enabling environment that engages public/private partnership both locally, regionally and globally.

The Silent majority in the Diaspora is a very potent force that can change the cultural, economic and political landscape if it is engaged by creative and far sighted leadership at home and Diaspora.

The era of engagement should begin and I will support Dr Costantinos' article that the Diaspora is ready to be engaged and the vehicle is the lesson from the Nixon-Sellassie-Kissinger Memo, by vowing Never Again, where the future of over 80 Million People is decided by un informed and misguided agents.

For the record highly organized Diaspora Groups have prepared a 100 Year National Security Strategic Agenda for the Horn/Africa with Ethiopia playing the fulcrum of change and we are happy to share some of these Centennial Agenda as circumstances allow.

We trust the recent Marshall Plan for Africa communication is worth considering as a staging point to unfold this Centennial Strategic Agenda. Dr Costantinos' article supports most of the issues of security, prosperity, integration to global economy and the Millennium Development Goals are critical steps to addressing these fundamental challenges of our region.

The time has come to engage the Silent Diaspora Majority towards empowering our communities in Africa.

I look forward for inter-active, strategic and visionary communications from all

With Regards

Dr B

• Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc; e-mail:globalbelai@yahoo.com; Telephone: 703 933 8737

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic message, including any attachment(s), is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. .

PanAfrica: HIV/Aids - Young Criticizes Donation to Africa and Lessons from Nixon-Haile Sellassie Years

I must congratulate Dr. Belai FM Habteyesus for the courage to articulate Ethiopia's current problems of poverty that in a major way translate into the vulnerability of Ethiopians to diseases (such as HIV/AIDS, that is the overwhelming concern of our P2P Forum).

Ethiopia is indeed at a defining moment, where the human development status quo is simply too harrowing to contemplate; with millions affected by epidemics, hunger and illiteracy. We rank on third from the end in our human development credentials and our per capita GDP is among the lowest in the world. Poverty is paramount and widespread and often linked to the degradation of the environment, and lack of access to factors of production and unemployment.

Another issue that has not been very well articulated is Ethiopia's shrinking natural resources base that have been depleted to an extent that the major famines that recur every other year are attributed to the denudation of the ecosystem. Of the 74 million hectares of land suitable for agriculture, the actual size of land cultivated is estimated to be only 14.8%, leaving the nation eternally dependent on international food aid charity.

Perhaps the one issue that is well articulated by some of the major civic groups is the issue unemployment, entrepreneurship and the private sector. The fragmented private sector in Ethiopia faces major constraints as one that is dominated by the informal economy. With many sectors still dominated by the state, the private sector is characterized by major constraints.

In the past half a century, Ethiopians have been fighting to change their nation – both at the political and economic fronts. True as Dr. Belay submits we are no better than we have been in the 1960s. Very little has changed in the configuration of political or social-economic institutions and rules of conduct.

While foreign aid improved the infrastructure significantly in the last decade, this has yet to translate to human development in a major way doing away with the incessant famines that have more than their effect on human lives become an embarrassment to the continent. The testimony to this is the Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume E-5, and Documents on Africa, 1969-1972 that Dr Belai has graciously provided us with. I tell you the talking points in 2006 are not different if someone cares to fish internal memos in the state department today.

Amid this chaotic scene, the Ethiopian Diaspora can be a force for reason : although there are well meaning institutions and forums such as P2P, AHEAD and ENAHPA that are making great strides to assist our population out of penury, the most notable action of the Ethiopian Diaspora is manifested when they have their protest rallies in Western capitals. As a result, donors decision to suspend aid has as its first victim the construction of the road from Addis Abeba to Tarma Ber in North Shoa and Bati in Wollo, the development of our water infrastructure, support to education and primary health care etc.

Nevertheless, the Diaspora can be a force for reason and strategic action that can change politics for good in Ethiopia. A 2005 report of the Forum International for Ethiopians Living in the Diaspora (FIELD) highlighted "the fact that the Diaspora offers an exceptional synergy: the problem-solving perspective that comes with distance and the intense commitment that comes with a sense of deep closeness and belonging. Oh yes, it also includes a lot of men and women with world-class competence in their respective fields: business, medicine, law, academia, athletics, and the arts. Many have also made a lot of money.

