As U.S. regulators told airlines to fly higher over Iraq due to the horde of U.S. weapons that ISIS recently captured, Boko Haram set its sights on expanding the terror war into another country: Cameroon. The Financial Times:
Until now, the Islamist group, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, had largely used Cameroon for its profitable business of kidnapping foreigners, including over the past year a French family, an Italian priest, Canadian nuns and Chinese workers.But Cameroonians themselves had been largely spared, leading regional security officials to believe that the country had an informal arrangement with the Islamist group: as long as Boko Haram did not attack locals, Yaoundé would not strike its rear bases, nor disrupt its kidnapping trade.That arrangement, which Cameroon has long denied, appears finished.
Meanwhile, as far as we can tell, the White House is still in denial—still operating as if the “global war on terror” was a product of deranged, Islamophobic Bush Administration aides and neocons, and as if the spread of a nihilistic fanatic cult weren’t a big global problem that needed to be addressed with an integrated strategy, including a military counter-terror component.It’s as if during the Cold War we had argued that communism was a matter for Interpol rather than NATO. Police work and crime-fighting are instruments to be used in the war on violent fanaticism, and many of these movements have their roots in local grievances and conflicts. But the whole, unfortunately, is greater than the sum of its parts, and the whole amounts to a global conflict that at the moment civilization cannot claim to be winning.
The U.S. badly needs national leadership that is ready to face up to the reality, develop effective strategies for the conflict, and both to explain the conflict and those strategies to publics here and abroad and to build the political support necessary for those strategies to succeed.