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American Foreign Policy demystified

By Mohamed Mukhtar

After the tragic event of Black Hawk Down, in 1993, it seems Somalis are left the begging question of what the American foreign policy towards their country is. Despite reading the publications of many in the know organisations such as American Foreign Policy Council, Foreign Policy Institute and Foreign Policy Research Institute and listening to many well-informed people such as Ambassador Cohen, Somalia is unable to fathom out where American foreign policy stands although once it used to be at the top of American foreign policy agenda. As a result Somalia chooses to discontinue the guessing game and demystify the American foreign policy by holding direct, open and honest conversation with America. The conversation goes like this:

Somalia:          Uncle Sam let me ask you what seems to be an age-old question: what is your foreign policy?


America:         Skinny, tell me yours first.


Somalia:          I wish I had one.



Let me refresh your irretentive memory. You were just 3 years old (1963) when you severed diplomatic ties to Britain and had border dispute with Kenya. When you were 4 years old (1964), armed conflict erupted along the border between Ethiopia and you. When you were 17 years old (1977), you invaded Ethiopia and ejected all Soviet advisers and personal from your country. Throughout your short independent history, you wanted to bring Somalis inhabited parts of Kenya and Ethiopia back to Somalia. Furthermore, during the cold war, you played around with all the big powers. More disastrously, Early 1990s you killed our boys.


Somalia:          Enough history lessons. Just for the record, you failed to mention that the big powers had divided me into five spheres of influence. And for the neighbouring countries, I just wanted to take back what was mine. You didn’t say much about your current foreign policy. Let me ask you blatantly. It is reported that you are now in cahoots with Somali warlords. What do you say about that?


America:         Wow! You are shocked to learn that I may work with the warlords. You made them your leaders. You bankroll their activities. You are prepared to die for them. I would call this a double standard. In other words, you can work with or work for warlords but I cannot use them even in the war on terror. And if you and I ever go astray from our expected positions, it results in dismay and shock. Just for your information, warlords have been in the business of killing long before

September 11, and it is not something we commissioned in 2006.


Somalia:          Have you paid the warlords handsomely?


America:         Read their bank statements.


Somalia:          I am under the impression that you will have no remonstration if Somalia breaks up into small fiefdoms. Am I right?


America:         You are already doing that without my blessing. However, I may just help you to intensify that process. 


Somalia:          Ethiopia’s blessing is more than enough and there is no need to seek yours. How are you going to help me do it?


America:         My partners and I are just prolonging the chaos in the south until those diehard unionists accept breaking up Somalia is the only way forward. We almost silenced members of the old guard those who used to advocate bringing Somalis inhabited parts of Kenya and Ethiopia back to Somalia.  And if you care to listen to those who still want revive the Somali Republic, you can detect that they have started to falter because of Mogadishu’s unabated unruliness. The debate is moving from ‘Somali unity is sacred’ to ‘Somalia unity is divisible’ to ‘how many countries’. I believe few years down the line everyone will accept breaking up Somalia is inevitable. 


Somalia:          That explains! It is little wonder that you always fail to support the outcome of any Somali peace reconciliation despite your involvement in the negotiation process.  In 2000, Abdiqasim became the president of Somalia's transitional government but you refused to support him. In fact, you alleged him to have links with extremist Islamic groups. In 2004, we replaced him with Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf who is known to have fought against Islamic militias when he was the president of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Strangely, you are not keen to back him up. Recently you bypassed him and chose to work with his chief political rivals. It is little surprise the Colonel feels neglected if not ambushed politically. 


America:         Abdullahi Yusuf is our ally against terrorism along with Ethiopia but he is unable to govern from the centre. 


Somalia:          What do you mean from the centre?


America:         I mean Mogadishu, thickhead.


Somalia:          That is rich coming from you. Me! Thickhead! What about Bush. Anyway, when it comes to East Africa, I heard Paul Henze, a former American diplomat and historian, saying there is “a lot to choose between the two countries [Somalia and Ethiopia]. Somalia is a poor scraggly desert there isn't much wealth in Somalia, not too many

people either, it is the sort of tag end of things, it is the edge of the horn; while Ethiopia is a very big, rich country and very talented people.” Is that why you are always tilted in favour of Ethiopia and against Somalia?


America:         Every time I am asked this question I find it rather puzzling. But let me ask you how many Somalis are there who act as Ethiopia’s proxy in your country. If Ethiopia manages to install a puppet regime in Somalia, naturally I prefer to deal with the master and not the marionette. Listen, I wish we could talk more but I have to go in order to deal with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who is becoming a pain in the neck.  

Mohamed Mukhtar
London, UK
Email: [email protected]

The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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