The Destructive Impact of the Psychopathic and Narcissistic Leadership on the Diplomatic Dimension of Nation Building: The Case of the PFDJ Central Office in Eritrea
The Destructive Impact of the Psychopathic and Narcissistic Leadership on the Diplomatic Dimension of Nation Building The Case of the PFDJ Central Office in Eritrea By Desalegn Abraha Gebrekidan Acting Professor University of Skövde, Sweden Email: email@example.com Abstract: This article examines the
The Destructive Impact of the Psychopathic and Narcissistic Leadership on the Diplomatic Dimension of Nation Building
The Case of the PFDJ Central Office in Eritrea
Desalegn Abraha Gebrekidan
University of Skövde, Sweden
Abstract: This article examines the Diplomatic Dimension of Nation building in Eritrea in light of the diplomatic vision which was officially adopted in 1994. Although the vision was adopted officially in the 1994 PFDJ charter, it was gradually developed during the armed struggle. In other words, the various visions that were officially declared after independence in the 1994 PFDJ charter are based on what is adopted during the first EPLF congress of 1977 and which was further officially announced during the second EPLF congress of 1987. The primary data in this article is collected through telephone interviews, personal interviews, skype-interviews and focus-group discussions with some veteran freedom fighters, former government officials and diplomats, few people who were holding key positions in some government institutions and two social scientists from the international market. Some of the informants have practical experience of the Eritrean diplomacy as they have functioned as diplomats of the government and some have knowledge as to how the narcissistic and psychopathic leaders deal in their diplomacy with the local, regional and international countries, i.e. how they establish and manage neighboring, regional and international cooperation and relationships. The main findings show that the leadership has committed a diplomatic, moral and ethical blunder scoring one of its main failures in the diplomatic dimension of nation building. This is due to the fact that it has applied I know all and listen to me a militarist and dysfunctional diplomatic approach, one way directed without; a negotiation, two-way communication and interaction at all with the concerned parties. In other words it is the lack of soft power and the application of the hard power strategy that led to the failure in the successful implementation of the diplomatic vision. A strategy that combines both hard and soft power, i.e. a smart strategy is an alternative if soft power doesn’t work in international diplomatic relations. Soft power has to be applied first and if that doesn’t enable to achieve the desired diplomatic results, a smart strategy can be applied. An essential winning tool during the cold war which had a long history as a means of promoting a country’s soft power was public diplomacy which is totally ignored by those in power in Eritrea as it doesn’t serve their interest. In other words it has applied a one man designed, decided, and implemented and a fully mismanaged diplomatic approach which is not at all co-operative, although it claims that it will apply a healthy neighborly, regional and international cooperation and relationships as stipulated in the diplomatic vision. Moreover, the dysfunctional militarist, i.e. the one man designed, decided, and implemented diplomatic approach is not properly planned, it is poorly coordinated, terribly mismanaged and very inconsistent which changes every now and then. The diplomatic approach applied has a serious negative consequence on the diplomatic, economic, social, cultural, political, unity (harmony), the respect of equal rights and the guaranteeing of national security and defense dimensions of nation building. The other finding is that the reason why the failed, i.e. narcissistic and psychopathic leader applies a militarist and one man owned diplomatic relationship model is because it clearly understands that to maintain and strengthen its political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, unity, the issue of equal rights, the issue of national security and defense and social power i.e. power of all aspects it has to have a full control of all dimensions of nation building. The reason why the leadership spear headed by the self-appointed dictator do not implement the diplomatic vision is because like all the other visions envisaged in the 1994 charter, the diplomatic vision was not designed to be implemented. The diplomatic vision was developed to help the dictator to get time to create the conditions necessary to implement his hidden vision which the Eritrean people couldn’t yet understand and to develop mechanisms to dismantle it. The last reason for the failure of the diplomatic vision is the lack of a competent, ethical, authentic, legacy building and developmental leadership.
The authors’ findings in the study of which economic model is applied in Eritrea, see Abraha (2004) and another study of the establishment processes of private firms also in the Eritrea market see Abraha (2006) in combination with the national vision adopted by the 3rd congress of the EPLF/PFDJ, 1994, created an interest on the author to evaluate the implementation of the social, cultural, political, economic and diplomatic visions to finally find out how the mobilization and alignment of people to realize the vision is carried out and managed. With this aim in mind, Abraha in (2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015) examined the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of the nation building processes in Eritrea. As a continuation of those studies and based on the recommendation of Abraha (2004, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2014 and 2015), applying the further developed version of the original model, i.e. the conceptual framework, the main purpose of this article is to examine the diplomatic dimension of nation building and the role of leadership in the management, development, implementation and achievement of the diplomatic vision, goals, programs and strategies by mobilizing and aligning people to realize the vision as important components of nation building. Moreover, this article attempts to assess whether the diplomatic dimension of nation building was successful or not and to determine the reason for success or failure and to make further recommendations for the successful implementation and achievement of the diplomatic vision, goals and strategies. It concludes by assessing the achievement of the diplomatic vision and goals and the appropriateness of leadership to the leading and performing task of the diplomatic dimension of nation building with help of the applied conceptual framework. The four additional reasons for conducting this study are; (i) to find out if there is an effective, developmental, ethical, quality, competent and authentic leadership in Africa in general and in Eritrea in particular which can accomplish the task of the diplomatic dimension of nation building successfully. An authentic leadership is an effective, ethical and developmental and at the same time possesses quality and competence to properly manage the abundant and precious resources in the continent for the purpose of nation building, national development and national progress, (ii) There is an absence of adequate knowledge of what nation building is; what the prerequisites for the success of nation building both in Eritrea and Africa are and how the nation building vision and strategies can be planned, implemented and evaluated. With this in mind, the current study attempts to develop further our knowledge of nation building and the role of leadership in the nation building process, and (iii) Such knowledge helps to address the absence of developmental and authentic leadership which is alarming and getting worse from time to time in Eritrea in particular and Africa in general,(iv) If the three purposes discussed above are achieved, effective, efficient and authentic leaders who can build a constitutional and democratic government which empowers the people can be elected; the abundant human, material and financial resources in Eritrea in particular and in Africa in general can be properly managed which are prerequisite for nation building in particular and in the management and development of the Eritrean economy and the economies of the other countries in the continent in general.
Eritreans are also diametrically divided on their understanding regarding the success/failure of the proper implementation and achievement of the diplomatic vision and goals of nation building and on the question of the appropriateness of leadership to carry out the task successfully. Those who belong to the opposition argue that the diplomatic dimension of nation building was a complete failure and they claim that the failure to be due to the absence of appropriate, developmental, effective, quality and authentic leadership to plan, lead and to implement the task successfully. There are also other elements in the opposition camp who maintain divergent views and who claim that the leadership is not at all committed to implementing the vision as it has a hidden agenda which is contrary to the official vision enshrined in the Charter and the Constitution. The supporters of the illegal government claim that the diplomatic dimension of nation building is extremely successful as the leadership is appropriate to perform the task and is at the same time it is committed to the implementation of the vision. In light of the divergent views maintained by the three factions, the current study aims; to bridge or to at least reduce the difference among the three groups’ views which in its turn can create harmony among the people; to facilitate the nation building process, to the effective management of the country’s resources and to the establishment of a constitutional government in Eritrea. Finally, this article attempts to highlight whether the leadership is committed or reluctant to implement the vision as it maintains a hidden vision and if itis found out to be reluctant to implement the vision, the result of this study can help to reduce the gap among supporters and opponents and it can help both the supporters and opponents to understand properly the risk associated with the leadership reluctance and the agenda behind the reluctance to the implementation of the vision. This in its turn does help to develop and implement appropriate strategies, approaches and mechanisms to remove the destructive, kleptomaniac and manipulative self-appointed dictator and to replace him with a developmental and authentic leadership that can perform the task successfully.
Based on Adei (2004) definition of nation building and on the national vision as clearly stipulated in the National Charter of Eritrea (Charter 1994: 10-11) and on the results achieved by the author in his study of nation building, nation building is defined as; the systematic development, implementation and achievement of fostering regional and international cooperation, which is the diplomatic vision; developing appropriate economic infrastructure and policies to achieve economic progress, which is the economic vision; engendering a dynamic value-based culture rooted in the Eritrean people’s uniqueness, which is the cultural vision; creating a matured, progressive, stable and participatory political pluralism, which is the political vision; building social unity and cohesion, which is the social vision; the dynamic organizational structure and national unity (harmony) dimension, which are the united organizational vision; the respecting of equal rights, which is the human rights vision; the guaranteeing of national security and defense, which is the nation defense vision, visions, goals and strategies articulated after independence in light of what was promised to the Eritrean people during the liberation struggle and in the aftermath of the liberation. It is worth to note that, the above definition of nation building is broader and differs slightly from the definitions of Abraha (2009 and 2010) as it includes the diplomatic dimension, the organizational (unity) dimension, the respecting of equal rights dimension and the guaranteeing of national security and defense dimension as the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth components of nation building. Ottaway (2002) postulated that Nation building is difficult, but it need not be a quagmire as long as the effort has clear goals and sufficient resources. Accordingly, the goal of nation building should not be to impose common identities on deeply divided peoples but to organize states that can administer their territories and allow people to live together despite their differences. And if organizing such a state within the old internationally recognized borders does not seem impossible, the international community should admit that nation building may require the disintegration of old states and the formation of new ones. In the same source it is clearly stated that, war is not an acceptable means of state building today. Nation building must be a consensual, democratic process, however such a process is not effective against adversaries who are not democratic, who have weapons, and who are determined to use them.
- A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK (MODEL) OF DEVELOPMENTAL (EFFECTIVE) AUTHENTIC LEADERSIP IN NATION BUILDING
In figure 1 on the next page a model which contains three groups of variables is presented and the three variables are made up of several sub-variables. The three variables are (i) the characteristics/cornerstones of developmental/authentic, effective and legacy-building leadership in nation building, (ii) the dimensions of nation building, and (iii) the role of leadership in national building. The first group, i.e. the characteristics of developmental/authentic, effective and legacy-building successful leadership includes fourteen sub-variables which are quality, legitimacy, just, character, care, competence, authenticity, effectiveness, legacy-building, developmental, transparency, tolerance, accountability and honesty. In this article, the model is developed further by including the last four characteristics/cornerstones of authentic/developmental, effective and legacy-building leadership which are; transparency, tolerance, accountability and honesty.
The second group, i.e. the dimensions of nation building includes eight sub-variables which are the diplomatic dimension, the economic dimension, the cultural dimension, the political dimension, the social dimension, the dynamic organizational structure and national unity (harmony) dimension, the respecting of equal rights dimension and the guaranteeing of national security and defense dimension. The second group, i.e. the dimensions of nation building is now composed of eight dimensions (sub-variables), relative to the previously applied model which was composed of five dimensions (sub-variables). Three new dimensions (sub- variables) i.e. the national unity (harmony) dimension, the respecting of equal rights dimension and the guaranteeing of national security and defense dimension are added to the previous model. The third group, i.e. the role of leadership in nation building includes twelve sub-variables which are setting vision/direction; crafting strategy to fulfill the vision; mobilizing resources, i.e. mobilizing the whole nation behind the vision, goals and strategies; developing other leaders; acting confident and optimistic; expressing confidence on followers; building and maintaining an effective national culture; engaging in ethical practices; leading by example; emphasizing and effectively using human capital, managing change effectively and decision making and problem solving.
