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September 14, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-09-14

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0

OPINION

Page 4

Monday, September 14, 1987

The Michigan Daily

41

Conservative

speaks

on

Eritrea

This is the second of a two-part
series.
The other part was in the
September 10th issue of the Daily.
For this dialogue, Daily editor Henry
Park interviewed spokesperson Scott
Hughes of the Conservative Action
Foundation (1-800-423-7976) and Dr.
Tesfai Ghermazien, Deputy Representative
of the Eritrean Peoples' Liberation Front
(EPLF) in the United States, PO Box
;65685, Washington, DC 20035 (202)
234-9282.
Daily: I just talked with the EPLF
representative in Washington, and what
they told me was that the government they
,are trying to establish is called an
'Eritrean Peoples' Government." They
believe in free elections, free speech, free
writing, private economy; they allow
foreign investment. So my question
comes back to you, does a group fighting
the Soviet Union (They also claim that
they are the group that has dealt the Soviet
Union the biggest blows in the world.),
does a group have to be pro-U.S. before
your group would support them?
C A F: No, not necessarily. I don't
believe that ought to be a criterion set in
stone. I would think the fact that an
indigenous anti-communist group wanted
to free their country from communist-
backed proxies of the Soviet Union would
be cause in and of itself to aid those
people. All that we request - the CAF
- is that the type of government they
favor upon overthrowing the Marxist state
would be democratic in nature. They
don't necessarily have to have a pro-U.S.
tilt.
I think the pattern you are seeing in
Ethiopia is really genocide and it doesn't

vary that much from what the Soviets are
doing in Afghani-stan.
Daily: Do you know of any conservative
groups that support the Eritrean or Tigra-
yan struggles?
CAF: Not that I know of here in DC.
Daily: Do you think that the phrase
"Soviet imperialism" is appropriate?
CAF: Oh, indeed. In fact, if you look

around the world, Soviet imperialism, it's
not fantasy. It's reality. We see it every
day. During the '70s especially, under
unfortunately, the administration of Gerald
Ford and Jimmy Carter, we saw no fewer
than 7 or 8 countries fall to communism
throughout the Third World. And that was
a direct result of America being unwilling
to aid those governments or pro-
democratic forces who were trying to keep
their nations from literally being overrun
by pro-Moscow, pro-Cuban military
forces.
Daily: Do you see China as imperialist
too?
C A F : At this point, no.
Notwithstanding its communist
orientation. I think there are dangers. I
think it's somewhere where we have to
keep a close eye on, but at this point with
Deng Xiaoping in power, they're
primarily concerned with getting Western

investments and technological goods and I
don't think they would dare do anything at
this time to jeopardize getting that aid
from the West. In contrast to their active
and very open support for Third World
liberation movements during the '60s,
they've really kind of backed off from that
now. They're really more interested in
playing an elder statesman role in
Southeast Asia. In fact, they are one of
the leading countries trying to put a block
on aid going to communist Vietnam. So
in many respects, they're actually trying
to help out some of the democratic
countries in the world. I think they're
aware of the Soviet threat in the South
Pacific and they're working together with
the United States to stop that threat. I
would not view them as imperialist.
Daily: Maybe you should just list all the
countries you consider to be imperialist.
C A F: I would say the following
countries are Third World proxies for the
Soviets, which they use literally as
mercenaries around the world where it
would be politically impossible for the
Soviets to be there. For example, there
has been a great deal of talk lately that
North Korean forces will replace Cuban
mercenaries in Africa.
In addition to that there are a number of
countries in the Islamic world which play
host to Soviet interests - among them
Libya, Syria, Iran to some extent. I
would say the Vietnamese have been very
active communist allies of the Soviets,
wreaking mayhem and subversion around
the world. In fact, documentation that I've
seen has been that a lot of the military
weaponry that the Sandinistas are
receiving is coming right from Vietnam.
It's actual American surplus material
captured by the Vietnamese during the

