Send in the drones? Reflections on the troop deployment to Africa

Isn’t it bliss?

Obama’s decision to deploy 100 Special Forces soldiers to Uganda, as advisers in the regional fight against the homicidal Lord’s Resistance Army, has drawn criticism and concern across the political spectrum.  There are good reasons for that.

The basic criticism is that the move repeats the worst error committed in past deployments of US troops:  sending task forces too small to achieve anything decisive, and giving them vague, open-ended missions.  The grand debacle of Vietnam started out in precisely this manner. Continue reading “Send in the drones? Reflections on the troop deployment to Africa”

Libya: Time for the Jaw, Jaw (Or, African Union to the Rescue)

Can the AU pull it off?

It would be fascinating if it didn’t involve US troops and America’s reputation. Almost unnoticed by the US media, players in the Eastern hemisphere are actively planning to enliven the Libya situation with negotiations, which we can assume will quickly be dubbed “peace talks.”

The African Union has been maneuvering to gets talks going since Saturday, the first day of coalition air strikes. AU members are solidly opposed to the intervention in Libya and hope to end it with a brokered solution to the civil war. Their plan is to launch negotiations on Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (where the AU headquarters is hosted) and bring together representatives of Qaddafi’s government and the self-proclaimed Transitional Government of the rebels. Other nations’ representatives are thought to be invited; presumably the US will have at least a routine diplomatic presence.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon seems to think representatives of Qaddafi and the opposition intend to be at this AU-sponsored meeting.

France and Britain, meanwhile, Continue reading “Libya: Time for the Jaw, Jaw (Or, African Union to the Rescue)”