- THE EIGHTDIMENSIONS OF NATIONBUILDING
The eight dimensions of nation building see the PFDJ National Charter (Chapter 1994: 10-11) are; (i) fostering regional and international cooperation, which is the diplomatic dimension, (ii) developing appropriate economic infrastructure and policies to achieve economic progress which is the economic dimension, (iii) engendering a dynamic value-based culture rooted in a people’s uniqueness, i.e. the cultural dimension, (iv) creating a matured, progressive, stable and participatory political pluralism, i.e. the political dimension, (v) building social unity and cohesion which is the social dimension of nation building, (vi) the national harmony (unity) dimension of nation building, (vii) the respecting of equal rights dimension and (viii) the guaranteeing of national security and defense dimension of nation building.
- THE DIPLOMATIC (REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION) DIMENSION OF NATION BUILDING
The vision and or goals in terms of the regional and international cooperation, i.e. the diplomatic dimension of nation building for Eritrea are to become a respected member of the international community, by coexisting in harmony and cooperation with its neighbors; and by contributing, to the extent of its capability, to regional and global peace, security and development see the National Charter of Eritrea (Charter 1994:February, 10-16). Accordingly, to achieve the above objectives a country should formulate its foreign policy based on its internal policy and at the same time it should be based on preserving the country’s national interest, promoting collaboration with the international community and working for the interest of peace and stability in its region and in the world. The above goals and vision are not simple tasks that can be achieved in a short period. Although there is no doubt that that the above goals can be achieved, continuous creativity, hard work, time and strong commitment are some of the prerequisites to achieve those objectives (Abraha, 2014). It is clearly stated in the charter that Eritrea can learn many lessons from the rich experience of its liberation struggle. Accordingly, the country can consult its experience and draw relevant lessons so that the future journey of Eritrea and its people will not be endangered. The guiding principles which were the corner stones for the success of the liberation struggle can still be used as a base for nation-building, and for promoting justice and prosperity.
The goals of establishing regional and international cooperation defined in the National Charter of Eritrea (Charter 1994:February, 10-16) are;
- To follow a foreign policy of peace and non-alignment based on independence and national interest.
- Starting with our neighbors, and our surrounding, to establish relations with all countries, regardless of their political and economic, systems based on independence, respect of territorial integrity and national dignity, non-aggression, non-interference in international affairs, equality of mutual interest.
- To build friendship with all peoples, regardless of historical and cultural differences, based on universal brotherhood, equality, peace and understanding.
- To strive for regional as well as global peace and stability.
- To develop economic and cultural cooperation with all countries in order to accelerate our country’s economic and social development.
- To abide by all international laws and agreements to which Eritrea is a signatory.
The six principles which can serve as guidelines to achieve success in all dimensions of nation building are said to be;
- National unity
- Active public participation
- The human element
- Linkage between national and social struggles
- Self-reliance, and
- Finally a strong relationship between people and leadership.
The Concept of Diplomacy and its Development over Time
Hamilton and Langhorne (2011) contended that diplomacy remained closely wedded to grand strategy and often seemed as though it was no more than extension of war by other means. Accordingly, diplomacy became total in its objectives and subject matter like warfare in the twentieth century. Harmon (1971), postulated that diplomacy has so many procedures which range from highly formal devices such as aides-memories, notes, and communiqués at one end to more almost causal and informal conversation at the other. Further, Harmon (1971) defines, diplomacy as a method of negotiating between sovereignties, and although the elaborate ritual and protocol that surround it in practice can sometimes seem pretentious and time-consuming, they have their roots in the very nature of the task. Accordingly a state transmits its position on an issue to another state and receives that state’s response by diplomatic means.
The Role and Definition of Cultural Diplomacy
Being one of the tools of diplomacy, cultural diplomacy is regarded as one of the components of public diplomacy (Mark, 2009). If properly understood and applied, cultural diplomacy has the potential to become a much more powerful tool for improving a country’s image and its relations with other countries. The institute of cultural diplomacy (2009) defined cultural diplomacy as follows, “Cultural diplomacy may best be described as a course of actions, which are based on and utilize the exchange of ideas, values, traditions and other aspects of culture or identity, whether to strengthen relationships, enhance socio-cultural cooperation or private sector or civil society.” According to Mark (2009), cultural diplomacy, the deployment of a state’s culture in support of its foreign policy goals or diplomacy, is now frequently seen as a subset of the practice of public diplomacy, a government’s communication with foreign audiences in order to positively influence them. It has yet the potential to contribute much more effectively to foreign policy goals, to diplomacy, and to governments’ domestic objectives. According to the same source, to enable cultural diplomacy to reach its full potential, however, the practice needs to be understood better, particularly its contributions to national image, branding and social cohesion. Cultural diplomacy in presenting a national image abroad can overcome audience suspicion of official messages and serve to provide substance to national reputation. The four elements of cultural diplomacy are: actors and government involvement, objectives, activities and audiences. Similarly, Schneider (2003)) defined cultural diplomacy as the exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of culture among nations and their peoples to foster mutual understanding and stated that it has played a role in America’s relationship to the world from its earliest days. Schneider claimed that cultural diplomacy in all its variety provides a critical, may be even the best, tool to communicate the intangibles that make America great: individual freedom, justice and opportunity for all; diversity and tolerance. According to the institute of cultural diplomacy (2009), in an increasingly globalized and interdependent world, cultural diplomacy when learned and applied at all levels, possesses the unique ability to influence the “Global Public Opinion” and ideology of individuals, communities, cultures or nations, which can accelerate the realization of the 5 points below. Realizing the firs principle, enables the second, which in turn enables the third until the fifth, i.e. the final principle of global peace and stability is achieved.
The five principles are:
- Respect and Recognition of Cultural Diversity and Heritage
- Global Intercultural Dialogue
- Justice, Equality and Interdependence
- The Protection of International Human Rights
- Global Peace and stability
Cultural Diplomacy and the Public Sector
‘Hard power’ and ‘soft power’ have been distinguished as two broad approaches to conducting regional and international relations by (Nye, 2009). Soft power is defined as “the ability to persuade through culture, values and ideas, as opposed to ‘hard power’, which conquers or coerces through military might.’ According to Nye (2009) though the ‘hard power’ method was historically been a favored policy of countries in conducting international and regional relations, the increasingly interrelated world situation emphasizes the necessity of co-operation on a new level. This makes Soft Power as a component of cultural diplomacy very important. Thus, cultural diplomacy functions as an intrinsic and necessary component of political or economic diplomacy not secondary to it.
The Public and Classical Diplomacy of the Holy See
Matlary (2001) analyzed the impact of the Pope’s public diplomacy in combination with the traditional, classical diplomacy of the Holy See. The Holy See like the most prominent institution of the Christian faith approaches peace not as a means to some political end, or even as an end in itself, but as a necessary part of an ideal social order. True peace is not just the absence of war to the Catholic – as it hardly can be for anyone – unless it is just peace: a peace that permeates all of society. It must secure a just civil life where human rights are respected, a just distribution of goods, and the honest investigation of crimes and atrocities that may have been perpetuated during conflicts. Matlary (2001) makes a theoretical contribution to the literature on the role of public diplomacy and the importance of “soft” power: also small actors can be powerful, especially if they carry legitimacy as representatives of human rights and ‘value politics’,
Public diplomacy as a concept has been defined in several ways see (Manheim, 1994), and its significance and role have changed over time in international politics (Pratkanis, 2001; Ross, 2002). If we take into consideration its goals, emphasis might be given to changing a foreign government by influencing its citizens (Fredrick, 1993), or simply creating a favorable image for one’s own country’s policies, actions and political and economic system (Gilboa, 2000), and communicating directly with foreign peoples (Malone, 1988).
Diplomatic methods include see Harmon (1971) such things as negotiation, persuasion, propaganda, mediation and conciliation, economic pressure, invocation of international judicial procedures, collective action through international security agencies, threat or demonstration of force, forceful measures short of war, full-blown war, or self-imposed isolation just to mention few. In brief – diplomacy is a method or means by which a nation state conducts recurrent international transactions and adjusts to changing world conditions. According to Nye (2008), public diplomacy is an instrument that governments use to mobilize three resources such as the resources that produce soft power arise in large part from the values an organization or country expresses in its culture, in the examples it sets by its internal practices and policies, and in the way it handles its relations with others to communicate with and attract the publics of other countries, rather than merely their governments. According to the same source, public diplomacy tries to attract by drawing attention to these potential resources through broadcasting, subsidizing cultural exports, arranging exchanges, and so forth. In the case where a country’s culture, values, and policies are not attractive, public diplomacy that “broadcasts” them doesn’t produce soft power, and it is very possible that it may produce the opposite.
- THE ECONOMIC DIMENSION OF NATIONBUILDING
As clearly stated in the National Charter of Eritrea (Charter 1994:February, 10-16) the main objectives of the economic dimension of nation building are: gradually to build a strong national economy, to strive to base Eritrea’s strategy of economic development on social justice and economic democracy, to draw up and implement plans to revive and develop the economy which has been destroyed by the long war, to ensure the establishment of a government that plays a significant role in creating conditions conducive to building a strong economy, to encourage the development of a dynamic, competitive and self-confident private sector, to develop an economic strategy which puts emphasis on the full participation of the people and on the development of internal resources and to encourage and strengthen international economic cooperation and investment. As discussed in another source the development of appropriate economic policies and infrastructure to achieve economic progress are some of the corner stones of the economic dimension of nation building (Abraha, 2014).Likewise, the main focus of the economic dimension of nation building is to improve the standard of living of the people, specifically the material welfare of the citizenry (Abraha, 2010). It should put more focus on wealth creation and, to a certain extent, on poverty reduction. Wealth creation should get the priority if poverty is at a very low level and less emphasis should be done on poverty reduction. However, priority should be given to poverty reduction and less focus should be given to wealth creation if there is a wide spread poverty in a country. However, if there is a moderate level of poverty both poverty reduction and wealth creation should get the same emphasis (Abraha, 2012).
In the above referred charter, the government is said to have chosen the path that ensures social justice and real economic development. The fundamental principles to realize these goals according to the Charter are:
- It is the responsibility of the government to create conditions conducive to economic development, to develop realistic strategies and policies, to stimulate the development of human resources and to ascertain the appropriate use of natural resources. The economy should be a market economy. Both public and private sectors can exist and the economy has to be mixed economy. Here is a contradiction as the economy can’t be both a market and mixed economy. One has to be specific from the beginning as it is impossible to be both.
- The private sector has to be revitalized and strengthened with the help of modern skills and economic knowledge. Such measures will enable the private sector to be strong and to play a leading role and to be free, competitive and viable. Moreover, the country has to develop economic policies which attract and encourage foreign investment.
- The economic development strategy must be based on the full participation of the people and self-reliance. Both the human and natural resources must be developed to make them the foundation of the economic development and the economy has to rely and to depend on them.
- To be able to improve industry, commerce, agriculture and social services with a strategy that coordinates public and private sectors and which encourages people’s participation.
- THE POLITICAL DIMENSION OF NATIONBUILDING
The prerequisite to a successful nation building in the political dimension of nation building is the creation of a participatory, pluralist, stable, matured and progressive political order based on the people’s customs and traditions (Abraha, 2012). To establish a constitutional system on the basis of the constitution i.e. to build a strong government and society which accelerates nation-building is the corner stone of the political dimension of nation building. The typical cornerstones of such a constitutional system should have one of its main aims to uphold basic human and political rights which include freedom of faith and of the press which fosters harmony among the people. Further, the constitutional system should be found on the people and be built on the grass-roots, operates on the principles of decentralization, political plurality, openness, tolerance and accountability. It should be a multi-party system in which political parties legally participate and should establish and develop democratic institutions, such as free and strong legislative, judicial and executive bodies, various associations and movements. Learning can be drawn from the mistakes that are done in post-independent African countries regarding the establishment of a political system as concluded by the famous African researcher Basil Davidson. The total rejection of the peoples’ traditions and customs in favor of the capitalist and socialist ideologies, none of which has been appropriate to align and mobilize the African people to focus on development is one of the main errors of post-independent Africa (Basil, 1992).