Vietnam War, which has been shipped via
Cuba on to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.
So yah, I would agree that there are a
number of countries that the Soviets
utilize to accomplish their foreign policy
aims, among them the Vietnamese, the
North Koreans, but most importantly at
the top of that list you would have to set
the Cubans.
Daily: The word "imperialism"
originally ap-plied to Western countries.
What do you have to say about that.
CAF: That's unfortunate. I think we all
recognize to some extent that a lot of the
Western powers, many, many years ago
were colonialist in nature. We're not
trying to apologize for the acts they
committed around the world. But in the
modern day, beginning in 1917 with the
Bolshevik seizure of power, imperialism
has become much more known as
something that the Soviets have become
involved in. I think that on the whole,
Western democracies are not angels;
however, they do subscribe to political
beliefs, which are by and large democratic
in nature. The Soviets on the other hand
have stated repeatedly that they do not
want democracy. They want to push the
revolution throughout the world.
It's interesting to note, formerly, the
Soviet Union supported Somalia.
However, they saw that Ethiopia was a
bigger prize and when Mengistu came into
power, they quickly switched alliances;
They withdrew their support from Somalia
and granted it to Ethiopia because
obviously Ethiopia is a stronger country,
richer resource-wise and it's got greater
access to the Red Sea. It's also in a
position, by it's position in Africa, and
it's the largest nation, to influence the

revolutionary movements on many of its
borders. It's another example of the
Soviets' using whatever they can to
advance the communist cause.
Daily: Can you name any groups that
you support which don't have a pro-U.S.
foreign policy stance?
CAF: We support Prince Sihanouk [in
Kampuchea, now called Cambodia - ed.],
not CAF itself, but the United States, but
to the best of my knowledge they are, if
not pro-U.S., then pro-Western.
Offhand, I can't think of any group in
the world that we support that is not pro-
U.S.
I guess I would make the point that the
Afghan rebels, the type of government
they would favor would be democratic, but
it's not anything like we would associate a
Jeffersonian-type democracy with. It's not
going to be the equivalent of the United
States. Their own culture would preclude
that. They're very tribal-oriented. Yes,
we do support the Afghani rebels. But
they're not going to have a replica of
U.S.-style democracy. They're probably
more factional, trying to work out an
agreement where each tribe gets a slice of
the power. There are approximately 7 or
so groups that make up the freedom-
fighters.
They're not' necessarily pro-U.S., but
they do look to the United States and
indeed Western Europe and the rest of the
free world as the body to give them arms.
Other than that though, around the
world, I really can't think of another
commonly known freedom-fighter group
which is anti-U.S., which is being
provided with aid. For the most part, all
of the groups in the world who are
fighting against the communist govern-
ments are pro-Western.

t w lidcigan aiIy
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

, Vol. XCVIII, No. 3

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.

Say it ain't so, Joe

If a student did not feel like writing
a paper for a class and decided to
pjx1giarize something, he or she
would probably be in serious
trouble. The student would face
disciplinary action possibly
inpluding expulsion. The quality of
hdie student's previous work
Wouldn't make a bit of difference.
g Also, the intent behind handing in
a plagiarized paper would be
'rrelevant. It wouldn't matter if all
ie books in the library had been
bglued shut, the pages in the
'ecessary periodicals were not to be
Fpund, or large guard dogs were
,reventing a particular student from
entering the Grad. In our society,
.'articularly at the University, no
-excuses exist for this type of blatant
dishonesty.
Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.)
obviously thinks more should be
expected from students than from a
,residential candidate.
Recently, while on the
'residential campaign trail, Biden
borrowed language from the
y speeches of English Labor Party
leader Neil Kinnock without giving
: due credit.
The New York Times recently
pointed out that Biden used
Kinnock's language, almost
verbatim, in his closing remarks at a
,,debate at the Iowa State Fair, and
had said the ideas had come to him
spontaneously on his way to the
debate.
Aides, while acknowledging that
Biden had failed to credit Kinnock
during the debate, claimed the
,failure to be inadvertent-nurelv the