The Diasporas hold so much potential for the future of this country; which will only become a reality if we move forward in a spirit of partnership." The report continues to underline the fact that "the Diaspora is in the best position to develop investment and entrepreneurship with long term strategies for employment and growth, as businesses constitute the bedrock of development anywhere in the world"

The Clapham-Henze-Levin papers made available on the net have sparked a global debate that was joined by scores of Ethiopians and indeed those deeply concerned with current dynamics in Ethiopia. Simply stated the Clapham paper bashed the state for failing in its democratic credentials.

Paul Henze argued that the state has demonstrable political credentials, while Donald Levin, an old Ethiopia hand, warns on the dire consequences of the polarizations that are contained in these debates. Significantly, the single most important issue on how the dialogue has been conceived initiated and informed their debate is what borders on a looming 'ethnic war in Ethiopia'.

What is surprising is not that these highly respected foreign scholars have outlooks on the current political vibrancy, it is how the Ethiopians (indigenous or naturalised by other principalities) have come to react to their submissions without due respect to the interests that are demonstrably exhibited at the grassroots, here in Ethiopia. Riding on the bandwagon of such foreign observers, claims and counter claims by political groups and papers penned by pundits; the Diaspora continues to demand their adopted nations, to take punitive measures against Ethiopia.

Nevertheless, much more analytical capacity is expected from our highly educated and technically advanced Diaspora.

Since its emergence in the early 20th Century, the modern Ethiopian State has been typified by autocratic leaders and primarily existed for the benefit of the powerful elite. Consequently society has become distrustful and critical of the state, and wary of having any contact with it. Ethiopia's development, without any doubt, heavily depends on providing enabling conditions for national development.

Public sector inefficiencies undermine political, economic and social stability by undermining citizen's faith and result in a general loss of respect for authority and creating despondency in the general population. It is apparent that as the country enters the 21 st Century there is a need to overhaul development governance and develop institutional alternatives that have proved to function elsewhere in Asia and Latin America. The silent majority both at home and in the Diaspora must be mobilized with urgency to be a voice for reason and logic.

The achievement of the goals propounded in the recently enacted five-year development plan by the legislature is in many measures a decision that will launch the nation's development trajectory into a new era of human welfare; if implemented timely and rightly. Indubitably, such an undertaking requires a work force with a sense of purpose, work ethic, vision, integrity and direction has to do with creating conditions for the existence of the broadest possible range of dialogue, opinions and human sentiments if we are going to achieve the goals enshrined the vision of our new legislature.

Developing and maintaining a work force with a sense of purpose, work ethic, vision, integrity and direction implies acquiescing to a system of economic and social governance based on rule by ability (merit) rather than by race or other determinants of social position.

Meritocracy is now often used to describe a type of society where wealth, income, and social status are assigned through competition, on the assumption that the winners do indeed deserve (merit) their resulting advantage. As a result, the word has acquired a connotation of Social Darwinism, and is used to describe aggressively competitive societies, with large inequality of income and wealth, contrasted with egalitarian societies. Social Darwinism a form of contemporary socio-biology is natural selection applied to human social institutions.

Meritocratic states and the corporate world stress talent, formal education, and competence, rather than existing differences such as social class, ethnicity, or sex. In practice, research on social mobility indicates that all these supposedly neutral criteria favour the children of those who are already privileged in some way.

In a representative democracy where power is theoretically in the hands of the elected representatives, meritocratic elements include the use of expert consultants (that abound in our Diaspora) to help formulate policies, and a meritocratic civil service to implement them. Hence, the Ethiopian Diaspora can have positive influence on homeland politics through creative strategies, processes and linkages. However, this needs strategic thinking, organisation and commitment.

