Today, we learned that President Obama is sending troops and drones to yet another country to combat terrorism. This time the country is Cameroon, which shares a border with Nigeria. The main terror group being targeted is Boko Haram, which is aligned with ISIS. And like most of these groups, they amounted to just a few crazies before efforts to repress them began in earnest. This piece from 2011 provides some discussion of how counterterrorism seems to promote terrorism, and it predicts that if local security forces continue to try to brutally repress the group, it would only make matters worse. Indeed, repressive counterterrorism efforts continued and have led more or less to that outcome.
Anyway, this initiative in Cameroon is being done under the War Powers Act, which means that Obama did not get congressional approval in advance. If anyone cared, they could pressure him on this issue and potentially win — as Americans tend to dislike the idea of sending troops to countries they haven’t even been remotely threatened by. (Or at least, I think that’s the case. That seemed to be the sentiment when Libya and Syria were debated, though of course, Obama intervened anyway.)
Unfortunately, the Democrats are very unlikely to challenge Obama on foreign policy, and Republicans are unlikely to spend much energy opposing a war, even one that is Obama’s idea. Let’s hope I’m wrong on that.
Jason Ditz at Antiwar.com has a quick summary on this latest intervention that’s worth a read. I’ve linked to it below: