Ethiopia’s President did it by winning the Nobel Peace Prize, which Trump won’t be happy about, since he believes it’s something he alone deserves…
And, as we’ve said before, Trump really really wants a Nobel Prize.
Abiy Ahmed got it for holding out his hand to Eritrea’s President, or more specifically, as the Nobel Committee puts it:
“For his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”
Trump thinks he should get it for holding out his hand to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a relationship that seems to be centered around a regular exchange of “beautiful letters”, and which so far has climaxed with Trump taking a step into North Korea. (Even though talks with Kim Jong-un have gone nowhere, and North Korea has begun testing missiles again, though only shortish range missiles, which Trump seems to think are O.K.) He also thought he had his Nobel nearly in the bag when he invited a bunch of Taliban leaders from Afghanistan over to Camp David, but then the terrorists started acting like terrorists, and he rescinded the invitation, but not until he bragged about it on Twitter.
Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement last year after addressing a border dispute that lasted for decades. In order to do so, Abiy agreed to give control of a contested border city to Eritrea, so Trump would probably call him “weak” for that alone.
Plus Eritrea wasn’t fighting alongside the U.S. during World War II at the beaches of Normandy, which seems to be a strike against anybody these days in Trump’s book. In case you missed it, Trump partly justified abandoning Kurdish allies in Northern Syria by arguing they did not fight alongside the U.S. at Normandy. (An argument he cribbed from a far-Right wing commentator.) Of course, Germany didn’t help the U.S. during the Normandy landing either.
Eritrea actually did have an interesting World War II history: starting out as an Italian colony, it was eventually taken over by the British, who kept it a colony. Then the U.S. was instrumental in making it semi-merged with Ethiopa, which is where a lot of the disputes between the two countries were born. Eritrea became fully independent in 1993.
But back to Ethiopia’s President Abiy. We looked into his history a bit and he seems to be the real deal. First of all, he is the child of a Muslim father and Christian mother. There are a lot of mixed religion families in parts of the mid-East, and it’s a shame more leaders don’t share this type of background. (Although part of the reason many people become politicians, we think, is that they want to prove their lifestyle and the ideas that come with it is superior, and then work to impose it on everyone. And very often those lifestyle choices and ideas involve religion.) Still, many African countries have huge populations of both Muslims and Christians, so promoting politicians who come from this type of background would seem to make some kind of sense.
Abiy, upon coming into office, freed tons of political prisoners lifted a state of emergency, and unblocked hundreds of websites and TV channels. He also–noted the Nobel Committee–expanded the role of women in government. He is also, as the Nobel Committee notes, a fresh and emerging new kind of leader in Africa. And he’s got to be extremely charismatic to pull of the type of high-wire balancing act we’re talking about here. Of pushing ahead without offending too many too much. Even so, he’s already survived a major attempt on his life.
Trump, if he’s got wind of this yet, has got to be fuming. We’re still waiting on his Tweets on the subject. Maybe it’s just he got caught off guard by the fact that this years Nobel Peace Prize Winner wasn’t Greta Thunberg, the young environmental advocate (whom Trump loves to trash), who was the odds-on favorite. Perhaps Trump had some Tweets “locked and loaded” for that eventuality and now he’s caught off guard by the Nobel Committee’s curve ball. But rest assured, those Tweets will come. Trump won’t be able to resist, and his base responds mightily to any strong injustice that comes the Presidents way. And this would certainly fit the bill, in their eyes. Though the Nobel, likely, will continue to prove elusive.