Nigeria

Rand Paul has already won: Republicans are rethinking foreign policy

Conservatism seems to be appealing again, thanks in no small part to the “get off my lawn establishment politician!” flavor of the increasingly-difficult-to-ignore libertarian wing of the big tent. And it’s not difficult to understand why. When a policy push advocates, generally, for a less intrusive government regarding taxation and electronic spying and nanny state moralizing, free people tend to sit up and take notice.

But there’s one area critics of libertarianism have at least a marginally sturdy leg to stand on: foreign policy/national defense. And it’s not because libertarians don’t care about these issues; rather, it’s that there hasn’t been a unified voice concerning these issues from a group that is fairly consistent on most other major policy ideas, making criticism an easy task.

In short, libertarians, as vocal a group on politics as any you’re likely to meet, shy away en masse from making definitive statements about foreign policy. But there may be some very good — and surmountable — reasons for that. One of them is an exhaustion with the interventionist philosophy of neocons, one many libertarians feel has kept the US in expensive and bloody wars and conflicts in different parts of the world for far too long. And it’s a philosophy that, oddly, continues still.

No one is suggesting it’s not an utter tragedy what happened to those Nigerian schoolgirls. But is it a conflict we should be involving ourselves in? And why? Those questions have yet to be answered or — frankly — even posed.

Obama’s inconsistency, incoherence has created a foreign policy mess for America

Cognitive dissonance is defined as the discomfort one feels when holding contradictory beliefs, thoughts, ideas, or values simultaneously. It’s based on the idea that it is inherently human to want consistency — it makes us feel secure and, frankly, sane.

What, then, to do with political policy decisions that should induce these feelings of discomfort given their glaring inconsistencies but that apparently produce no such feelings since no one in the press or the White House is commenting on the confusion? For example, how can the nation under President Obama be simultaneously weakening the military and drawing back on foreign policy, yet going ahead with what the Free Beacon calls “imperialist meddling in Nigeria”:

As the pressure mounts from America’s media elites and hashtag aficionados, what will he do when strongly worded condemnations fail to persuade Boko Haram’s elected leader Abubakar Shekau to release the hundreds of girls his group has (allegedly) enlisted in its quest for religious freedom?

Missing in action: Bush-era antiwar activists have rubber stamped Obama’s foreign interventionism

In 2002, Barack Obama, then an unknown Illinois state senator, gave an impassioned speech at the Federal Plaza in Chicago in which he blasted the Bush administration’s plans for war in Iraq.

“I don’t oppose all wars,” he declared. “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.” He blistered Bush administration officials, calling the looming war in Iraq one “based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.”

Obama’s speech was just one small part of the wave of antiwar activism that swept the country over the next several years. Protesters demanded an end to the war, often accusing President George W. Bush and members of his administration of war crimes and comparing them to Nazis.

By 2005, as American causalities began to mount, public opinion began to shift against the war in Iraq. The souring mood is largely the reason Republicans lost the 2006 mid-term election, handing control of Congress to Democrats and setting the stage for the rise of antiwar presidential candidate.

Obama, who by this time was a U.S. senator, had continued to speak out against the war in Iraq and used his opposition to his advantage. Most of his primary opponents — including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Christopher Dodd, and John Edwards  — voted for the 2003 authorization for the use of military force against Saddam Hussein’s regime.

What difference does it make?: Clinton refused to designate al-Qaeda-connected group as a terrorist organization

The kidnapping of more than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group, has sparked condemnation and action the United States. The Obama administration announced this week that it will send technical support to the African country to help search for the girls.

While most Americans have never heard of Boko Haram, the al-Qaeda-connected group has carried out a number of attacks over the last few years, including the 2011 assassination of an Islamic cleric who criticized violent groups and the bombing of a United Nations building in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, that same year.

The kidnappings have led to a round of “hashtag diplomacy” on Twitter. Many users are have tweeted their thoughts about the situation using #BringBackOurGirls, among them is Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State tweeted this late last week:

Terrorist’s father tipped off US security officials six months ago

If you’ve watched the news in the past few days, you’ve likely heard about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man that tried to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit on Christmas day.

One of the details now emerging is that the father of the suspect warned United States officials about his son six months ago:

A close family source said that the father left his hometown of Katsina, in northern Nigeria, to speak with security agencies on Saturday.

Family members said the father had become uncomfortable and concerned about his son’s fanatical religious views in recent months. They said, as a result, he reported his son’s activities to the U.S. Embassy and Nigerian security agencies six months ago.

The father was reportedly devastated to hear the reports about his son’s arrest and alleged role in trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airplane.

A close friend said the father was shocked to learn that his son was even allowed to travel to the U.S. after he had reported him to U.S. authorities, the paper reported.

Today DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano told Jake Tapper on This Week that “everything went according to clockwork” in reaction to the attempted attack. Well, yes, the actions of private citizens kept this terrorist from killing a plane full of people. However, this man would have never have been allowed on a flight to the United States if security officials had been doing their job.


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