One thing is crystal clear. If we are to glean something of an at most importance from the two invasions—November 4, 2020 and August 24, 2022—is that, Tigray is perennially surrounded with enemies where even if the recent war comes to a complete halt and peace deal is signed, the intent to eliminate Tigray will always be there waiting to be materialized when circumstances permit. That is the hard reality that drastically changes Tigray’s priorities and recalibrates her entire vision including political, economic philosophy and military doctrine as well.
When the newly united Germany found itself in a similar circumstances in the early 1870s, the then Chancellor and Realist—Otto von Bismarck famously described the zeitgeist of the day when he said, “…the problems of the day can not be solved by speech or majority vote but by blood and iron…” Accordingly, Germany became the first nation to establish ultra-structural military-industrial complex.
Certainly, from a philosophical including military doctrine vantage point, Bismarck belonged to the company of Niccolo Machiavelli and Cardinal Richelieu and latter day Realists—Klemens von Metternich, Kissinger and John Bolton among others. The fundamental idea being, nations naturally are Hawkes not Doves where the strength of any nation is perceived as a threat to any other nation. As such, the military strength is always in a wait—time mode where it turns into hostility in an opportune time. That mind set becomes an impetus for nations on the supposed receiving ent to put their shields up in a bid to blunt the supposed coming threat.
Certainly, the art of diplomacy has eclipsed or replaced the “Realist School of Thought” where Europe in particular has averted any potential major scale war with in the last seventy plus years but as the US former top diplomat to Eritrea Steve Walker put it in a brilliant prose titled, “Totalitarianism Is Still With Us”, the need for a militarized Tigray becomes imperative, precisely because Tigray is surrounded with hostile nations to her North and South where diplomacy loses any meaning. That is not an abstraction but it was seen in real time and place when her sworn enemies pulled all resources to eliminate Tigray from the face of the earth.
The question becomes so real when Tigray goes back to the core foundations of her political philosophy and military doctrine to navigate on how to live and respond to any threat not a matter of—if but when it happens. Tigray may have to procrastinate her “lofty” ideals of poverty as the sole enemy, instead Tigray will have to trade of rapid economic progress for scaling up her military spending. The rationale being, Tigray will have to stay alive first and foremost—her survival has to be guaranteed by staying on a look out where there is no room for complacency.
Tigrean diaspora will have to pull financial resources in particular when the challenge is colossal as Tigray will have to be engaged in reconstruction from ground zero and remaining vigilant in the meantime. That said however, the new recourse is not elected but imposed on Tigray from without when her choice is always living in peace from within and from without as well. Unfortunately, Tigray hasn’t been too lucky with Geography. As they say, a nation can not choose its neighbors.