African adventure

DOD's Africa Command has expanded U.S. military activities to at least 18 countries


The Defense Department’s Africa Command, created in 2008, has continued to expand U.S. military activities to at least 18 countries. It is hard to argue that America has important strategic interests in these countries.

A U.S. Special Operations force recently commandeered a tanker in international waters, at the request of Libya’s shaky government and U.S. oil companies, that Libyan rebels were attempting to use to export oil for their own profit.

Last month, President Obama authorized the use of U.S. forces to aid the Ugandan military in its unsuccessful efforts to track down the Lord’s Resistance Army of Joseph Kony. This is the same Uganda that has a new law that discriminates against homosexuals.

Increased U.S. military activities in Africa appear driven to a degree by an effort by the Pentagon to find work, and justify its budget, to replace the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But this expansion is expensive, and it risks involving the United States in unnecessary military adventures. The initiative should be red-penciled before it proceeds further.