In an interview with Bloomberg in 2016, President Obama said the biggest regret of his presidency was his failure to plan for the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi's ousting.
The aftermath of the Libyan Civil War, in which the U.S. and NATO led military intervention in support of anti-Gaddafi rebels, has resulted in Libya's descent from a once developed nation into a state of anarchy and chaos.
In addition to Libya, Obama's interventionist legacy is also highlighted by U.S.'s role in the crises in Yemen and Syria. Unfortunately, in keeping up with his Democratic predecessor, President Biden is following a similar interventionist foreign policy related to the current conflict in Ethiopia, exacerbating the root cause of this conflict and potentially leading Ethiopia into destabilization.
Before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's appointment in 2018, his Party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), now called Prosperity Party (PP), governed Ethiopia for 27 years. EPRDF was led by the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF), a group formed in 1975 to liberate the province of Tigray from the Communist Derg Regime.
The Tigrayan people are an ethnic minority of 7 million people accounting for about 6% Ethiopia's current population. TPLF rose to power in 1991 and restructured Ethiopia's internal regions along ethnic lines. They then formed EPRDF by assigning puppet representatives from the various ethnic regions while ethnic Tigrayans maintained a strong grip on Ethiopia's politics, economy, and military.
In its 27 years of reign, TPLF embezzled hundreds of billions of dollars from Ethiopia, terrorized the Ethiopian people, and created havoc in East Africa.
In 2018, after a nationwide resistance, TPLF was forced to relinquish power to the Oromo and Amhara wing of EPRDF led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Under PM Abiy's administration, political prisoners were freed, there was a crackdown on corruption, peace was made with Eritrea after nearly two decades of cold war (earning Abiy Ahmed a Nobel Peace Prize).
Ethiopia held the most democratic, free, and fair parliamentary election in the nation's history – which Prime Minster Abiy's party won in a landslide. Despite this progress, in an effort to reimpose its waning military and political dominance, TPLF committed terrorist attacks on Ethiopian defense forces stationed in Tigray and massacred hundreds of Amhara civilians.
Ethiopia's law enforcement retaliation against TPLF has now escalated into war, and TPLF continues to commit acts of terror against civilians in the Amhara and Afar regions. TPLF has even stooped low enough to use child soldiers in the battle.
How has the Biden Administration been involved?
The Biden Administration has shown alarming signs of support of the TPLF through its UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Congresswoman Karen Bass, and State Department Spokesman Ned Price. In the past eight months, they have been issuing biased daily briefings regarding the situation in Ethiopia.
The Biden Administration made it clear that it will withhold aid or put sanctions if Ethiopia does not negotiate with TPLF. Many Africans and the African diaspora wonder whether the U.S. itself would negotiate with Al-Qaeda, Al-Shabab, or any other group that committed a terrorist act by attacking its defense forces, which TPLF acknowledge it did to Ethiopian defense forces.
Considering the Democratic Party's interventionist foreign policy, the destruction that occurred in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and the recent failure of U.S intervention in Afghanistan, Africans, and the African diaspora fear that a similar outcome could befall Ethiopia, the symbol of freedom for Africa and the home of the Headquarters of the African Union.
There is concern that the Biden Administration's current stance and policies towards the conflict reflect a pattern of U.S. interventionism and regime change of democratically elected governments – a mistake which the United States has repeated countless times in its history – and something many Africans and the African diaspora consider to be a modern-day colonialism and an attack on Africa’s sovereignty.
If the U.S. hopes to compete with China for Africa's partnership, it must stop this interventionist foreign policy. This approach failed in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and it caused a devastating humanitarian crisis in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. It has also damaged the United States' image across the globe.
Now, despite being the traditional and reliable voting bloc of the Democratic Party, Africans and the African diaspora are now wondering if the Democrats have their best interest at heart and whether it is time to take a serious look at the Republican Party.