Did I not hear today that Ethiopian troops are already pulling out of
This is long before they have consolidated their "victory" on the
ground, or come remotely close to achieving their goal of ensuring that
Somalia does not become a new base of operations for al-Qa'ida
terrorists. The Ethiopians obediently did what the Bush Administration
promised them would be a major contribution to the Global War on Terror
--- but now, man, they're_ outta_ there!
Which means, I humbly suggest, that the rest of us are now saddled with
yet another intractable problem of how to bring stability and peace to a
war-torn country that lacks all the requisite social and institutional
infrastructure of a modern state. In fact, Somalia today has already
become exactly the kind of nation-building dilemma (I should say
"responsibility") that we are facing in both Iraq and Afghanistan --- in
a somewhat less interesting locale, perhaps (they are only black
Africans, after all), but with equal potential to create problems that
the United States is demonstrably incapable of dealing with successfully.
Significantly, the United States, by employing overt and aggressive
military force during the Ethiopian invasion (futile but lethal air
strikes), has thereby publicly affirmed its primary responsibility for
encouraging and enabling the invasion of Somalia by the Ethiopians, and
hence has effectively imposed upon the American people a clear strategic
and moral obligation to repair the broken crockery that has inevitably
resulted. But we will not recognize or act upon that responsibility, of
course. The Somalia crisis is taking place considerably south of Darfur,
after all, and coverage in our newspapers is buried back among the
Meanwhile, if I were an ambitious young Islamist looking for an
opportunity to hone my terrorism skills, I'd be heading for the playing
fields so thoughtfully prepared for me by America in the Horn of Africa.
Two rules governing American national security policy these days:
(1) Never look ahead to the predictable consequences of impulsive and
(2) Always feel free to employ violent military force as a preferred option.