- THE CULTURAL DIMENSION OFNATION BUILDING
Various studies have confirmed that culture has the potential of promoting or retarding the nation building process and national progress. According to Hofstede (1992), culture is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes one group or category of people from another. It includes the values, beliefs, orientations and underlying assumptions prevalent among people in a society.
3.5 THESOCIAL DIMENSIONOFNATION BUILDING
According to Adei (2004), the social aspect of nation building includes education, health, water and sanitation. Information and communication technology infrastructure can also be categorized under “socio-economic infrastructure” of the social dimension of nation building. According to the same source these factors can be considered as almost the preconditions for modern nation building. The other central aspects of nation building are: building social cohesion, conflict prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts, continuous efforts to build trust, consensus, dialogue, and promotion of justice, equity, basic freedoms and the reduction of bureaucratic corruption.
- THE NATIONAL HARMONY/UNITY DIMENSION OF NATION BUILDING
As it is clearly stipulated in the National Charter of Eritrea (Charter 1994: February, 10-16), the vision of national harmony is for the people of Eritrea to live in stability, peace and harmony, with no distinction along regional, ethnic, linguistic, religious, gender or class lines. Accordingly, if Eritrea had not conducted its struggle, rejecting all sectarian, divisive attitudes and activities, believing in the unity of Eritrea and its people and uniting the latter for one goal, it wouldn’t have attained independence. The state of confusion and decline which cropped up in the struggle was overcame as it was led by national political line and leadership, which managed to organize the people, irrespective of social or ethnic background to achieve victory.
The bases of all programs in Eritrea are believed to be the equality, unity and participation of all sections of the Eritrean society in order to achieve the objectives of the national harmony (unity) dimension of nation building. If government is considered to be as close to some but remote to others, and if all sections of the Eritrean society don’t participate actively in the political, economic and cultural issues of the country, it wouldn’t be able to sustain the peace and stability that exists in the country, leave alone to build and develop Eritrea. Institutional guarantees are considered to be a pre-requisite for national unity to get developed.
3.7 THE RESPECTING OF EQUAL RIGHTS DIMENSION OF NATION BUILDING
It is clearly stipulated in the vision that, see the National Charter of Eritrea (Charter 1994: February, 10-16), the vision of respecting of equal rights dimension of nation building is to strive to make Eritrea a, country of justice and equality where dignity and basic human rights are respected. Moreover, efforts have to be done to respect and secure, social rights of women, workers, children, refugees, the handicapped and others who deserve assistance. It is also clearly stated in the vision that, conditions must be created where the handicapped, veterans of the liberation struggle, the families of fighters and martyrs as well as refugees and displaced peoples can be rehabilitated, become self-sufficient and play their role in the country’s development.
The objectives of respecting the equal rights dimension of nation building defined in the National Charter of Eritrea see (Charter 1994: February, 10-16) are;
- To honor fundamental social rights in Eritrea.
- To respect the equality of women.
- To strive for equal participation of women in all areas, and to encourage women to protect their rights by organizing themselves.
- To respect the rights of workers and encourage them to develop trade associations which protect their rights.
- To support farmers and herders to improve their living conditions, protect their rights and voice their concerns through associations and cooperatives.
- To ensure the rights of children are safeguarded.
- To provide proper upbringing and care for children of martyrs and other orphans.
- To create conditions in which veterans and handicapped people, the families of fighters and martyrs as well as refugees and displaced peoples can be rehabilitated, become self-sufficient and contribute to the country’s development.
3.8 THE GUARANTEEING OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE DIMENSION OF NATION BUILDING
The EPLF/PFDJ claims that it was victorious because it built a people’s army rooted in the people: an army that had strong linkage with the people, participating in their daily lives; an army which was politically conscious and aware of its objectives; a productive army committed to the cause. It further claims that the people’s army was wholly voluntary and not a professional army and it must now establish a national army within the people’s army as its core.
The EPLF/PFDJ postulated in the National Charter of Eritrea (Charter 1994: February, 10-16), that its doctrine on national security and defense must be people-oriented. This is due to the fact that the security it desires is not so much the security of the land but of the people and it should establish a national army, security and police institutions which function in close cooperation with the people. The experience from several other countries, proved that when security and defense forces are isolated from the people, and become instrument of fear and terror, the result is immeasurable damage. Such army and security establishments become instruments of the few who have wealth and power, and serve foreign rather than domestic interests. Such countries become eventually the victims of coups and military juntas and their associated evils.
As clearly specified in the charter, the objectives of guaranteeing national security and defense are:
- To ensure that our doctrine on national security and defense is people oriented, and has a national basis.
- To establish appropriate army, security and police institutions which serve public and national interests, are accountable and function openly, and are bound by a national constitution.
- To ensure that the army and security institutions, continuing the good tradition of the people’s army, are strong, committed and productive, are guided by love for the people and country, and respect law order.
- To ensure that the army and security forces acquire skills and organizational abilities in order to properly perform their tasks.
4 The Specific Roles (Tasks) of Leaders
4.1 Setting the Vision/Direction
According to (Yukl, 2006 and 2013; Palmer, 2008; Hit, 1998 and Ireland & Hitt 1999; Hitt et al., 2010) leaders provide direction to nation building by formulating a national vision, by defining national development goals, by promoting right national values, and by being living models of their conviction. The vision has to provide a sense of continuity for followers by linking past events and present strategies to a vivid image of a better future for the organization. Yukl (2013) stresses that it is with colorful, emotional language that includes vivid imagery, metaphors, anecdotes, stories, symbols, and slogans that the ideological aspects of a vision can be communicated more clearly and persuasively. Awamleh & Garnder (1999); Holladay & Coombs (1993 &1994) assert that the success of a vision depends on how well it is communicated to people and it should be communicated at every opportunity and in a variety of ways. Interactive form of communication, i.e. meeting with people directly to explain the vision and answer questions about it is probably more effective than less interactive forms of communication (e.g., letters or e-mail messages to followers, newsletter articles, televised news conferences, videotaped speeches). Before people support radical change, they need to have a vision for a better future that is attractive enough to justify the sacrifices and hardships the change will require. In order to realize a vision leadership has to succeed in motivating and inspiring – keeping people moving in the right direction, despite major obstacles to change, by appealing to basic but often untapped human needs, values and emotions, (Kotter, 1999). To be the driving force of national efforts a vision has to be translated into S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goals (Adei, 2004 & Bloisi, 2003). Likewise, Yukl (2013) contends that the leader must convince followers that the vision is feasible as it is not enough to articulate an appealing vision. The overall role of the leader is to develop and communicate the vision to secure that his followers will support the vision. Organizations can become chaotic and are less likely to be successful in the absence of a guidance provided by a vision (Hitt et al., 2010). A leader must communicate the organizational goals to the entire organization.…//….since communication is crucial to organizational efficiency (Palmer, 2008).
According to the developmental state theories see e.g. Musamba, (2010) nations which achieve growth and sustainable development are those which are led by quality leadership. One of the main characteristics of quality leadership is that it is guided by a clear vision and commitment to mobilize the masses for the implementation of the vision. The two typical qualities of leadership, i.e. the vision and commitment to mobilize the masses for the realization of the vision are called canons of leadership (Musamba, 2010). Higher education and acquaintance with the necessary knowledge and technical endowments to bring sound change in the socio-economic and political settings of a country are also the other important qualities of leadership.
4.2 Crafting Strategy to Fulfill the Vision
The leader must convince followers that the vision is feasible as it is not enough to articulate an appealing vision (Hitt et al., 2010, Palmer, 2008 and Yukl, 2013). It is necessary to make a strong link among the vision and the credible strategy for its successful implementation. It is also clearly demonstrated in other sources that to achieve the development goals that flow from the vision, every organization – be it governmental, non-profit, or a business – needs to craft multiple strategies (Bloisi, 2003). The development of strategies is also applicable to nation building as Adei (2004) discusses it in detail. Leaders have to put together effective growth strategies translated into effective policies and programs that, over time, enable the realization of national goals.
“At the core of those strategies are quality education; including universal education up to 16 years or 18 years; the development of basic infrastructure; institutional and financial reforms; the removal of bureaucratic and other impediments such as a confused land tenure and titling system that escalates the cost of doing business; a managed but relatively open market economy; a deliberate strategy that aims at the development of local entrepreneurship and business; and a relatively reliable, predictable and less corrupt judiciary to highlight some of the critical policy agenda of such leaders” (Adei,2004, p. 24).
4.3 Act Confident and Optimistic
In Hit et al., (2010) it is clearly stated that a leader has to demonstrate self-confidence and conviction for the followers to have a faith in the vision. What has already been accomplished has to be emphasized rather than how much more is yet to be done (Yokul, 2013). According to the same source, the positive aspects of the vision have to be emphasized rather than the obstacles and dangers that lie ahead.
4.4 Emphasizing and Effectively Using Human Capital
On the issue of human capital it is suggested that strategic leaders should attract and retain the absolute best employee talent available, and continue to develop employee capabilities and core competences, to reward human capital development and use the human capital in the best way for the organization (Hitt et al., 2010).If people are confident about their ability to achieve a vision they will be highly motivated. Especially, if the task is difficult or dangerous it is distinctly important to foster confidence and optimism. Palmer (2008) asserts that a leader’s ultimate goal is to release the human potential of the followers. According to the same source, it is critical to the execution of a strategic plan that the compensation system (reward) be tied to the plan and not exclusively to earnings per share or the budget. This benefits both the followers and the whole organization.
4.5 Express Confidence in Followers
Research findings of (Eden, 1984, 1990; Eden &Shani, 1982; Field, 1989; McNatt & Judge, 2004; Sutton and Woodman, 1989) which dealt with Pygmalion effect clearly demonstrated people perform better if a leader possesses high expectations for them and shows confidence on them. To foster confidence and optimism is especially important when the task is difficult or dangerous, or when team members lack confidence on themselves (Yukl, 2013). The leader should review the specific strengths, assets, and resources that people can draw on to carry out the strategy. Moreover, he should explain why the team is as good as or better than an earlier team that was successful in performing the same type of activity. The fact that the leader must build confidence among the followers is unequivocally documented by Palmer (2008). A leader must communicate high expectations and then ensure that followers develop confidence that they can meet those expectations. They can who think they can.
4.6 Building and Maintaining an Effective National Culture
Creating and maintaining a healthy national culture should be a priority of strategic leaders (Hit et al. 2010). The core values of an effective and conducive culture are innovation, learning, and valuing human capital and team actions (Yukl, 2013).
4.7 Engaging in Ethical Practices
One of the ethical roles that strategic leaders should play is in establishing ethical practices (Yukl, 2013). It is argued in the same source that effective strategic leaders place a strong emphasis on honesty, trust, and integrity in the decision-making process and in the implementation of those decisions. It is very important that these normative values must be instilled in leaders and subordinates throughout the society so that they are clearly understood and observable through their decisions and actions. Personal integrity is the foundation of leadership that a leader at all times must embody (Palmer, 2008).
- Leading by Example
By setting an example of exemplary behavior in day-to-day interactions with subordinates can a leader influence subordinate commitment (Yukl, 2013). According to the same source leading by example is sometimes called role modeling. A leader who demands subordinates to observe a particular standard should also observe the same standard and a leader who requests subordinates to make special sacrifices should set an example by doing the same.
