We Americans are optimists. As people of goodwill and great intentions, we find it difficult to comprehend a system of government or a political philosophy that has no place for decency or compassion.
From time to time, however, something happens that makes us face the facts of international life. Solzhenitsyn writes The Gulag Archipelago. Korean Airlines' flight 007 is shot from the skies. For former President Carter, who had belittled "an inordinate fear of Communism," the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan put things back into focus. And for all of us, the behavior of the current government of Ethiopia should be a similar lesson.
Back in February, when Congress was considering a measure to add $175 million to our already generous emergency aid to that country, it was time to commit candor on the Senate floor. And so, I observed that "this great famine has become merely another weapon in an inhuman campaign to make slaves of the Ethiopian people." It may not have been diplomatic to describe Ethiopia's ruler, Mengistu, as "a home-grown barbarian with a foreign Communist ideology," "a Marx ist version of Idi Amin." But it was certainly accurate, and subsequent events have vindicated my assessment.
In the last days of April, some of the thugs who currently control Ethiopia decided to disperse more than 50,000 refugees, including...