When Will We Ever Learn?

When Will We Ever Learn?

America in Africa...or...China in Africa?
The U.S. is finally realizing that Somali is the center of the world’s “War on Terror.” And so now we’re all ready to do exactly the wrong thing. Again.

I’ve written often — and spoken in public — about the growing power that Al-Shabaab has in Somalia. Al-Shabaab is Al-Qaeda in The Horn. Western preoccupation with Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq has allowed them to spread and regroup into the Horn of Africa.

Al-Shabaab has been fighting along Kenya’s long northeastern border with Somalia for more than three years. Much of this has been hit-and-run, kidnapping and petty theft of food and military equipment, but more and more the gun battles with Kenyans begin to assume real engagement.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for Sunday’s bombings in Kampala. That seemed to do the trick: The U.S. has finally noticed.

First we heard from General William Ward who heads the U.S. Africa Command, that the U.S. would increase its military support to the TFG in Somalia. (Transitional Federal Government).

Then, a much more elaborate policy was detailed by the U.S.’ main diplomat in the region, Johnnie Carson.

I don’t like what I’m hearing.

What I’m hearing is that the U.S. is going to step up its military aid while lecturing a weak and futile puppet Somali government that it “should do more” for its people.

Here are my excerpts from Carson’s interview with All Africa published, today:

“I think [military assistance] is the correct policy… We have provided [Uganda & Burundi soldiers in Somalia] with military equipment… We have supported the training of TFG forces…We have supported specialized training in dealing with improvised explosive devices and training for the protection of ports and airports… There is no question that the TFG has to do more than it’s done in the past….

“We have not done enough on Somalia, which, for far too long, has been the subject of benign neglect by the United States…Given the magnitude of the problems …now is the time for the international community to recognize that this problem will only get worse for all of us if we do not come together to find a solution.”

Military assistance is NOT the correct policy. Providing military equipment and training to Ugandan soldiers who are famous for raping and pillaging in The Congo is NOT the correct policy. The TFG is an useless entity. We should NOT support the TFG.

I like Johnnie Carson, and I more or less like the Obama administration’s overall foreign policy, but they seem stuck in American imperialism. It’s just so dastardly how good guys get corrupted by power. I wonder if we elected Mahatma Ghandi U.S. President if he would then start new wars that we’d lose.

My lifetime has been characterized by failed U.S. wars and failed U.S. policies that I see as contributing to if not outright causing world terrorism.

Military actions will not end terror.

Why can we not learn from history?

Here’s the answer: click here.

Bruton’s formula is not new. Learned men have been espousing active, nonmilitary engagement in troubled parts of the world for decades as the ONLY solution to the world’s instabilities. We just don’t seem to get it.

Military action by a foreign power cannot eradicate a local guerrilla force. Period.

Military support of puppet regimes put in power by outside foreign powers is a black hole. Period.

Puppet regimes don’t last. Period.

And the most salient point is that the cost of military action is dozens if not hundreds of times greater than nonmilitary assistance.

In today’s Africa China’s got it right and America’s got it wrong. China is spending billions on roads, resource development and city planning. The U.S. is, too, but many more billions on military.

China’s spending on African military? 0. Zip. Not a penny.

I don’t mean to frame this as a contest between China and America, I mean to point out that China’s got policy orientation right and is contributing to African development. And that America’s obsession with military will destroy African development.

We must end our roles as policeman, schoolmarm, parent and pastor for the rest of the world. We can perform a role as a benefactor, but no longer as a soldier.

When will we ever learn?