4.9 Mobilizing Resources, i.e. The Whole Nation behind the Vision, Goals and Strategies
Mobilization can be derived from a clear vision, credible strategy, demonstrating commitment to improve welfare and being demonstrably zero-tolerant as far as corruption is concerned. The mobilization of people to achieve a development invariably starts with a competent and trusted national economic management team, such as the Korean Development Institute, and mobilizing the indigenous business community (Adei, 2004). Mobilizing people is different and it is more of a communications challenge than a design problem (Kotter, 1999). To mobilize people, the leader and his agenda must be perceived as credible, effectively communicated using local metaphors, and supported by showing some early results in a few visible areas. A leader can mobilize followers by identifying their goals, desires, wants, and needs, and make them believe that the leader is really trying to help them achieve these aspirations (Palmer, 2008). To achieve the goals of the organization, the leader must link the individual goals of the followers and the overall goals that are incorporated in, for example, a strategic plan.
4.10 Managing Change Effectively
Effective national leaders focus on developing the requisite national capacity to manage the chosen path to change and development (Adei, 2004). Kotter (1999) draws two lessons from the literature that deals with change. First, change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. The second is that critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains. To accomplish this task successfully leaders of developmental state should be highly educated and possess the necessary knowledge and technical endowments to bring meaningful change in the socio-economic and political settings of their country (Musamba, 2010).
4.11 Decision Making and Problem Solving
Taking decisions and solving development problems are the two main tasks of effective leaders. At certain times, leadership, is a lonely job and more so when one has to take the critical, and sometimes, life-and-death decisions (Adei, 2004). A leader must step out ahead of the followers and make difficult decisions without consensus and at times even without adequate explanation in order to resolve the threat to the organization, in times of crisis (Palmer, 2008).
4.12 Developing Other Leaders
A great number of other leaders are needed under the leader of a nation to perform the duty of nation building (Adei, 2004). They can be a vice-president, ministers, regional administrators, and managing directors of state owned enterprises. Moreover, a successful national development leader wouldn’t doubt or hesitate to develop a competent leader to function as his successor with more or less the same vision to continue the national building process already started. The fact that one of the main duties of leaders and managers is to develop leadership and management skill is also discussed in (Kotter, 1999 & Kul, 2005).
- Developmental/Effective and Legacy-Building Authentic Leadership Characteristics
According to Munroe (1993) if a nation lacks quality, legitimate and just leaders, national deterioration occurs. What determines the building of a prosperous and peaceful life and nation is the quality of leadership. Adei (2004) stresses this definition of leadership further by developing the three central elements of leadership, i.e. quality, legitimacy and just. Quality means to be competent, knowledgeable and skilled in the task of nation building. Legitimacy is winning an election and acceptance by the governed. The third is Just. The feeling of justice in a society of any nation on tribal, ethnic or social lines often leads to a harmonious life, the building and strengthening of social capital, and, ultimately, promotes progress. It is confirmed by many researchers that if a country has a just, quality and legitimate leaders, within a certain period of time that very country is put on an irreversible path to socio-economic development.
In line with the above, Janis (1982) postulates that effective leaders tend to possess three important features and they are Character, Competence and Care. Care exists when the subordinates feel that their leader understands their situation and that they are valued through participation. Competence means that leaders have to be capable and skilled to do their task. Character means leaders show honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and principle-centeredness. Authenticity leadership is also another leadership quality discussed in the literature. Authentic leadership is believed to produce desirable, expected and positive results which can be an essential ingredient, i.e. quality of leadership in nation building. In the work of Avolio & Gardner, (2005) authentic leadership is defined as the type of leadership that can result in positive and desirable organizational outcomes in turbulent and challenging times. As a concept authenticity had been thought of, discussed and developed, i.e. explored in the past having its roots in ancient Greek philosophers and specifically Shakespeare who puts it as (“To thy own self be true” which is used to describe leaders who know themselves (Harter, 2002). Novicevic et al. (2006); Kernis, (2003) and Avolio et al. (2004) assert that leaders can choose to seek to know themselves and what they stand for and behaving accordingly in a positive moral and ethical manner without fear or favor and encouraging followers to reciprocate. The adopted set of behaviors of the leader becomes visible to their followers as the leader and followers interact. Leaders are perceived as being true to themselves, i.e. authentic or not from this point. Authentic leaders become true to themselves and encourage followers to reciprocate, not only to help the followers to become true to themselves, but are able to positively influence their already built ideas of leadership (Gardner et al. 2005). In the work of Owusu-Bempah, J. (2011) the three main cornerstones of authentic leadership are honesty, transparency and authenticity. Although, leadership researchers and theoreticians differ on how they define authentic leadership, most agree that authentic leaders (1) are self-aware and genuine, (2) are mission driven and focused on results, (3) lead with their heart, not just thus their minds and (4) focus on the long-term. The other six additional characteristics of an authentic leadership are Tolerance, transparency, accountability, effectiveness, legacy building and developmental.
6.1 The Research Methods
This study contains both primary and secondary data. The secondary data is collected from various sources which deal with the Eritrean economy, nation building and from various published sources which deal with the qualities and the role of leadership as well as from the PFDJ charter. The secondary data from published sources, i.e. the literature review is used to identify the research issues examined so far including their findings and finally to determine the knowledge gap used as a base to determine the research problem and purpose addressed in this work. Moreover, the research problem and purpose in combination with the secondary data is used to formulate the interview questions to collect primary data, to develop the research methods and the applied conceptual framework (model) to structure and to analyze both the primary and secondary data. The information relevant to the issues examined in this article are carefully identified and selected from the published sources and are presented as Eritrean diplomacy in the literature. This information is also used to verify and or to secure the validity and reliability of the information collected by interviewing six people, two of whom have served as ambassadors of Eritrea in different countries, Andebrhan Weldeghiorgis and Adhanom Ghebremariam; two other Eritreans Kubrom Dafla and Daniel Rezene who have enough knowledge and experience as to how the Eritrean diplomacy functions, an American journalist Dan Connell who visited Eritrea several times during the armed struggle and after independence who had an intimate contacts with the various people holding key positions in the Eritrean government including the self-elected president Isayas Afewerki, and the Dutch professor Myrjam van Reisen who has done several research about Eritrea and who possesses adequate knowledge about the governments relationships with the outside world. Moreover, the relevant information from the secondary sources have been seriously considered when the interview questions were formulated, when the interviews were conducted, in transcribing the information collected through interviews, in the analysis of the data and in drawing conclusions. In drawing the conclusions the author has taken into consideration four different perspectives. The first perspective is the data from published sources and the second perspective is the data from unpublished sources. The third perspective is the primary data collected by interviewing the six respondents, two of whom who served as Eritrean diplomats in different countries and the other two Eritreans who have adequate knowledge and experience about the Eritrean governments diplomatic affairs and an American journalist and a Dutch professor. The fourth perspective is the authors’ knowledge, experience and personal observation and understanding of the diplomatic character, policies, attitudes and activities of the Eritrean authorities spearheaded by the self-elected president since the days of the liberations struggle up to the present. This clearly illustrates that the author has checked and confirmed the validity and reliability of the primary and secondary data by merging and combining the various sources and data, i.e. in the published and unpublished as well as primary and secondary data sources.
The primary data collected through interviews are included in the empirical findings and their trustworthiness is confirmed as they do correspond with the facts in the articles mentioned above as well as with the author’s personal observation, knowledge and experience of the developments of the diplomatic characters, attitudes, policies and activities of the Eritrean authorities. It is worth mentioning that the author has not included his own personal observation, knowledge and experience in the empirical findings but has used them only as corroboratory evidence in collecting the information through interviews, in transcribing and analysing the primary data collected through interviews together with the secondary data from the published and unpublished sources and in drawing conclusions. The author decided to exclude his own personal observations, experience and knowledge from the empirical findings to avoid the bias which can affect the validity and reliability of the research conducted and in the conclusions drawn in this article. This approach has increased the validity of the study however the reliability can be moderate like any other qualitative study. The number of the respondents in the primary data is moderate although more would have been better, however as the primary data has been combined and analysed in combination with the secondary data together with the authors knowledge, observation, and experience of the Eritrean diplomacy, the combination of the various sources strengthens the validity of the study although it is difficult to state that the reliability of this study is strong as it is a qualitative research.
The procedure to collect the primary data are; (i) selection of interviewees: for the primary data three interviewees were high ranking officials holding leadership positions during the armed struggle and after independence two of them were also diplomats and one has worked in various organizations as a CEO. The fourth interviewee is also an Eritrean who holds a Ph D. in law works in human rights department in the United Nations office in Switzerland. Four of them are highly educated and experienced economist and lawyers, (ii) to get a balanced view of the diplomacy of the Eritrean government one American journalist and one Dutch social scientist were contacted and interviewed who provided essential and extensive information about the Eritrean diplomacy as they had been in contact with the Eritrean authorities, (iii) After transcribing the interview materials as the author observed that the respondents have critical views about the Eritrean diplomacy an attempt was done to interview authorities with divergent views however they refused to be interviewed. Specifically, the author was very much interested to collect information from the Finish authorities however they didn’t accept the request of the author, (iv) formulation of the interview questions: the interview questions are formulated by strictly following the research issues and purpose of the article and all interview questions are formulated based on the objectives of the diplomatic dimension of nation building as clearly stated in the PFDJ charter of 1994, (v) The research proposal including the purpose and the research questions, research methods and interview questions were read and commented by four researchers who have adequate knowledge and experience about the international diplomacy in various regions. On the basis of the comments received, the research issues, purpose and interview questions were developed further and finally, (vi) the interview questions were sent to six respondents some days before the interview so that they would read the questions and get prepared for interviews. Before asking the specific interview questions, the interviewees were asked to provide general information about the general Eritrean diplomacy, how it is developed and changed during the armed struggle and after independence up till the present. All six people were Skype interviewed which made it possible to record automatically the questions asked and the responses of the interviewees. The information collected with the skype was transcribed and sent to the interviewees for their comments and some changes were done on the basis of the comments received. Some of the information already collected were deleted, some were modified and developed further and some additional information were also collected, (vii) presentation of the empirical findings: in this section the primary and secondary data collected from the primary and secondary sources were presented in a natural setting following the structure of the applied conceptual framework. The six respondents are referred as R1, R2, R3, R4, R5 and R6 in the presentation of the primary findings instead of mentioning the names of the respondents in the presentation of the primary data, (viii) data analysis: the analysis was done by linking the empirical data, i.e. a combination of both the primary and secondary data with the various variables (concepts) and sub-variables (sub-concepts) of the applied conceptual framework (model) in order to address the research issues, i.e. the research questions and purpose. It can’t be claimed that all the variables (concepts) and sub-concepts (sub-variables) are equally applied in the analysis as it was absolutely necessary to make some limitations by putting more emphasis on some concepts/variables which were deemed to be more relevant to the diplomatic dimension of nation building and specifically to the research questions and the purpose of the article. Finally, based on the research questions, purpose and the analysis, conclusions and future research implications are drawn considering the contributions and limitations of the current study.