result of time constraints, and
denied any attempt to deceive.
Politicians often try to imitate the
styles and appearances of other
successful politicians. For example,
it is no coincidence that Gary Hart's
mannerisms resembled that of John
Kennedy, or that President Ronald
Reagan often invokes a phrase
coined by President Truman, "The
buck stops here."
Though imitation can be the
sincerest form of flattery, Biden
clearly overstepped the line by
claiming that the speech was his
own thoughts-calling them "off
the cuff remarks." If Biden
continues in this manner, he may
end up imitating Kinnock's pathetic
showing in last summer's British
parliamentary elections.
Biden's actions, however, in and
of themselves, should not lead
voters to reject his candidacy. The
life of a presidential candidate can
be extremely hectic and the
candidates often have to give
several speeches per day. Gaffes
and miscues are expected from
presidential candidates and, within
limits, are excusable.
But then again, the lives of
students can also be reasonably
hectic. While most students do not
have multiple speeches to give, they
do have papers to write, extra-
curricular activities to attend, and a
social life to maintain.
Based on Biden's precedent, the
next time a student hands in a
plagiarized paper, perhaps he or she
can tell the professor it contains a
few "off the cuff remarks."

Eritrea
By Henry Park
Eritrea is a country with a recent history
that belies the propaganda of both the
Eastern bloc led by the Soviet Union and
the Western bloc led by the United States.
Eritrea has faced colonization by
successive pro-U.S. and pro-Soviet
Ethiopian regimes and both the Soviet
Union and the United States oppose the
current Eritrean effort to free Eritrea from
Ethiopian colonialism.
Equating pro-Western with pro-
democratic, the United States only
supports anti-Soviet rebels who are pro-
U.S. How the EPLF is less democratic
than the contras is hard to imagine unless
"democracy" is just the camouflage of
U.S. imperialism. Then it becomes very
clear. The contras would set up a U.S.
neo-colony in Nicaragua. The Eritreans
want genuine self-determination.
The Eritrean People's Liberation Front
(EPLF) has learned from hard experience
that the United States does not support
"freedom-fighters" unless those "freedom
fighters" are good pawns capable of
fighting for U.S. ruling class interests.
Nor is the Soviet Union the "natural ally"
of Third World countries against
imperialist aggression.
The example of Eritrea pierces the
rhetoric of both superpowers because both
superpowers would prefer an intact
Ethiopia as an ally, proxy and neo-colony.
At the present, neither the United States
nor the Soviet Union will settle for
influence in Eritrea, if such influence is to
be had.
The very real international media silence
on this armed struggle that has lasted over
25 years is in no small part caused by the
fact that neither the imperialist West nor
the social-imperialist East (with the
meaning socialism in words, imperialism
in deeds) can make any political hay out of
Eritrea. Neither side has anything to gain
from drawing attention to its role in
Eritrea.
The nationalist reticence of the Eritrean
People's Libera-tion Front is
understandable given Eritrea's experience
with Italian, British, American and Soviet
imperialisms. Yet, it too contributes to
the silence on Eritrea. The EPLF does not
like to make pronouncements on
international issues since it does not want
to alienate any international actor that
might come to support the EPLF's
principal goal of national liberaton. This

SAUDI ARABIA
suoaN
\
SUDAN
YEMEN d
ETHIOPIA
KENYA

'

I
I

vs. superpowers-

may also help explain why it does not
receive much international media
attention.
Perhaps the EPLF is hoping either or
both of the superpowers will support the
EPLF some day if the EPLF does not

make aggressive denunciations of the two
imperialisms. If Eritrea should fall into
either the Eastern or Western orbit at some
point, that would not change the fact that
there was once a nationalist movement
openly opposed by both blocs.

w
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