In May, 25 million Ethiopians, 90 % of eligible voters, have proved that it can happen and come to pass peacefully here in Ethiopia.
BT Costantinos, PhD
Centre For Human Environment, Africa Avenue, PO Box 13309,
Tel. +251 (11) 551 1224, Facsimile +251 (11) 551 3851
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Our mission is to advance a rights-based human security and entrepreneurial development

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On 7/22/06, Belai FM Habte-Jesus wrote:
Dear Patriotic Ethiopians and Friends of Ethiopia:

Please review the following documents for your information.

I would like to highlight some of the similarities of 1969 and 2006.

Challenges: Economic and Security fairly similar if not worse now.

Opportunities: Economic and Security Partnership- much better now than then. We have Condi who is much smarter than Kissinger and the Global Terror has educated Americans better than the Middle East pre-occupied Kissinger.

Risks: Some foolish policy makers could misunderstand the Somalia crisis and the Eritreans Alqaeda as Kissinger did but will not let them. Ethiopia has over half a million Diaspora that can be galvanized to action, if we have visionary leadership at home and the Diaspora.

Threats: Ethiopia's misguided communists masquerading as liberation fronts, Coalitions and Alliances can tip the balance and we need to be vigilant and educate the public both internal and external about these threats.

On balance, we have a great leader in Paul at the World Bank and a genius at UK Premier and An African at the UN who has not been good to Ethiopia but can be influenced and most importantly a highly vigilant US Congress that will not allow the foolishness of Nixon years from being repeated.

The lesson is that 40 years later, Ethiopia is in the same boat and we need to take the lesson to heart.

I look forward to your insightful comments.

With regard,

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH

Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume E-5, Documents on Africa, 1969-1972
Released by the Office of the Historian

PDF version


July 6, 1969
FROM: Henry A. Kissinger

SUBJECT: Your Meeting with Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia -- Tuesday, July 8, 10:30 a. m.

Ethiopia is our closest friend in Africa. Our purposes in this visit are (a) to show the new Administration will continue that relationship and (b) to honor the Emperor as a moderate, pro-Western leader with a potential peacemaking role in African quarrels.

The main problem in doing this is to reassure Haile Selassie of our support without being drawn into his own parochial and exaggerated view of threats to Ethiopian security. The Emperor has an appetite for U.S. arms which we can neither satisfy under present military aid limitations nor justify in terms of our own estimate of his position. Moreover, military concerns divert the Emperor from economic development -- where we can help and where prompt action is crucial to Ethiopia's stability and thus to our interests in the country.

The Emperor At 76, on the throne for over half a century, Haile Selassie sees himself as one of the towering figures of modern history. He assumes not only his acknowledged role as Africa's elder statesman, but also a stature and wisdom in world affairs beyond the Continent.

His outlook was clearly shaped by the Italian conquest of Ethiopia in the thirties -- his dramatic but futile appeal to the League of Nations, a bitter wartime exile, a restoration only to find court intrigue and Communist efforts at subversion. Added to these experiences was the traditional fear of Christian Ethiopia being overwhelmed by surrounding Moslems.

The product in the Emperor is a virtual siege mentality, in which Soviet arms aid to neighboring Somalia, Sudan and Yemen seems larger than life. The West, he fears, will repeat the mistakes of the thirties if it underestimates the threat to Ethiopia. Thus, the Emperor sees a common interest with the U.S. in making Ethiopia a bulwark against a Communist-Moslem thrust into the Horn of Africa.

To these views (and most others) the Emperor brings both a passion from tragic experience and a sensitivity born of a royal self-esteem. Yet, as you know from your earlier meeting with him, these deeper qualities that determine his thinking may be deceptively obscured beneath a quiet, almost somber exterior in his personality.

Ethiopia's Domestic Situation and Foreign Policies

At home the Emperor is caught, like most modernizing monarchs, in a dilemma of his own making. He has built a modern state from feudal fragments, surrendered some prerogatives to a constitution, and educated an urban elite -- all in the interests of a stronger nationhood against the external danger. Now he is finding, inevitably, that these steps have only created greater political momentum -- particularly among the young --toward a surrender of autocratic powers which he is determined to preserve.