6.2 Choice and Development of the Theoretical (Conceptual) Framework (Model)
The model applied in this work see figure 1, is composed of three groups of variables and each variable is made up of several sub-variables. The three groups of variables are (i) the first group which is composed of fourteen characteristics/cornerstones of developmental/authentic, effective and legacy-building leadership in nation building. The fourteen characteristics of the first group of variables are quality, legitimacy, just, character, care, competence, authenticity, effectiveness, legacy-building, developmental, transparency, tolerance, accountability and honesty; (ii) the eight dimensions of nation building, and (iii) the twelve roles of leadership in nation building. (i) The first variable i.e., the developmental, effective and legacy-building leadership characteristics is developed further by up-to-dating the literature and including a new concept authentic leadership. The concept of authentic leadership is included in the modified, i.e. up-to-dated version of the model due to the fact that authenticity makes it possible to produce desirable, expected and positive results which are vital components of quality leadership in nation building. The four main cornerstones of authentic leadership are honesty, transparency, tolerance and accountability. This first variable includes ten sub-variables and they are quality, legitimacy, just, character, care, competence, authenticity, effectiveness, legacy-building and developmental. The four additional characteristics of authentic leadership are; transparency, tolerance, accountability and honesty. (ii) The second group, i.e. the dimensions of nation building includes eight sub-variables which are the diplomatic dimension, the economic dimension, the cultural dimension, the political dimension, the social dimension, the dynamic organizational structure and national unity (harmony) dimension, the respecting of equal rights dimension and the guaranteeing of national security and defense dimension. The second group, i.e. the dimensions of nation building is now composed of eight dimensions (sub-variables), relative to the previously applied model which was composed of five dimensions (sub-variables). Three new dimensions (sub- variables) i.e. the national unity (harmony) dimension, the respecting of equal rights dimension and the guaranteeing of national security and defense dimension are added to the previous model. (iii) The third variable, i.e., the role of leadership in nation building is composed of or includes twelve sub-variables in contrast to the models applied in the social and cultural dimension of nation building which are composed of six sub-variables. The twelve sub-variables are setting vision/direction; crafting strategy to fulfil the vision; mobilizing resources, i.e. mobilizing the whole nation behind the vision, goals and strategies; developing other leaders; acting confident and optimistic; expressing confidence in followers; building and maintaining an effective national culture; engaging in ethical practices; leading by example; emphasizing and effectively using human capital; managing change effectively and decision making and problem solving. The model was developed further to include six new sub-variables as it was found out to be necessary to make it more comprehensive so that data analysis could be deeper and wider to make it possible to address the research issues adequately and effectively, to develop new ideas, concepts and strategies of nation building, to make recommendations for future research and research implications. Moreover, including the additional six variables enables us to deepen our understanding of the role of leadership in nation building, to develop appropriate leadership, to demand realistic demands from our leaders and to make an objective and realistic assessment of the performance of our leadership in nation building.
7 EMPIRICAL FINDINGS
7.1 Becoming a Respected Member of the International Community
According to R1 Eritrea is not at all considered as a respected member of the international community as it doesn’t work by institutions. It is not a matter of policy and it is a matter of the overall strategy of the country which is understood to be wrong. The government doesn’t have party institution and as a result nobody can control why policies are not developed and why they are not implemented if they are developed and not at all implemented. Institutions are absolutely necessary to develop and to implement foreign policies. The interviewee believes that in Eritrea diplomacy is destroyed as it is not planned. The authorities don’t have strategy to implement their objectives provided that the objectives are clearly specified and declared. According to R1 the relationship with Ethiopia was created by the party and at the same time it was destroyed by the party which created the relationship without involving the people. According to R1 when the war started people were surprised. How can a war happen in one day if diplomacy was handled properly? Both the people and the party would know that the war would come if there was diplomacy and the war could be handled properly if there was a clearly stated national diplomacy. What is important is not to formulate the diplomatic objectives. The diplomatic objectives (vision) are in the Charter of the party but the party doesn’t implement those objectives as there are no institutions built to implement the diplomatic objectives. Whatever diplomatic policies are formulated, they are kept in the president office and there is no mechanisms of foreign policies and that is the Eritrean leader strategy. The party doesn’t play any role. There is no official state declared foreign diplomacy policy. The ministry of foreign affairs doesn’t play any role in developing foreign diplomacy objectives. The Ministry has contacts with the director of the office of the president Yemane Ghebremeskel who is the advisor of the president. Ambassadors don’t consult/contact the foreign office or ministry but they contact and get instructions from Yemane Ghebremeskel. There are not proper policies of diplomacy and that is part of the president strategy.
For R2, the short answer is that Eritrea is not a respected member of international community and it is considered as an international pariah country due to the so called Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice wrong diplomatic moves. R2 identified two phases of human rights, i.e. in which before 2001 human rights conditions were relatively ok, however, after 2001 human rights conditions became worse and worse. But to cover its failures in the diplomatic dimension it had to be extremely careful and followed antagonistic diplomatic moves. Consequently, Eritrea is classified as an isolated or insular state. This shows that the objectives, principles and objectives don’t match with how they do it in practice especially after the political crises which are called or termed the post 2001 political crises. It is all of the two sides of a coin. The leaders failed in the diplomatic dimension in particular and in all the dimensions of nation building in general and we can say that they are bankrupt in building the nation.
Even according to R3 it is not possible to say that Eritrea is a respected member of the international community at this particular point in time, considering or taking into account the adoption of the resolution of the Human Rights Council, the resolution in the UN Security Council and the findings of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI). According to R3, it is evident that the international community is highly concerned about the situation in Eritrea as a result of the ongoing crimes against humanity as well as the actions of Eritrea in the wider region. Any country which is under watch because of the UN Security Council Resolution in the current international regime, it is difficult to regard it as a respected member of the international community. In sum, considering the clear concern by the UN Security Council with regard to behavior of Eritrea in the regional dimension and the ongoing crimes against humanity within the country, the level of respect of Eritrea as a member of the international community is very low.
R4 stated that, Eritrea tends to be viewed by the international community as a Pariah State because of the accusations that it has created instability in the region and because it’s President Isayas Afewerki has done so. The US has no Ambassador as Isayas doesn’t recognize anybody and despite the differences among the two countries the only way forward on this is to be able to talk. The only way out or forward is to talk, but I think Eritrea hasn’t been good at diplomacy. I think, they need to step back and take a look at the way the world works and either play- or to abide by those rules to be a member of a wider community or to give up according R4.
R5 narrated that he has discussed it in different contexts, which components/factors nation building includes and what Eritrea has achieved so far in each component or part of nation building, what it should do in each field or part including the field of diplomacy. Accordingly the unity of the people and the country which were created during the armed struggle are getting looser and weaker now. R5 further claimed that Eritrean diplomacy doesn’t serve the interest of Eritrea but the existence and interest or survival of those in power or the system. Diplomacy with the USA, Europe, other countries and our surrounding and diplomacy in one way is a continuation of war in other forms or ways in the form of peace. Once the war is finished your sovereignty, land unity and all national interest can be pursued through diplomatic means, however that was not achieved or implemented in Eritrea. For R5, this has not been successful or done to a satisfactory level although he doesn’t believe that Eritrea is the main cause of the problem, chaos or misunderstanding or the conflict or the war but there were no peaceful efforts done to solve the conflict or to settle the dispute by peaceful means. The precautionary measures which should have been taken earlier or in advance taken earlier were not taken in the dispute with Ethiopia, Djibouti, or Yemen. Because there is no legal procedure of working in a legal manner, there is no obeying or respect legal procedure to work by obeying to work based on the law (legally) and one can say that there is a clear problem. These illegal procedures/problems are reflected in all aspects of life. R5 believes that Eritrea hasn’t achieved its objectives as it has become a pariah not a respected member of the international community. Many sanctions are imposed on it. All liberation fighters as citizens sacrificed their life and liberated the country, but sanctions are imposed in the country and it is called North Korea of Africa. Eritrea is despised and is considered as an international pariah. It is even wrong to compare North Korea with Eritrea. North Korea is a nuclear power, it doesn’t close universities and it produces educated intellectuals and nuclear scientists, but Eritrea closed the one university and it is producing semi-illiterates according to R5.
R6 asserted that one can’t claim that Eritrea has become a respected member of the international community. Accordingly, the reason for the failure is that it couldn’t identify its international threats and the most important thing in international diplomacy/relations is to identify your threats. Several years before the border war, i.e., in 1998 Ethiopians started to cross the Eritrean border to graze their cattle. R5 pointed out already in 1994 when he was a Regional Administrator, if Eritrea doesn’t develop a smooth and proper diplomatic relations with Ethiopiaa problem can be created at the national level. This interviewee specifically argued that as there are many Eritreans in Ethiopia and if Eritreas’ relationship with Ethiopia is not properly managed and maintained or if Eritreas relationship with Ethiopia is spoiled, the Ethiopian government can deport all Eritreans in Ethiopia, and our economy being small it can’t absorb them. Accordingly, to identify your threats and at the same time to identify the consequences and results of not managing relationships with neighboring countries or any other country is what international diplomacy/relations is all about. Diplomacy is identifying the negative consequences of mismanaging diplomatic relationships, thereafter to manage diplomatic relationships properly to avoid the negative consequences and to harvest the positive consequences of managing diplomatic relationships properly. For R5 it is very difficult to work as an ambassador of ISAYAS, as he is very inconsistent and changes today what he said yesterday and he changes tomorrow what he said today. He goes around and destroys whatever you do as an ambassador. R5 summarized the discussion saying that it is unrealistic to claim that Eritrea had and implemented a constructive and healthy international diplomacy policy.
7.2 Coexisting in Harmony and Cooperation with its Neighbors
According to R1, there is no goodwill at all and all states claim that they are nonaligned. That is the declaration of all states but in practice we have antagonism with all foreign countries. To give an example, Eritrea has antagonistic relationships with the Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti although it claims that it coexists in harmony and cooperation with its neighbors. Accordingly Eritrea doesn’t have a consistent diplomatic policy due to the presidents’ inconsistency and every now and then changing character which is very unpredictable. Eritrea was active in IGAD but it withdrew its membership and it has similar relationship with the A U. This shows that it has a policy of antagonism and hatred and not the opposite.
R2 said that Eritrea since 1990 only in 4-5 years after independence had carried out military conflicts with four neighboring countries Yemen, Djiboiti, Ethiopia and Sudan except with Saudi Arabia. Living in harmony does not exist in practice in Eritrea. There is no other country which fought with all neighboring countries except Eritrea and as a result it is regarded as a peace disturbing country and it is known for its conflict creating diplomatic moves. That is why the UN imposed two sanctions in 2009 and 2011 to the PFDJ. The main reason for the sanctions were interference in Somalia, the armed conflict with Djibouti and its refusal to admit that there was an armed conflict with Djibouti. In diplomacy Eritrea is considered as a destabilizer and conflict creator.
According R3, Eritrea has a lot of problems with the different countries in the region. There is also a lot of collaboration between different groups in different countries, although they are not collaborations that function very well according to the rules of diplomacy in the international community. The Eritrean government doesn’t follow the rules of engagement in regional and diplomatic relations, i.e. as we currently know them and find them expects what we expect in terms of norms. By norms the respondent means the normal norms is to have regular bilateral relations for governments to cooperate at different levels of the executive branch, i.e. to have a sort of a transparent record of the engagements, but such things are not available in the context of Eritrea. Taking this reality into consideration, to claim that the country will co-exist in Harmony and Cooperation with its Neighbors is unrealistic and impossible is the concluding statement of R3.
R4 said that Eritrea has been at war at one moment or another with every one of its neighbors except with Saudi Arabia. It continues to be in a conflict with Ethiopia, a dispute which is not that difficult to resolve in the long-term. According to R4, at this stage the Algiers peace agreement is broken down and that was the demarcation of the border. Since 2002 Eritrea has said that there is nothing really to discuss as the border decision was rendered and it should be demarcated and Ethiopia says there is a need to talk. In the absence of any communication between the two countries they have stayed exactly where they were in 2002. For R4, the way forward involves communication among the two parties though he totally agrees that Eritrea has the law on its side when it comes to the question of where the border goes. The border decision was a part of a large peace agreement which includes respect for each-others sovereignty and that will involve demilitarization of the border and moving towards the normalization of relationships as well as demarcating the border. As a long time has passed without any progress, the international community has a role to play in this regard. If Eritrea was better at making its case and in building relationships in the international community it could gain more support in the process.
