In its Dec. 28 editorial on Ethiopia {"Starvation and Politics"}, The Post concludes that perhaps "this unhappy corner of Africa, which is of political interest but which is not strategically vital to anyone, is open to a great power initiative. . . . For such effort to work it would have to go beyond drawing up rules for relief and engage the political basics. That means confronting the fact that Eritrea is not merely a troublesome province . . . involuntarily federated. . . . The relief question cannot be treated effectively without taking this political issue into account."

It is not my intention here to try to establish that Eritrea was, or was not, part of Ethiopia. However, considering the fact that domestic politics is to a certain extent mediated through the international environment, I propose certain general observations.

As has been correctly pointed out, this "corner of Africa," poor and underdeveloped, has been a subject of passing political interest. But nothing more. At no time has "this unhappy corner of Africa" been subjected to a serious scrutiny. This is true of both the United States and the Soviet Union. Why? Primarily because these two countries cannot extend their influence all over the world. And because of underdevelopment -- economic and intellectual.

As for The Post's contention that "a great power initiative" might help: a political solution cannot be perfected in the brief deliberations of a superpower summit. Whatever initiative there might be must develop as an expression of a need and a function of our society. Interdependence is a reality of the time. But the solution to the political crisis must be a product of the Ethiopians.

External factors are complementary variables. And so must they remain.