The Obvious Historical Comparison to Mali That Apparently Isn’t Obvious

You might have heard about the recent French intervention in the sub-Saharan country of Mali. In a nutshell, the French are assisting the Malian government against Tuareg rebels and Islamic militants who have essentially taken over the north of the country (and by ‘assisting’ I mean 200 ground troops and air strikes). What’s disturbing is that in a lot of the more detailed reports, it appears that U.S., which is sympathetic to French aims, is being leaned on for more assistance, as France isn’t really capable of sending thousands of troops and other equipment this far from France.

There’s talk of U.S. air strikes and increasing the numbers of U.S. ‘trainers’ in Mali, with very little concrete discussion of aims and objectives. Am I the only one who’s nervous about this? We followed France down the long, dark path once before, and it didn’t work out very well.

I realize historical analogies are dangerous things. We learned in the run up to the Iraq War that not everything is Munich, 1939 (well, some of us did anyway). But shouldn’t the historical parallels at least give us pause? Maybe we should slow down a little and reflect?

I can see the U.S. being sucked into this very easily.

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3 Responses to The Obvious Historical Comparison to Mali That Apparently Isn’t Obvious

  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    I think Obama will keep our Mali response more like in Libya; where we provide only services for which we have unique capabilities, such as AWACS.

  2. Jim Bixby says:

    Yes, just a drone here and a drone there, no big deal…………

  3. Pingback: On Mali, Some Sanity From the Nominee for Defense Secretary | Mike the Mad Biologist

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