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Posts Tagged ‘France’

Fighting al Qaeda in the Post-bin Laden Era

February 6th, 2013

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This piece was originally published in U.S. News & World Report.

It’s welcome news to hear French and Malian troops have almost fully liberated northern Mali from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM, and the other jihadists who turned much of the country into a neo-Taliban state. Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on how to wage war against al Qaeda in the post-Osama bin Laden era.

1. Let our allies shoulder the security burden. For more than a decade, the United States has led the world’s efforts to crush al Qaeda. But let’s be honest: The United States has little experience in the vast, lawless Sahel, despite the much-ballyhooed stand-up of the Pentagon’s Africa Command a few years ago. America’s knowledge of the region remains sparse—chances are you can probably count the number of Bambara or Tuareg speakers in the U.S. government on one hand, if you lop off a few fingers.

Other allies—most notably France, but also Great Britain—know more about the region, the turf, and locals than we ever will. And remember: French and Malian soldiers are doing the fighting, the killing, and the dying. So in this fight, America should support them and provide them with assistance: reconnaissance drones, advanced munitions, refueling capacity, intelligence support—you name it.

They certainly need it. In this hot war, Paris has struggled to move men and materiel to the front lines. And Mali’s army is beset by numerous problems. But let’s not criticize our allies; now is the time to help them. After all, if we can hammer another nail into the coffin of an al Qaeda franchise, it’s certainly worth leasing France a few more C-17s.

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For energy reform advocates, lessons from health care

August 2nd, 2010

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This piece was originally published in The Washington Post.

With the United States struggling to recover from a job-killing recession, a Democratic president asks a Democratic Congress to pass sweeping reform of a major sector of the economy. “We can no longer afford to continue to ignore what is wrong,” he explains. “We must fix this system, and it has to begin with congressional action.” The public, however, rejects this plea. The proposal dies in Congress, and recriminations begin. Chastened and disappointed, advocates regroup and seek a new path forward.

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