Assessing “Crises” in Ethiopia

When I first saw that Ethiopia is being kicked out of soccer’s 2010 World Cup, I wondered whether the decision had anything to do with the country’s role in its spat with neighboring Eritrea, which resulted in the departure of UN peacekeepers from the fragile border region. But I should have learned the lessons of politics and sports from the Beijing Olympics, I guess; this “crisis” involved only a controversy surrounding the dismissal of the Ethiopian soccer federation’s president.

According to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, meanwhile, there is little danger of renewed hostilities with his neighbor because, in his words, Eritrea’s troops “do not match the power of Ethiopian armed forces…are not capable…[and] know[] the consequences of igniting another conflict with Ethiopia.” I hope he’s right that the tense situation does not erupt into a violent confrontation, but taunting the military of a not-entirely-friendly neighbor during an uneasy truce is probably not the best way to ensure peace.