Fraser Nelson (Telegraph) notes an irony few in America are noticing…and few in Europe can believe:
In his inauguration speech last week, Barack Obama assured America that “a decade of war is now ending”. Just three hours earlier, the Prime Minister had told the Commons that a “generational struggle” against the jihadis was only just beginning. British and US foreign policy has indeed become detached – but not in the way most people expected.
Nelson goes into greater detail about Prime Minister Cameron’s surprising turn towards a more active foreign policy, not only in Libya, but also in Mali, where an Algerian terrorist group that signed up with al Qaeda is battling a military regime that, in theory, will return the country to democracy.
In both Libya and Mali, Britain and France worked together to defeat Qaddafi and al Qaeda, respectively. In Mali itself, I should note, the fight is far from over. That said, Britain’s geopolitical ambitions are, if anything, growing (Spectator Coffee House):
On the Sunday Politics, William Hague confirmed that the greatest terrorist threat to the British homeland come from Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But he argued that without intervention, the Sahel could become as dangerous to Britain.
Please note that Mali is in the Sahel region of Africa.
What is remarkable about all of this is how quickly Great Britain and France moved into the void Washington was creating. Given that France ejected Nicolas Sarkozy (who provided the greatest push for the Libya operation) in favor of Socialist Francois Hollande, France’s continuing involvement is a tremendous surprise.
However, France and Britain have long, colonial histories in Africa, histories that were largely ended due to heavy American influence after World War II. By withdrawing that influence, President Obama has unwittingly invited the colonial powers back into Africa in order to protect their own homelands from an al Qaeda threat to their south.
The fact that the president who enabled the de facto recolonization of Africa is himself the first American leader of African descent makes it all the more painfully ironic.