For R5, Eritrea is not in good terms and not in peaceful co-existence with any of its neighbors except with Saudi Arabia. Accordingly, Ethiopia has occupied Eritrea’s sovereign land and there is a no war no peace relationship among the two countries. The Eritrean president was saying that there was no war with Djibouti and few years later he liberated the Djiboutian prisoners of war. Eritrea fought with Yemen about the Zukur Hanish rocks and there was bloodshed and most of what it claimed was given to Yemen. During the time of the interview, Eritrea had with Sudan a friendship among two isolated friends and it is not because they have a harmonious relationship or not because they are in good terms.
According to R6 Eritrea couldn’t exploit all the international opportunities it had. International diplomacy/relations is defined as a cooperation, coexistence, living in peace with neighbors and other countries or democratic societies. But, the system in Eritrea has internal problems and spoiled its international relations. E.G., 1994 it had a conflict with the Sudan and although it does not mean that Sudan didn’t make any mistake or was not part of the problem, Isayas gave the Sudanese embassy office to the Sudanese opposition forces which is unusual in the diplomatic arena. Later, Isayas was asked if Eritrea will help the Sudanese opposition and his response was yes and when asked what he is going to help, his reply was the sky is the limit. This is not a usual diplomatic response and a wrong diplomatic reply.
For R6, there is a Vienna protocol and accordingly a counselor in diplomatic relationship should be abided by international laws. In the ISAYAS regime such laws are unnecessary and useless documents. Regarding the border conflict with Ethiopia, R6 had this to say, it doesn’t mean that there were no provocations and there were always armed problems. The usual procedure is that if there is a problem a country should first report to the regional organizations, later to the continental or OAU and finally to present the case to the UN Security Council not to just enter with armored thanks to Badme as Isayas did. The country suffered the catastrophic consequences of the war and that is because the government is owned, managed and led by an individual which is abnormal and under such circumstances it is natural to see unusual international diplomatic relations.
- Contributing to the Extent of its Capability
7.3.1 To Regional and Global Peace
For R1, Eritrea has never contributed and tried to contribute to regional and global peace. Some party members asked for the implementation of the constitution and the diplomatic objectives and they were accused and imprisoned. They demanded the implementation of the constitution and thereby to empower the people. R1 mentioned that the government tried to mediate conflicts in eastern Sudan however the aim was not to contribute to regional and global peace but to win the support of those in the border with Eritrea and to push them against the central Sudanese government.
For R2, in contrast Eritrea is recognized as a one that disturbs and destabilizes regional and global peace. It has failed in all dimensions and it is one of the countries that produce the highest number of refugees which has heavy and serious implications to regional and global peace. The main problem is the political system in Eritrea which has taken power illegally which was not allowed by the people.
According to R3, the problem is that in the PFDJ communication there is a strong tradition of regarding one truth. For the respondent, diplomacy is about understanding/translating your situation to understanding by other countries which may have a different world view. What lacks in the PFDJ diplomacy is a notion to translate its views on the situation of others in a comprehensible way as they work in a kind of one way communication. But, peace always requires that you have insider understanding of the views of the other party and to also to accept that there is a difference between humans. We have a lot of differences as humans, but if there is a singular concept of the world view and a singular concept of the truth, peace is always difficult to establish. Because the reality is that there is diversity, diversity of epistemological understanding of the truth or the world view and peace always requires two way conversations which is always ignored by the PFDJ.
R4 said that Eritrea doesn’t behave as a state but as a guerilla movement hankered down in the trenches, much like it was in the 1978 after the strategic withdrawal/retreat during the liberation struggle. The government behaves more like a military movement rather than a nation state. Given the fact that it has had conflicts with almost all of its neighbors at one time or another since independence it has not met the diplomatic goals/objectives.
R5 said that if supporting Alshebab is a contribution to regional and global peace it can be said that the country is a contributor to regional and global peace but it is not so. Based on the principle of the enemy of my enemy is almost my friend, both Ethiopia and Eritrea were supporting rival factions in Somalia. In the chaos Eritrea finally remained with the loser’s and sanctions were imposed on it as its leader is not flexible and diplomatic. Actually Eritrea was not there alone and both sides were there and as he is so rigid and if he hadn’t withdrawn from IGAAD the sanctions wouldn’t have been imposed on Eritrea. It is a pity, taking all those failures into account it can be said that he has isolated and weakened the country. On top of the sanctions imposed on it, it is called a pariah state, the North Korea of Africa. The last respondent R6 said that Eritrea could contribute to regional and global peace however it didn’t and in contrast to its diplomatic objectives it destabilizes the region.
- Security and Development
R2 responded saying that one has to consider the human resources (working force) leaving the country and consequently a demographic disaster is happening in highland Eritrea. That will create distortion and a huge demographic gap is being created in Eritrea. The diplomatic objective of contributing to security and development is also a failure. R3s response to this objective is it depends for whom. Accordingly, in the question of security and development, there is always a question for whom? There are some people who feel secured and there is development even if the situation is harsh. On the other hand, there are people who feel that they are not living in desirable circumstances and who feel very little control of their security and development. Thus, when we raise the question of security and development, it is very much a question for whom security and development. In sum, the PFDJ doesn’t contribute to the security and development of the regional and international community.
For R4, it all sounds like a well-crafted public relations statement that is generally divorced from reality. Accordingly, Eritrea has not been secured and it is again a kind of bunkered liberated zone with one of the largest percentage of its population under arms of any country in the world. They have hardly achieved security. The development itself and well there have been significant achievements in some areas of healthcare and of modest improvements in infrastructure. The country’s overall economic and social development has been held back by this situation of no peace no war with Ethiopia. Until they can find a way out of that and open up the society itself in a more democratic fashion, I don’t think that the development of the country is going to get very far. For R5, the leader hasn’t developed his country and to whom can he contribute. Eritreans are living with coupons and he is controlling their daily life with coupon, giving them two breads a day. Charity begins at home and someone who oppresses his own people can’t contribute to security and development. For R6, the country has not at all contributed to regional security and development.
- 4 Formulating Foreign Policy Based on
- Its Internal Policy
For R1 if internal policy is zero then foreign policy is also zero. If there are no institutions it means that internal policy is empty and it doesn’t make sense to talk about foreign policy. May be the ideologues that are in prison since 2001 only because of demanding the implementation of the constitution really meant it when they wrote it, but the dictator was not committed from the beginning. For R2, the diplomatic objectives of the charter have remained to be golden words on the paper. In principle it is the best but it has never been implemented in practice. Accordingly, there is no country in the world which does not have a constitution and parliament except Eritrea. GB has unwritten constitutional framework as the constitution is not documented. Even North Korea which is known as oppressive and of violating human rights has a constitutional framework and parliament irrespective of whether it is democratic or not. As a national institution Eritrea has no parliament since February 2002, as it is dissolved by the dictator and is the only country which does not have a constitution and parliament. He said that a constitution is only a document which is meaningless. This would mean that all what is written in the charter is empty and meaningless. The country is not governed by a parliament and a constitution but by the whims of the dictator and his cohorts. According to R3, the foreign policy in Eritrea is borrowed from the east, i.e. their foreign policy mirrors the interests that they formulated for their internal policy. In fact this issue requires understanding of the balance of power within the context of all the different countries that participate at that diplomatic level. So Eritrea’s diplomatic approach I think comes from a time that is pretty much outdated now and there are few countries which operate and follow that logic in terms of international diplomacy. R4 comments as follows, inside the country they disrespect the rule of law as they have not implemented the constitution. Outside the country, they insist on the application of the international law to the border. It is a massive contradiction there and I think that is one of the reasons that they are not taken seriously when they make argument around the EEBC border decision.
R5 said that is exactly correct in their situation as internal- and foreign policy is directed towards regime security not the national interest of Eritrea and its people and their internal policy is survival of the regime. What is our internal policy? Asked R6.Our internal policy is vague as it is based on the wishes of an individual with an unstable and unpredictable brain and character. It can’t be said that our internal policy has been reflected or influenced our foreign policy. Isayas knows and gives priority to his own interest. What is first or important for him is how he stays in power and this being the internal policy it is difficult to think or consider a meaningful foreign policy based on his internal policy.
- Preserving the Country’s National Interest
What is the national interest of Eritrea is a question raised by R2. Literally, the PFDJ is working against the benefits of the country and its people which clearly indicates that they don’t have the same interest. E.G. in Eritrea there are Ethiopian opposition forces which claim Assab to belong to Ethiopia and they also question Eritrean freedom as they have a hidden agenda. The self-appointed leader collaborates with them and how can one say that he and his cohorts are working for national interest. What interests him and his followers is just to stay in power as far as they are alive. R3 defines diplomacy as the art of give and take in what can be realized and achieved. Thus, it is always important to recognize the interests of the other partners in diplomatic negotiations. Not doing so or not following that principle doesn’t seem to have given many results so far for Eritrea according to R3. The results achieved by Eritrea so far are, a pretty isolated country which relies to a large extent on personal relations and on its capacity to implement campaigns with the help of PR companies. But, one can’t see a strong diplomatic base that represents the country in international diplomacy. R4 said no, national interest is served by peace and stability in the region not by continued confrontation and militarism, so I don’t think the Eritrean leaders do preserve the country’s interest. R6 asked a question again, what is our country’s interest? ISAYAS is always interested in preserving his own interest and gives priority to his own interest. What is important for him is how to stay in power. There is nothing like national interest for ISAYAS and Eritrea can’t preserve its national interest but ISAYAS individual interest as he has a full power to make any decision and to take any measure that preserves his individual interest.
- Promoting Collaboration with the International Community
According to R2, it is the international community UN in 2009 and 2011 that imposed sanctions on Eritrea, how can they promote collaboration and what is the collaboration that they do which shows that they any harmonious relationship and collaboration with the international community. Moreover, in 2001 the Italian Embassy who stated that the G15 and journalists were kept under inhuman conditions was expelled and told to leave the country who was a representative of the European Union in Eritrea. They said persona non-grata and expelled him. This shows that they are in a total misunderstanding with the international community. Later, the UNHRC formed in 2014 human rights inquiry commission is a component of international community. It has listed the violations of human rights done in Eritrea which condemned the crimes against humanity. Taking the three points into consideration the International community can never be considered to be in harmony with Eritrea.
According to R3, if you collaborate in the international community you have to recognize that there is a common public good. That is a common public good that goes beyond the interest of these Eritreans. It would be good if Eritrea would defend the interest of Eritrean’s but then many Eritreans like here are raising questions like why that the situation in Sinai lasted as long as it lasted, how could the government allow its citizens to be kidnapped? What about the situation in the Sudan and Libya? So if there was a genuine interest in preserving the protection of all Eritrean citizens, everywhere, then that should be reflected in at least statements that are provided about these situations. But in that sense I feel that the interests are divided that the Eritrean government seeks to defend the interests of those Eritreans who are loyal to it and not the interests of those who are not loyal to it. Then that raises the question of that the relationship is between the government and those who are loyal which excludes the large proportion of the population. R4 understands Eritrea according its own interest first, that is what every country does, that is what the US does, that is what Ethiopia does, and that is what the Europeans do. However, successful national planning and diplomacy involves finding ways that your interest coincides with those of others and taking advantage of that to promote peace, stability and development in your country, but R4 doesn’t think that Eritrea has done that. The preparatory committee of the 1994 conference prepared the charter and Yemane had a major role according to R6. Accordingly, the charter is a copy of what the west wants and its contents are in other countries documents which are taken directly. Neither the government nor the opposition organizations have drafted original charter to save Eritrea according to R4.
