Niger, Uganda, Mauritania, and Central African Republic to Name a Few

The incident in Niger has become big news as of late, but we still know little of what transpired. Some people argue that our troops do not have enough equipment or that we are not tough enough on ISIS (or IS or whatever), which is on the verge of collapse as a semi-state. What many Americans learned as a result of this ambush is something that they do not realize that they have learned. The United States has its troops committed in yet another African country. Yeah, we knew about Somalia and Djibouti, but Niger? Would you be able to locate this country on a map? Would it surprise you if I said the American military is also in Chad, Burkina Faso, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)? What about Mali or Ethiopia? Do you get the picture yet?

Now, it is unfortunate that we lost four servicemen in the attack, but there are bigger questions at stake here. Why are we there in the first place? What benefit do Americans get from this vast presence across the African continent? How long will we be there? Are the military-industrial corporations profiting from this? These are the types of questions that the media should be asking but is not.

You will often hear arguments suggesting that the United States has an obligation to stop tyranny across the globe or that the United States would be in danger if it did not have a military presence in two-thirds of the world’s countries. Should we not stop Joseph Kony or Boko Haram from ravaging the African countryside?

What about countries that are disengaged around the world? Is Switzerland immoral because it does not prevent wrong-doing thousands of miles away? If a government has an obligation to its own people, is there not a point where it should be argued that there is little that can be done. The world is a messed up place. No one country can prevent trouble on every corner of the planet all of the time, nor does any one have the resources to do so. The United States chooses winners and losers on the international stage based on its own national interests, and in doing so, it utilizes its self-proclaimed altruism and moral high-ground to expand its influence worldwide. The last time I checked, this qualifies as imperialism.

Is the United States any safer as a result of its endeavors overseas? If you turn on the television, all you see is a bunch of fear-mongering. The Russians are coming! Al-Qaeda may be under your bed while you sleep. The Chinese are spying on you. The Iranians are planning a nuclear holocaust. You would think that if we were spending exorbitant amounts of money on defense and intelligence, Americans would at least feel safer. Instead, we sit around afraid of our enemies and willing to give up our liberties for a false sense of security. Meanwhile, politicians and corporate leaders are laughing their way to the bank and gaining more power at our expense.

So, what does all of this have to do with the events in Niger? In short, we need to alter the existing foreign policy that empowers our leaders. The more troops we have in other countries, the more deaths of servicemen and women we will have to explain to loved ones. The more troops we have in other countries, the more conflict there is. The more troops we have in other countries, the more resentment we get from governments and people who do not want us in their regions. The more troops we have in other countries, the more we get to claim that the United States is an empire.

Is this what we want for the future of our country? Do we want to continue being the very thing our founding fathers fought to prevent? This is not simply about an operation in Niger, but rather, it is a wake-up call to all Americans to think about how much longer we will continue down this path. Will we continue to feed the coffers of military-industrial corporations, or will we demand an end to the endless wars and expansion of the military across every continent?

Thank you for reading, and if you would like a more in-depth look at American global operations and where the military is being sent, please check out my book, The Global Bully.
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Published on October 24, 2017 18:01
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