HELLO FROM AMERICA!

Posted in Quick Hits on January 30th, 2013 by Ed

Not that you'd notice from watching the news, but the U.S. has lent a helping hand to French colonialism (It hasn't even advanced to the point of neo-colonialism yet in Niger, the uranium under which is to the French nuclear power industry what Saudi oil is to the American auto industry) in West Africa. Yes, yes, we can throw around tales of Islamist rebels and terrorists-in-training throughout the region, of which there are most certainly plenty. However, given the general instability and weakness of the governments in that part of the world and the vast stretches of territory across the Sahel that is "governed" in name only, the logic behind Western intervention is not entirely clear.

Moreover, the U.S. has just reached an agreement to start flying its global ambassadors for democracy – Flying Death Robots – out of Niger due to what is characterized as a complete lack of ground-level intelligence in the region. We are masters of the soft sell, so we'll send in the unarmed surveillance drones first. Any bets on when the Reapers and Predators make an appearance? I have July 2013 in the pool.

The truly stunning part of the linked Guardian article is this:

The move would be the latest in a gradual expansion of American surveillance drones in Africa, which have so far been operated from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Djibouti

I tend to pay attention to these things, and I had absolutely no idea that we were already flying these things not only out of the Horn of Africa (USAFRICOM operates out of a US Naval Base, Camp Lemmonier, in Djibouti, so that makes sense) but also out of Burkina Faso in West Africa. You'd think that would be newsworthy.

Is the strategy to cover the entire planet with these things incrementally until…everyone on Earth realizes how wonderful America is, or something? However real the need for intelligence might be, the idea of attempting to cover the globe with the robotic, all-seeing eye of the Department of Defense seems like folly, a post-Cold War version of the idea that we could build enough bomb shelters to make nuclear war a mild inconvenience at worst.

Burkina Faso is still Upper Volta to me, by the way.