- Working for the Interest of Peace and Stability in its Region and the World
The Eritrean ambassadors do not perform the usual ambassador’s duties and they function as organizers and seminar holders according to R1. The usual procedure is that an ambassador knocks on the door of the host country, however in the case of Eritrea it is the reverse. Host countries knock in the Eritrean ambassadors doors and ask for different kinds of support. There is no proactive Eritrean ambassador that maintains healthy diplomatic contacts with the host country. They don’t do any corridor lobbying in the host countries authorities. Their duty is to maintain the relationship among the Eritrean leader and the Eritrean communities abroad. For R2, Eritrea is in conflict with all neighboring countries. During the Bush II region six months before the election of Ubama, there were four nations classified as states sponsors of terrorism Cuba, Iran, Sudan and North Korea. May be it was exaggerated but the US administration was about to put Eritrea as a fifth country which sponsors terrorism. But Eritrea survived as a surprise. The government doesn’t have peace, stability and harmony with international community and the region as it works exactly to the contrary. R3 said that, The Eritrean proverb says that “Golden words only on the paper” and the Dutch proverb is that “paper is patient”. R3s understanding is that, the Eritrean authorities are very much pre-occupied with their own interests as defined by their own internal dimensions. Diplomacy can’t help too much if a country focuses on the internal interest of a certain group. If a country is not interested or committed to the well-being of the world it is difficult to bring peace to the international community.
R4 believes that it is worth to say that Eritreans have always had a fairly good understanding of the situations around them. In difficult countries like Somalia e.g., it has shown that when the political will was there it could be a force for peace and even in Eastern Sudan is also a good example. But that has been so uneven in its application. R4 thinks at the same time that Eritreans have really misunderstood Ethiopia viewing it from the same lenses that they used in the 1970s and their perceptions are misguiding them in their decision making. According to R6 Isayas can only survive in the time of disorder, unstable situation and war as he can’t live in peace. His personality is built on unstable situation, in war and in the time conflict. His brain lives in wars not in peace and stable situations. He has the capacity/competence to live in war. R6 argued the person maintaining power in Eritrea has abdicated a governments’ role. No food, water, electricity etc, and the leader has done that the army that can defend the country is disintegrated. It is his obligation but he has abdicated it and it doesn’t have the capacity to play the role of the government even if it wants. A system that performs the duty of a government doesn’t exist in Eritrea. The gov’t doesn’t exist in practice or reality. Isayas has abdicated his role of taking care and serving the people although it is his own obligation.
- To Follow a Foreign Policy of Peace and non-alignment based on independence and national interest
According to R1, non-alignment was developed during the cold war. It does not have meaning now as it is an old word. There are a political and economic alliances. It is not a problem to get aligned as long as it has a positive goal. Military alliance to defend your country and economic alliance to build and develop your economy are acceptable and healthy. If you listen to the speech of the Isayas political advisor, Yemane Ghebreab you can easily understand what is missing. Those in power in Eritrea know what should be done but the reason why they don’t it is because they don’t want to do it. There are no institutions to design and to implement the countries policy. R2 believes that whatever the authorities do is based on their very narrow interest and to their benefit. They joined the alliance led by Saudi Arabia against terrorism. They joined it without consulting the Eritrean people just to serve their benefit as they are always after their narrow interest. During the Bush regime when the US invaded Iraq, HGDF joined the US coalition of the willing. Nonaligned countries don’t join such a coalition. PFDJ considers only its narrow and short range political interest and how can it claim non-alignment. R3 thinks that it is contradictory because peace can only result from alignments not from non-alignments. Peace requires connections, you know you can only have peace with me, if I have peace with you. But, I can’t on my own have peace or I can’t have peace on my own. Peace is only a meaningful concept if it is understood in connectivity. I can’t go to an island and say OK I am in peace. Peace by definition relates to a connection among people, countries, etc.
R4 contends that Isayas has had the attitude that there are no strategic allies in the World. Therefore, they are all bad and we can work with anybody whoever meets our short term interests. So, Eritreas’ relationship subtended to bounce around from one relationship to another on a tactical basis. In the short term their relationship provided some advantages/benefits to the regime and but they have not provided long-range/term advantages/benefits to the people of Eritrea. R6 relates the issue to the case of Yemen. According to R6, the Yemenese are the historical partners of Eritrea but Isayas entered the coalition against Yemen as it serves his own interest. The coalition war planes are flying from Assab to bombard Yemen which is not the duty of the Eritrean people. It is very possible that they might have forced him to enter into the coalition to give them Assab but it is not to the advantage of Eritrea. It is a Saudi problem. It doesn’t concern the Eritrean people and taking into account our historical relationship this is not our duty. If Saudi becomes powerful in the region it is a threat to Eritrea. By entering to the coalition, Isayas has violated the vision discussed under 7.2.5. How and what does it benefit to the Eritrean people? How will his intervention influence Eritrea in the future? It doesn’t help Eritrea considering the historical relationship among the Eritrean and the Yemeni people.
- To establish relations with all countries, regardless of their political and economic systems based on independence, respect of territorial integrity and national dignity, non-aggression, non-interference and equality of mutual interest
R1 stated that all the above are not at all done. Accordingly Eritrea is the only country that left the OAU although it returned back to the OAU but it is not back in IGAAD after membership withdrawal. The sanction of 2009 and 2011 by UN started in IGAAD which passed the case to the OAU. Based on the OAU recommendation the UN approved the sanction. Eritrea is the first African country to be recommended for sanction by the explicit request of the OAU. The OAU in its history has never supported or recommended sanction of a member country to the UN. It was only during the apartheid regime in SA that the OAU recommended sanction to the UN. Eritrea is the only country that the OAU explicitly recommended to the UN that a sanction should be imposed on her, which shows how it is rejected, hated and condemned by the international community, i.e. by the regional and international organizations as well as institutions. R3 said “non – interference right” and laughs. According to R3, strong countries don’t need to discuss the issue of sovereignty as their sovereignty is not in dispute. The respondent argued that, the Dutch identity is clearly defined through history and many colonial times and agreements and so on. As a result, there is a strong Dutch identity and the government does not need to keep on reiterating what it is. The respondent thinks that if you need to reiterate a lot of what you are and at the same time if you time and again state that no-one should interfere it then exposes a lot of doubts as to what the foundation of your existence is and I think that is what these words show.
R4 said that the above issue has been discussed several times by giving examples as to how the Eritrean authorities have contradicted that. According to R4, in principle it is a good policy to say that we will work out relationships with all neighbors in a constructive fashion, however the Eritrean authorities haven’t put it in practice or into the reality and they are no more glittering in the paper. When R4 was asked if he thinks that they do understand that they haven’t done so, his response was that it is hard to imagine that they haven’t, however they certainly don’t want to admit it. They prove this in the state of relations now between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen, and Eritrea and Djibouti. According to R4, when one reads their diplomatic objectives, it seems as if they have understood international diplomacy, however in practice they do the contrary. The respondent was asked as to what might be the explanation to such contradictions. His response was that this reminds him very much of the constitution that was written. Accordingly, they put the document together for public relations purposes but at the core of the regime the president doesn’t believe in it. The respondent, i.e.R4 is not sure of understanding the logic of Isayas. R4 said that Isayas has built a kind of a cult, isolation and obsessive self-reliance to the point that it is exclusionary both within the society itself of any difference and exclusionary in terms of difference of relations with neighbors and exclusionary in terms of relations with the international community. R4 continues to argue that Isayas rule is that he has been extremely dysfunctional from the standpoint of Eritrea’s National Interest. The only way that he has maintained the continuing support of the people under these circumstances is by holding out the threat, i.e., the existential threat from Ethiopia which I think is largely exaggerated and by the fact that the alternatives have never been clear and people just don’t want to challenge the dictator unless they can see a viable alternative and that hasn’t resulted yet. For R6, what is written under 7.3.6 above is a lie and the PFDJ never tried to implement or follow those objectives as Isayas is in conflict with almost all neighboring countries and as a result Eritrea is the most isolated country in Africa. If it followed those principles it wouldn’t get isolated.
- Building friendship with all people, regardless of historical and cultural differences, based on universal brotherhood, equality, peace and understanding.
R1 believes that those who drafted the diplomatic objectives in 1994 did it sincerely and the congress delegates also approved it sincerely, whereas Isayas and his clique knew that those objectives will not be implemented. Accordingly, if there were institutions people could oppose and resist whereas as there are no institutions, all those problems came as there are no institutions. If there were institutions and controlling instruments/mechanisms, people could object and take necessary measures like regular meetings could be done to make evaluations of the past and to plan for the future. Where are the institutions to make the follow-up and where are the implementation and monitoring instruments or mechanisms? The problem is that there are no institutions as you need institutions in all dimensions of nation building if you want to build a nation successfully. R3 was asked if Isayas and his clique do evaluations (assessments) of what has been achieved in light of the diplomatic objectives that were set up. According to the respondent, non-interference for the PFDJ means that it doesn’t need to be accountable. This means that it doesn’t need to assess whether it has successfully implemented the charter or not, the charter is adopted, it is there and it exists. The fact that the charter is adopted and the fact that it exists and it is there it is enough for it to be able to state that it is a policy that it is a policy statement that they implement and aspire to implement. The respondent doesn’t think that there is a room for accountability in the mind of the PFDJ. The PFDJ considers its charter as a military charter, which it is what they all do and because everybody is doing it that is what the imagined modus operandi is. If the PFDJ puts something in the paper, it allows them to check if people are acting according to such principles and it gives them the power to correct. In other words it gives them the power to check if anyone under their regime is acting guided by that particular principle. The respondent asserted that, the logic for the PFDJ is probably that the charter will give it the power to itself to correct and punish others if they don’t act as stated in the charter. But, the government itself is outside the realm of assessment, it doesn’t need accountability, the accountability is understood in enforcing the application by demanding loyalty from those all under the regime. For R4, the youth is leaving the country to settle in other countries and the Isayas regime knows that it doesn’t function as promised and planned. For R6 the above principles are a copy and paste from others and they are not there to be implemented.
- To strive for regional as well as global peace and stability
R2 stated that they do exactly the opposite and justified his position by referring to the military conflict with Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen and contended that it is out of context to believe that they work for global peace and stability. R4 doesn’t think they strive and do but he said that they could. He justified his position by referring to the case of Somalia in the 1990s and the early 2000 i.e., the time of the collapse of the Somali Society and the rise of the Islamic Courts. Accordingly, Eritrea was correct to see the Islamic Courts as a viable Unifying Force within Somalia. I think it is an example of where they could have been useful in trying to avoid the breakdown of the society and the emergence of the Al Shebab as the extremist alternative. But as soon as they saw an advantage in supporting the extremists in Somalia to weaken Ethiopia they did. So, their capacity to be peace and stability builders was undercut by the leadership desire to find ways to destabilize its larger southern neighbor. For R6 the PFDJ to strive for regional as well as global peace and stability is a big lie.
- To develop economic and cultural cooperation with all countries in order to accelerate our country’s economic and social development
R2 concluded that the PFDJ regime couldn’t support and sustain itself economically and Eritreans are migrating to neighboring and to distant countries as it has failed to develop its economy which clearly justifies that it has not developed economic and cultural cooperation with all countries to accelerate the country’s economic and social development. For R3 the above is a very aspirational language and it doesn’t work in practice as there is no give and take in Eritrea. R6 responds by asking a question, with whom do the Eritrean authorities cooperate? Accordingly, there is a contrabandist economy in Eritrea and L/C is not used for years. The 09 transit from Tessennei is returned to Eritrea but goods still enter Eritrea. It is difficult for people to understand where the root of the problem is. Goods enter Eritrea illegally and it is the Isayas, his Generals and their relatives that benefits from the contrabandist economy.