Thus the student riots this spring at the Imperial University in Addis Ababa, and a growing concern (which we should share) that the Emperor's death will usher in a period of political chaos. Basic reform of the government is probably not possible while the Emperor is alive. But a serious effort to spur economic development could provide an escape valve for the volitile energies and frustrations in Ethiopia.

The Emperor took a halting step in that direction last February by bringing younger progressives into key economic jobs in his Cabinet. These men could make the difference between orderly change and a blow-up in Ethiopia. As with the Shah of Iran and his reformers over the last decade, we have a stake in their success. It remains an open question whether the problem is soluble. Modernization may make royal rule impossible but failure to modernize may produce an explosion.

Beyond this dissidence at the center, the Emperor's most immediate problem is the continuing insurgency of the Eritrean Liberation Front -- an irredentist Moslem movement claiming the extreme northeastern corner of Ethiopia. The Front is armed by radical Arab states and is increasingly sophisticated at sabotage. Harsh reprisals by Ethiopian troops have also helped to strengthen the appeal of the insurgents among the local population of Eritrea.

The army seems well able for the moment to prevent any major gain of territory by the insurgents, but the rebellion is a worry and a drain on valuable resources. The outcome will depend to some extent on the degree of assistance coming to Eritrea from across the Red Sea - Yemen and Aden especially.

The Ethiopians fear greater support for the Front from the new leftist regime in the Sudan, just as they suspect continuing Somali irredentism on the southern border despite the recent detente between Haile Selassie and Prime Minister Egal of Somalia. Ethiopian foreign policy, in fact, has banked heavily on the detente with Somalia to free their flank while facing the extension of Soviet influence, via the Arab states, into the Red Sea Basin. The border truce with Somalia will probably hold because Egal is a strong, inward-looking leader. But the new radical government in the Sudan and the Soviet courtship of Southern Yemen compound the Emperor's fears.

Our best intelligence judges, however, that (1) the Sudanese leftists have their hands too full at home (including their own insurgency in the Southern Sudan) to pose a major threat to Ethiopia, and (2) the Soviets are still on shifting sands in Southern Yemen, where a Yemeni detente with Saudi Arabia, already developing, could all but cut the Russians out.

Aside from regional concerns, the Emperor continues to be a strong supporter of UN peacekeeping and African Unity. He was a founder of the OAU. Both the OAU and the UN Economic Commission for Africa have head-quarters in Addis. You will recall the Emperor has made several -- albeit unsuccessful -- efforts to mediate the Nigerian civil war on behalf of the OAU.

US-Ethiopian Relations

From the early fifties, the Emperor has managed a skillful balancing act between de jure "non-alignment" respected throughout the Third World and a de facto special relationship with the U.S. We have been the heaviest contributor to their economic development, a primary market for their important coffee exports, and the ultimate quartermaster for the Ethiopian army and air force.

Our economic aid now runs about $20 million per year. Military assistance is $12 million yearly. In return, we enjoy a major communications [text not declassified] station at Kagnew, just outside Asmara in Eritrea. We operate under a bilateral agreement that runs to 1978. Kagnew's location provides advantages that would be either difficult or impossible to duplicate. Yet it could be a vulnerable target for the insurgent Eritreans, and gives the Ethiopians the usual host-country leverage in extracting military aid for base rights.

In summary:
-- The Emperor comes here as an ally to (i) cement old ties, (ii) alert us to what he sees as a common and immediate peril in the Horn of Africa, and (iii) get more military aid.

-- We invited him as an old friend to: (i) reassure him of our support, (ii) prompt him to move forward on critical economic progress, but (iii) hold the "price" of good relations -- and thus interests such as Kagnew Station --at the present level of military aid, which is sufficient to the Emperor's real needs.

At Tab A are suggested Talking Points.

The attached State Department briefing book is worth scanning if you are interested in greater detail on the economic or military aid programs.


-- You last saw the Emperor in Addis in 1967.
-- Invite him to give his reflections on the broader state of world politics. (This bow to the Emperor's wisdom should set a good tone but will lead, in any event, to his local concerns.)

