Kenya's punitive invasion of Somalia is understandable but dangerous. The East African nation's decision to send thousands of troops into neighboring Somalia last week came after a long history of provocations.
Thousands of Somali refugees are flowing into Kenya, which is economically hard pressed. In Kenya, Somalis have kidnapped foreign tourists, some of whom died. Kenya wants to install order at least in southern Somalia, which shares a 423-mile border with it.
The action comes with major risks. Kenya depends on tourism for much of its income. Somalis have said they will strike inside Kenya in response to the invasion. Two explosions in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, are believed to be Somali-originated.
But identifying the source of such attacks is another problem. Kenya has a significant Somali immigrant population, and an important Kenyan Somali minority near the border and in Nairobi.
The United States may be drawn into this affair, because British and American forces train Kenya's armed forces. The origin of drone and other air strikes on Somali forces that have occurred so far is as yet unacknowledged.
U.S. military involvement in a new East African war, along with recent U.S. intervention in central Africa hunting down the Lord's Resistance Army and helping Uganda, may not find favor with some Americans. Just last week, the country rejoiced at the end of the Iraq war announced by President Obama.