- To abide by all international laws and agreements to which Eritrea is a signatory
For R1 this is ridiculous considering how they treat prisoners of war and dissidents as there are minimum requirements to be fulfilled. Relatives have to the right to visit prisoners and to get informed of their where about in 48 hours; physical and mental torture is forbidden and they have to be brought to the court of justice otherwise they have to be released. The report of the inquiry commission accuses PFDJ of violating human rights clearly which shows that they don’t abide by international laws and agreements to which Eritrea is a signatory. They do so only when it does not put pressure on the dictator such as the agreement which deals with; airspace, nuclear bomb, aids, marine and the rights of children as it does not concern the dictator. According to R2, the Eritrean authorities have violated all international laws such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights which guarantee civil and political basic rights of citizens to which they are signatory. In fact Eritrea is accused two times in 2002 and 2003 of violating human rights in the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights Tribunal which is a Semi Judicial Tribunal. Eritrea is also accused in the UN organizations working group on arbitrary detention and other sub-committees of violating deeply human rights. Moreover, it is a country which has no constitution and parliament. Thus, to claim that they will abide by international laws and agreements to which Eritrea is a signatory are empty words as they aren’t put it into practice. The Committee on the rights of women and the committee on the rights of children last year issued two resolutions which they call concluding observations shows that they have poor record of a bad treatment of children and women. R3 argued that it would be good if they were abided by international laws and agreements. But they don’t. On the first place there are a lot of human wrights’ contentions in Eritrea. But the Human Rights issue is one regime and if the government would abide by international laws, it would collaborate with the Special Repertoire, with the UN Monitoring Group, with the COI and with the UN Security Council, but it doesn’t.
Regarding the question of the Eritrean diplomacy, what he would recommend to improve it and if the Eritrean Diplomacy fits with any country’s diplomacy in any sense, R3 had this to say. International diplomacy is first to understand the international challenges and international interests of all the people (citizens) of the country. Thus, my first recommendation would be to understand those interests and to represent all of them. But this is difficult in Eritrea since it is not a government that has a democratic, i.e. an accountable relationship with the people which makes it difficult for the people to check the government. My next recommendation would thus be to ensure Eritrea a government that has the confidence of its own people firstly. It is also important for international diplomacy that there is collaboration with all the aspects (branches, units) of the UN like e.g., the UN Monitoring Group. It would be important for Eritrea to work with special lobby group (committee) and the UN Monitoring Group. It should be obvious that a regime accused of huge ongoing human wrights’ crimes or crimes against humanity definitely has a very difficult problem in any international diplomatic efforts. R4 referring to the convention against torture stated that they haven’t abided by international laws and agreements. R4 reiterated that the claim to respect international laws and agreements is again a paper commitment that has not been realized. R4 calls Eritrea a very closed society in which bad behavior is not punished because there is no system of accountability, and half of the rules are written in a way that people even know what they are, in a country where thousands of people languish in prisons for crimes that they have never been tried for and this does not fit very well with the claim to respect international laws and rules. R6 also rejects the claim to respect international laws and agreements. According to R6 the government doesn’t sign international agreements and contracts as it avoids to do so. First and foremost there are no contracts or international agreements as they avoid to do it. If they were abided by international agreements and laws, they wouldn’t have a case with the UN Human Wrights’ Commission and it wouldn’t have done all the efforts to bring them to ICC and the UN wouldn’t have been involved.
- Our Principle is to Respect Global Intercultural Dialogue
Are they following this? They talk to the Russians answered R4. What does that mean? It means that they talk to others when it suits their short term interests, but as a general principle of maintaining open relations with people of all backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities I don’t think there is any evidence of it. What do you think is the benefit of dealing with the Russians? When they see someone isolated they come very close to him, they try to support and what does that mean? Well I think it goes back to what I said before, the Isayas view is that there are only tactical allies, so he shifts consistently form one short term ally to another. Look at the situation in Yemen and how he is taking the country into a kind of alliance with the Saudi and Emirates interventionist forces there. In many cases going against people that they want to pre-supporting. I think this is simply because they are getting something back from it in terms of rents on the bases on Assab and other support. That may not last and then go after somebody else. You know Yemane Ghebreab went to Kremia to show support for the Russian annexation. That is a direct contradiction with the principles of self-determination, non-interference and none-intervention which the PFDJ has long espoused. Why do they do that? Because they thought there might be a short term interest in getting support from Russia in the broader international community. You know over and over again short term interest replacing larger principles and ethics. The Russian annexation of the neighboring country Ukraine the port Kremia where the Russians had their Naval Base. Do you have any written document about or we can find it on the internet? You can find it on the internet. Yemane and another guy were there. Two people were there right after the Russian annexation of Kremia. The annexation of Kremia is almost the Russian version of Ethiopia’s annexation of Eritrea. So, the principles are upside down. The reason it was done I am certain was because they thought they will get some support from Russia. What they want from Russia is the lifting of sanctions in the UN Security Council. And they talk about following the principles of equality, justice and interdependence. I look forward to seeing it.
- Our Principle is to Protect International Human Rights
R4s response was that I don’t even have to answer principle of protecting international human rights. Accordingly, the rights of Eritreans are trampled every day and hundreds and hundreds of refugees that have been interviewed by the respondent told in ranching personal accounts how human rights were stripped from them. People who were arrested for suspicion of crimes they never committed, people were arrested because of their beliefs, their religious beliefs, their political beliefs, people were arrested for raising questions as to when they might be able to go back to school after being in national service for years. There is no respect for rights here, there is no respect for rights once people are in prison, you know that it is just such a long list privacies and the notion of respecting human rights is just a joke.
7.4.13 Our principle is to Respect Global Peace and Stability
According to the five respondents the fact that they haven’t at all contributed to global peace and stability can be described in five different ways. One of the respondents asked: Is there a word which is the opposite of leadership? The respondent defined leadership as follows; a leader is someone who takes you forward towards development, improvement, consolidation, stability etc. It is not the leadership word it is the adjective before leadership, they are bad leaders that do terribly destructive things as leaders and end up doing things that their followers pay the price for. Isayas is not the only one who has done that, you can go through a long history of leaders who have taken countries to war in a hope of conquest to fail and their people pay the price. Saddam Hussein in Iraq proved himself to be one of the worst leaders, Assad in Syria proved himself to be a terrible leader, Gadafy in Libya was a terrible leader and you have a lot of bad leaders. Leadership isn’t inherently good, there are cults, there are gangsters, and there are all kinds of leaders. Bad leaders and good leaders. Isayas is a bad one and at the same time a destructive leader. Is that enough? A bad leader might have a good intention but he doesn’t achieve his objectives. But Isayas for me he is destroying the Eritrean society and as a result I find it difficult to call him a leader. He is going the other way round and I am just wondering if there is a word which is the opposite of leadership. Isayas takes Eritrea and Eritreans backwards. Others do try and they never succeed but Isayas is destroying intentionally. I doubt, I really think that leadership is good and bad and I don’t think there is any inherent capacity/quality that makes leadership positive. Actually, there are two important questions there; one is that why he is leading in such a bad direction and the second question is why people follow.
Relating the empirical material, i.e. the primary data collected from the six respondents to the diplomatic vision stipulated in the 1994 charter one can clearly see that almost none of the goals in the vision has been achieved. Even the secondary data which addresses the diplomatic approach of the government shows more or less the same result as the primary data as it clearly indicates that the diplomatic reality differs completely from the vision. Actually, it is less realistic to expect that the diplomatic vision will be implemented and the diplomatic goals will be achieved. This is due to the fact that the studies already conducted by the author so far illustrated that none of the visions and goals stipulated in the charter have been implemented and successfully achieved. Specifically, the author of this article has so far examined the implementation and achievement of the economic-, political-, social, cultural vision, the economic policy and which economic model the government promised to develop the economy of the country. The findings showed that none of what was promised in the charter (visions) and government policies was implemented which shows that they were only empty words and promises to help those in power to maintain, consolidate, strengthen and prolong their political power.
One of the main reasons for the failure to implement the vision was due to the lack of authentic, effective and legacy building leadership. It is difficult to conclude that the failure to implement the vision and to achieve the objectives was due the lack of competent leadership. This is because if the leadership was incompetent it wouldn’t have prepared and declared the charter and its contents in a convincing manner as it did. It could design the charter and its vision and at the same time it managed to manipulate and to avoid the implementation of the vision tactically and it at the same time it created faked reasons as to why the vision was not implemented to show the people that it is not those in power who have intentionally avoided the vision implementation and the achievement of its objectives. But there are certain facts which can’t be denied regarding the leadership characteristics in Eritrea. It is illegitimate as it is not elected by the people and it is unjust as it took and monopolized the political power of the people, it has undeniably showed that it doesn’t care about the Eritrean people, it lacks the leadership moral and ethics and there is a lack of effectiveness, legacy building, authentic and developmental leadership qualities.
By taking into consideration the diplomatic roles and activities of the Eritrean authorities it can be unequivocally stated that they don’t make use and apply the theories of cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy and the public and classical diplomacy of the holy see. There is either the lack adequate understanding of those theories and or the unwillingness to follow the guidelines clearly stated in those theories in a governments diplomatic duties by the authorities in Eritrea. Soft power, hard power and the smart power strategy are the alternative strategies of diplomacy discussed in the literature if a country is going to achieve success in its diplomatic moves. Accordingly, one has to start with soft power and if soft power doesn’t generate the results expected one has to apply a smart power strategy, i.e. a strategy that combines both soft power and hard power. The authorities do not at all follow soft power or a smart power strategy and they try to apply a hard power strategy that is coercing or forcing others to think what you do think and to follow your strategy, approaches and intentions in the field of the local, regional international diplomatic strategies and moves.
One of the main conclusions of this article is that the diplomatic dimension of nation building turned out to be a failure just like the other dimensions of nation building which the author has conducted so far. Actually, the vision was not developed to be implemented by the authorities and it is used as a tool or tactic by the authorities to get time to consolidate and to prolong their political power. The other conclusion of this study is that our empirical findings has clearly illustrated that the authorities do expect the ordinary citizens to fulfill the goals stipulated in the vision and they use them as a controlling mechanism. One of the main reasons for the failure of the diplomatic vision is that there is only one truth and that is what Eritrea does and believes in according to the Eritrean authorities which is not at all shared and accepted by any other country. This results into a one way communication which is listen to us and that does not work in the international relations and becomes one of the main reasons for the failure of the diplomatic dimension of nation building. Another conclusion which can be drawn from this study is that, the Eritrean authorities do not follow the local, regional and continental rules of engagement and diplomatic relations and that is why the country has become isolated in the field of diplomacy. It can also be concluded that the one way directed communication which the Eritrean government follows doesn’t work in the field of international diplomacy as diplomacy is give and take which can be achieved by interactive communication by respecting the views of your partners so that your will be accepted and respected which the Eritrean authorities are not ready to apply. The other finding of this article is that the PFDJ communication is based in a strong tradition of regarding one truth. Diplomacy is about translating your situation to understanding by other countries which may have a different world view. It can also be concluded that what lacks in the PFDJ diplomacy is a notion to translate its views on the situation of others in a comprehensible way as they work in a kind of one way communication. However, peaceful diplomacy always requires that you have insider understanding of the views of the other party and also to accept that there is a difference between humans which the PFDJ doesn’t want to understand and to accept.
The other conclusion that can be drawn from this paper is that one of the main reasons for the failure of the diplomatic dimension of nation building is the lack of authentic, effective and legacy building leadership.
One can also conclude that the theories and concepts of cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy and the classical diplomacy of the Holy See do not at all exist in the minds of the Eritrean authorities. The last conclusion which can be drawn from this article is that the authorities in Eritrea do not apply soft power and a smart power strategy which are appropriate tools in international diplomacy and instead they do attempt with the hard power strategy which can also contribute to the failure of the country’s local, regional and international diplomatic relations.
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