Military Aid

The Emperor will recite Soviet and Arab designs on Ethiopia and the Red Sea basin. He may exaggerate Soviet arms deliveries, and conclude Ethiopia urgently needs more U.S. military help.

Your Points in Reply

-- We are watching the area carefully and are most sympathetic to Ethiopia's security concerns.
-- We want to assure the Emperor of our strong continuing support in his defense needs. Our traditional relationships in security matters are clearly in our common interests.

-- But the picture is not altogether bleak:
(1) The radicals in the Sudan have absorbing internal problems.
(2) So too are the Yemenis pre-occupied internally, and the Soviet inroad there is not secure.

(3) Prime Minister Egal's re-election is a strong factor for continuing detente - which the Emperor's statesmanship helped build with Somalia.
(4) In any case, we think Ethiopia's forces can meet any threat from neighboring armies that are poorly trained by comparison.
-- The Congress is very concerned about U.S. military help sparking arms races or diverting resources from development.

-- We have managed to maintain our military aid to Ethiopia in the face of Congressional cuts only because we are concerned about the Emperor's problems. (Ethiopia gets over 60% of U.S. military aid to Africa.)

Economic Aid
The Emperor may catalog economic progress: the Cabinet reshuffle to give development new priority and financial reforms. But he will stress the need for more aid.

Your Points in Reply
-- We think steady economic progress is critical to Ethiopia's stability and thus to her strength against external dangers.
-- We applaud the Emperor's recent steps and his personal concern in development. We want to help every way we can -- including a new $5 million agricultural sector loan now under discussion.

-- Our resources are necessarily limited, however. Ethiopia should also look to the World Bank, IMF and U.S. private investment. We will help them where we can in these efforts.

-- You are deeply concerned about the starvation in Nigeria/Biafra. We know how hard the Emperor has worked for peace in this tragedy. But the need is greater than ever for new initiatives in light of the new Federal Nigerian policy on relief.
� The Federals insist that only daylight relief flights may go into Biafra.

� Yet Biafra insists there must be some third party guarantee of such a daylight air corridor against surprise bombing of Biafran airfields.
-- Does the Emperor see any OAU role in solving this problem of third party guarantees in relief? Could the OAU act jointly, for example, with the United Nations?

-- Or might Ethiopia, as it has in other peacekeeping activities, combine to act with other Africans, including friends of both Nigeria and Biafra?
-- Beyond an urgent resumption of relief, the only answer to the suffering is a peaceful settlement in Nigeria.

-- Does the Emperor see any role for the OAU, for Ethiopia, or for the U. S. in helping bring this about?

-- We are most anxious to explore these possibilities with the Emperor while he is here

• Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc; e-mail:globalbelai@yahoo.com; Telephone: 703 933 8737

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic message, including any attachment(s), is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. .

BT Costantinos wrote:
PanAfrica: HIV/Aids - Young Criticises Donation to Africa

This Day (Lagos)
July 21, 2006, Constance Ikokwu, Abuja

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador Andrew Young, yesterday criticised the $15 billion spent by donor countries to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa, saying the hefty sum would have been more beneficial to the continent if it was channeled to agriculture, healthcare, water and electricity.

Young, who spoke at the closing plenary session of the 7th Leon H Sullivan Summit in Abuja, explained that he was not against scientific research but also stated that he was yet to meet anyone who had received the money spent so far on the disease.
"$15 billion has been spent on AIDS and I don't know anyone that has received that money. With $15 billion released to agriculture, health, water, electricity .we'll make more impact," he said.

He said that the Sullivan Foundation planed to have at least 50 US Mayors represented at the next summit which would hold in Tanzania in 2008. The former ambassador said this was important because there was a significant amount of African Americans in every city in the US.

Belai Habte-Jesus, MD, MPH
Global Strategic Enterprises, Inc; e-mail:globalbelai@yahoo.com; Telephone: 703 933 8737

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This electronic message, including any attachment(s), is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. .

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