The post-2001 Eritrea is repeatedly viewed as North Korea of Africa: small state with isolationist foreign policy that could not burden totalitarianism, that the critical young generation is leaving the state and the remaining population is in a military uniform waiting for an imaginary enemy, that all the critical state institutions are decayed, that the port-based (Massawa and Assab) national economy lost its economic comparative and competitive advantage to Djibouti for decades to come, as a result the policy of “self-reliance” in era of globalization proved to be incompatible with the “Singaporization” of Eritrea. The regime has leased the Eritrean ports to Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, military based for Sunni Arab states fighting the Shiites in Yemen, to prolong regime survival at the expense of Eritrea’s long term interests which will make Eritrea a proxy base for Middle East’s superpower military competition. Eritrea is thus in the process of becoming a second Somalia in a region where fragile states are pervasive, and the neighboring states mainly Ethiopia should develop a road map to contain the worst case scenario: state collapse. This study therefore aims to critically analysis the post-independence nation building project in Eritrea, and its subsequent dynamics with a particular focus on the post-Ethiopia- Eritrea war of 1998-2000. The study mainly uses secondary data including government policies, declarations, interviews of top officials, and updated discussion papers posted in different Eritrea related websites.
Key words: The idea of the state, nation-building, Eritrean nationalism, “one-people, one-heart”, Eritrean national security predicament, Post-colonial African syndrome.
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