Ethiopia and the United States: History, Diplomacy, and Analysis

By Getachew Metaferia | Go to book overview

PREFACE

In this book, I reflect on the history of Ethiopia’s relation with the United States in the 20th century, examine current political conditions in Ethiopia and in the Horn of Africa, and analyze the likely direction of the relationship between Ethiopia and the United States. The book is based on primary sources, archival and de-classified government documents, interviews with government officials, and personal observation.

The diplomatic relationship between Ethiopia and the United States, initiated by a private US citizen, has continued for more than a century. The first tangible outcome of the relationship was the signing of a trade agreement in 1903. For the US, it was the first contact with this sovereign African country that had a long and rich history. For Ethiopia, although it had long contacts with other countries, it was the first formal interaction with a newly emerging powerhouse. Each expected the furthering of own national interests. The two countries were fascinated with each other and that helped in the blossoming of diplomatic relations.

Ethiopia and the United States have benefited from each other and, as would be expected of two sovereign states, have also experienced frustrations. The diplomatic relationship between the two is carried formally by diplomats, although private citizens have played some roles. A new phenomenon in the relationship between the two is the role of the Ethiopian diaspora in the US that has gained visibility and political acumen and is playing a positive role in the relationship between the two — the sending and the receiving countries. These new actors in the field of diplomacy seem to be a harbinger of the future which points to globalization and an increased human mobility.

The diplomatic relationship between the two countries has been influenced by the personalities of individual political actors, domestic political environment, and global dynamics. World War II, the ensuing Cold War, and the current post-9/11 state of affairs have had a bearing on the relationship between the two countries. Both countries continue to maximize their own interests. The United States, however, is a dominant global power while Ethiopia is a poor developing country. In this

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