Small Wars Journal

Are We Mishandling the War on Terror in Africa?

Are We Mishandling the War on Terror in Africa? By Brian D'Haeseleer – Washington Post

Just over a year ago, four U.S. Special Forces soldiers, outgunned and ambushed, lost their lives in Niger fighting against members of the Islamic State.

These American troops, ostensibly there to train and assist a foreign military, found themselves engaged in combat. Their deaths represent a troubling continuation of the perpetual war in which America has found itself since 9/11 — with no end in sight. Tellingly, this war is as old as some of the recruits who are about to fight….

Aggressive commando raids, military training and drone strikes have failed to prevent the spread of radical networks across the globe. Despite expanded U.S. military activity in Somalia and elsewhere, Washington is no closer to defeating its nebulous enemy than it was 17 years ago. All of this means that the answer might prove shocking.

Read on.

Comments

The "War on Terror" is the wrong way to look at these things.

Rather, the "War on the Lack of U.S./Western Political, Economic, Social and Value Institutions and Norms" --  this would seem to be proper way that we must look at these and other such conflicts today.

(Herein, the U.S./the West believes that such things as terrorism -- and many other ills not normally found in modern western states and societies -- these such ills stem from these such "outlying" states and societies not being adequately organized, ordered and oriented more along modern western political, economic, social and/or value lines.  Thus, "nation-building" [beginning with Somalia?]  became the U.S./the West post-Cold War agenda.)

Evidence to support this position:

"Since the end of the Cold War, the United States, NATO, the United Nations, and a range of other states and nongovernmental organizations have become increasingly involved in nation-building operations. Nation-building involves the use of armed force as part of a broader effort to promote political and economic reforms, with the objective of transforming a society emerging from conflict into one at peace with itself and its neighbors."

(From "The Beginner's Guide to Nation-Building" by the RAND Corporation. https://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG557.html)

Based on my suggestion above, should we not change the title of our article here from:

a.  "Are We Mishandling The War on Terror in Africa."  To:

b.  "Are We (the U.S., NATO, the United Nations, and a range of other states and nongovernmental organizations -- see the RAND study above) Mishandling the War on the Lack of U.S./Western Political, Economic, Social and Value Institutions and Norms" (i.e., the nation-building effort ) -- in Africa -- and indeed elsewhere throughout the world?