legitimization of unconstitutional changes of government
end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century
have been marked by much more pronounced international relations. Both the
cross border individual and interstate relation sections of international
relations have seen exponential improvements over the past quarter of a
has in large been attributed to the end of the cold war and the subsequent
revolutionary achievements in information and communication technology. The
impact of such leaps in ICT on individuals is reflected in the increased
connectivity between people. Much easier access to wireless telecommunications
technology along with the spread of mailing services and social media over the
World Wide Web have brought people together. It is considerably easier and
cheaper nowadays to contact people living at any point in the world.
the obvious uses of such technologies though, people have started to consider
these technological achievements as schemes to infringe on their privacy and
not just as technological innovations that make communication easier. That is
largely because of the corporate and governmental espionage associated with the
the technological boom is not just used to make life easier for all of human
kind but to spy on us all and consolidate the power of those who are already on
the zenith of it.
relations within this era of human history have also grown closer than ever.
The political, economic and social ties between states have grown so much and
the world has tried to align itself along a set of common ideals. The ideals of
democracy, multiparty system and participatory free elections make up the
political common goals while those of free markets and privatization constitute
the economic benchmarks. The creation of a liberal secular society
characterizes what has generally been portrayed as a global social endeavor.
these ideals have not democratically been adopted by all states in the
international system, the powerful states and social groups have not refrained
from shoving these ideals down the throats of the rest of the world. In
practice, therefore, the world has descended to a system where bullies force
both state and non-state actors into adopting greed-serving moves of political,
economic and social nature as the ideals to be upheld by all.
pronounced interrelationship between states in this era means that the
political, economic and social leverage of foreign forces on a state is
enormous. For instance, the increased economic integration of the world leaves
most states on the receiving end of the harsh realities that follow economic
foul play by the economic bullies. In general, not complying with the
greed-serving “directives” of the bullies would be met with swift and crushing
blows from them.
trend of politically bullying legitimate regimes to give away state power to
those who serve the interests of the most powerful states and social groups in
such a way that it could be mistaken for a popular uprising is the topic to be
dealt with in this article of two parts. Sometimes happening in the form of
what has become known as color revolution, the unconstitutional change of
legitimate governments has taken center stage in the developing world.
since the start of the 1990s, the world has witnessed a wave of
unconstitutional changes of government. During this period, increased
interstate relations have often than not been expressed in terms of
interference in the internal affairs of states by “the international
every passing year, the role allotted for “the international community” has
increased from a license to interfere in cases where a nation is invaded by
another one, as in the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1991, to warnings and
outright attack for forcefully suppressing a popular revolt as in the case of
Libya in 2011.
course the meaning of some of the terms we hear on a daily basis from the
western media is quite the opposite of what they really stand for. The term
“international community” for instance, really refers to the western states
that go beyond their way to protect the interests of the corporate machine even
if they stand in conflict with the interests of their own people. International
law is another term frequently used out of context as it normally means
whatever these states have decided to carry out.
contrast some other words that states had a pretty good grasp on have vanished
from the scene of international politics. The first one of such words is
sovereignty. After making a corner stone of international politics for so long,
the concept of sovereignty has almost suddenly evaporated off the mix of
the pressure has always been there for centuries now, the last couple of
decades have infringed on the days when states enjoyed independence from the
international corporate and governmental actors in their decisions on political
and economic issues.
it be pressure from state actors in the west or from the international banking
cartel represented by World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the
domestic policies of developing countries have been hijacked to serve the
internationalist goals of a handful of powerful and wealthy people behind the
exploitation centered political and economic moves directed by the west towards
the developing world, the alleviation of poverty and the achievement of
development have become even more daunting than they used to be.
last quarter of a century has been proof of the contemporary reality that those
controlling state power in the developing world, regardless of how they have
come to power, would be ousted by moves orchestrated by the west if they would
not hand their country’s resources over to “international investors”.
a recent Oxfam report stating that half of the world’s wealth is owned by just
about a hundred people, the leverage of the world’s financial oligarchy on who
comes to power when in every part of the world is at its peak. From the United
States of America to the poorest countries in the world, the financial
oligarchy determines who comes to power.
boundless economic might helps them pick politicians who can promote their
interests and elevate them to the height of state power in the most developed
nations. With the political apparatus in their hands, they unleash the power of
the mainstream media to paint any picture they want about different situations
the media in the developing world also use news agencies like Reuters and the
Associated Press that are owned by the most elite of the financial oligarchs to
inform their people of international affairs, the picture they paint becomes
reinvigorated international access after the cold war, the western media have
managed to set the agenda of the oligarchs comprehensively worldwide. By
providing much skewed reports and explanations on political and economic
developments in various countries in a way that promoted the interests of the
financial oligarchs, the western media have played their part in shaping
explaining this role of the media, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in their book
entitled, “Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media”,
“The triumph of
Capitalism and the increasing power of those with an interest in privatization
and market rule have strengthened the grip of market ideology, at least among
the elite, so that regardless of evidence, markets are assumed to be benevolent
and even democratic (“market populism” in Thomas Frank’s phrase) and nonmarket
mechanisms are suspect, although exceptions are allowed when private firms need
subsidies, bailouts and government help in doing business abroad. When the
Soviet economy stagnated in the 1980s, it was attributed to the absence of
markets; when capitalist Russia disintegrated in the 1990s, this was blamed not
on the now ruling market but on politicians’ and workers’ failure to let
markets work their magic. Journalism has internalized this ideology.”
a firm grip of the politicians in the most powerful of nations and an extensive
use of their media outlets to influence public opinion worldwide, the financial
oligarchs of the west have put themselves ahead of any national interests. This
fact has, in turn, meant that regimes in the developing world are in increasing
numbers forced to adhere to directions from these bullies or face a concerted
international effort to get them out of power.
African Union (AU) Draft Report on the UN-AU Partnership on Peace and Security:
Towards Greater Strategic Political Coherence, 2011, for instance, noted that
by the end of 1998, only 39 per cent of 48 sub-Sahara African countries enjoyed
stable political conditions and good governance; 23 per cent faced political
crisis and turbulence, and 38 per cent were engaged in armed conflict or civil
strife (African Union 2011: Para 15) as witnessed in Liberia, Sierra Leone,
Guinea Bissau and Cote d'Ivoire.
report further states that the effect of these conflicts and other security
challenges such as unconstitutional changes of government have contributed to
worsening economic challenges. It then reports of estimates pointing to a
combined loss of around $300bn since 1990 by a number of conflict-affected
African countries, with an average annual loss of around $18bn as a result of
wars, civil wars, and insurgencies.
armed conflicts are often very protracted spanning decades, the western elite
have designed new less conflict prone methods of ousting governments in the
developing world. The widely used option has come to be known as color
revolution while there have still been some instances of unconstitutional
change of government that are quite different from color revolution.
second part of this article will be dealing with the major methods used to
organize these unconstitutional changes of government and consider the recent
change of government in Ukraine as an instance of legitimization of
unconstitutional changes. It will then consider the various attempts that have
been underway to organize color revolution in Ethiopia and what that entails
for the future of the country.