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Niger: Finally, A War John McCain Doesn't Love
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News first broke about America’s Niger misadventure on October 4. “The real news here is that the US has forces in Niger, where they’re conducting covert operations,” this writer tweeted out. “Hashtag America First.”

Official media ignored the ambush of the American Special Forces, until the story gained anti-Trump traction. No word came from John McCain. Three weeks hence, the senator from Arizona is making history. McCain, who has never encountered a war he wasn’t eager to prosecute, is questioning the folly in Niger.

The senator from Arizona can run but can’t hide from the pollution he has left along his political path. Republicans wisely rejected war in Kosovo; McCain jettisoned party loyalty to call for bombs from above and “more boots on the ground.” At the prospects of war with Iran, McCain burst into song, “Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran.” The possibility still makes this war ghoul smile. Before that, McCain promised a 100-year war in Iraq.

Senator McCain’s jingoism has encompassed Syria, Georgia, Mali, Nigeria, and China. Where the US could not effect regime change, as it did fecklessly in Afghanistan and Libya—McCain would typically call to side with an imagined local “friend of America” against an imagined “foe of America.” McCain has many imaginary friends.

Where his target country was beyond US bullying (Russia), the idea of the resumption of a cold war was an option McCain liked. He is currently fulminating over a slight delay in sanctions against Russia. When all efforts to tame the world militarily fail, McCain is partial to the idea of UN troops acting as his surrogates, say in Sudan.

No war makes Johnny a sad boy. But now he’s considering a subpoena over Niger.

Global Centralizer

Playing out in Niger are the permanently entrenched, unchanging, American foreign-policy interests. Keen observers will detect a familiar pattern. Once again, the American bias everywhere is toward a powerful, overweening central state. This conceit has put our forces on a collision course with the tribal interests America toils to tame.

Indeed, US foreign policy often flouts local authority. It certainly disavows separatists and generally discourages any meaningful devolution of power. Born of a loose confederation of independent states, America now stands for the strong centralized state. Our interchangeable leaders strive to see the same in the tribal lands of the Middle East and Africa.

Meddling in Yemen’s Civil War

In Yemen, America is working to impose a central authority on “bickering sheikdoms.” In the South alone, Yemen has 14 such principalities. Southern secessionists are at war with the north, have been for at least 139 years. There, “even the bottled water,” notes the Economist, “is called ‘South.'” There’s no such thing as a united Yemen. Never was.

Into this fray, the US has waded. So stupid and dangerous is our foreign-policy colossus that it imagines America is fighting al-Qaida by backing the Saudi-led coalition to vanquish northern Houthi rebels. The northern Houthi rebels, however, clearly wear many hats. More so than the invading coalition, the rebels are of the community and often for the community.

As America’s Emirati partners in Yemen are realizing, “Motivating recruits to push north is an uphill task even with the payment of bonuses. Those who were happy to fight for their own homes seem unenthused about fighting for somebody else’s.”

Would that the Empire’s military would confine itself to that constitutional mandate: fight for home and hearth and no more. Alas, our soldiers have been propagandized to conflate fighting for American freedom with fights in Niger, Burkina Faso (yeah, I know) and Mali.

Ultimately, all the spots America chooses to mess with are too complex for the prosaic American mind to grasp, for we are schooled to see societies unlike our own through a Disneyfied, angels-and-demons prism.

More so than the Middle East, Africa is riven by tribal interests and dynamics. These, McCain or CENTCOM (the United States Central Command) have no hope of understanding, because they’re wedded to the idea that their own home (America) is nothing more than an idea, and never a community of flesh-and-blood people with a shared, treasured patrimony.

And Now, Niger

To their credit, Africans’ fealty is not to deracinated political propositions—democracy, human rights, gay marriage, and communal bathrooms—but to each other. They will kill for clan and kin. (And they kill each other, too.)

Niger is no different. You’re told that the Americans and the French are empowering the local forces of Niger against the mythical ISIS. Poppycock. This is never the case. In Africa, as in Afghanistan or Iraq, the conflicts are regional, tribal, old, if not ancient.

Tongo-Tongo, the Niger village that ambushed our unsuspecting Green Berets, had not been “infiltrated” by hostile forces; that’s the take of Niger’s central government, itself a very recent development. If past is prologue, it’s fair to assume that the Niger government is vested in developing as a French and American client state with all the attendant perks.

Villagers have likely learned not to wait for any trickle-down from the state. The Tongo-Tongo villagers enticed our forces to mill about, giving their homie militant benefactors just enough time to set up an ambush in a kill zone.

Imagine! Locals don’t particularly relish a visit from the American and French patrolmen and their Nigerien puppets.

Again, Niger is heavily dependent on bribes from the West (foreign aid, we call it). We reward Niamey (the capital) to play war games with us. This is another case of an Islamic, if multi-ethnic, tribal land, whose people don’t want Americans there. (And even if the people of the region wanted us there, America has no business being there. Deplorables voted against the concept of making Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali great again.)

So, if John McCain’s hatred of President Trump has driven America’s most ardent warmonger to question the American intervention in Niger—that’s a good thing.

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook & YouTube.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, John McCain 
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  1. NoldorElf says:

    I guess this is a matter of better late than never for McCain, who until now has never found a war that he did not want to get the US involved in.

    The question is, how many in the US Congress or for that matter Trump himself will consider plunging the US into a pointless war in Niger?

    Any war, like Libya is likely to be totally counterproductive, spawn a refugee crisis, and then likely help rather than hurt radical Islamic groups. Of course the braindead neoconservatives are willfully ignorant about this one.

    • Replies: @SMK
  2. “This is another case of an Islamic, if multi-ethnic, tribal land, whose people don’t want Americans there.”

    Any more than Americans–most, anyway–would want them here.

    How considerate of our armed forces to give the citizens of such lands the opportunity to defend their countries without leaving them!

  3. One wonders what role Niger’s uranium deposits plays in all this.

    • Replies: @Talha
    , @MEexpert
    , @JGarbo
  4. Art says:

    Clearly McCain’s anger for Trump is driving his politics – America be damned – Sad!

    Peace — Art

  5. we are schooled to see societies unlike our own through a Disneyfied, angels-and-demons prism.”

    I wouldn’t say that at all. I see Africa as an unspeakable hellhole, not Disney so much as Dystopian. I want no part of that continent and certainly see no role there for U.S. forces. McCain clearly relishes this conflict, his own rhetoric notwithstanding. But his hatred for Trump precludes him from being forthcoming. I’m glad his final days on this planet are filled with angst and aggravation. He deserves all of it.

    • Replies: @JGarbo
  6. McCain is satans helper from the depths of hell, where ever he goes death and destruction follow.

  7. njguy73 says:

    New Rule: If McCain says we shouldn’t invade a country, we don’t.

    No, seriously. If he’s against a war, it can’t be good.

  8. Cyrano says:

    Let me indulge in a little amateur(ish?) psychological profiling of McCain. Pretty much everybody on this site knows that McCain didn’t exactly make his country proud with his display of heroism over there – in Vietnam.

    So now, by showing excessive bravadoes whenever US and war are mentioned in a same sentence – he thinks he will make people think: – “There is no way this guy is a coward, look how brave he acts about any war”. Of course it’s much easier to be brave when someone else’s life is on the line than your own.

  9. MEexpert says:
    @Beefcake the Mighty

    One wonders what role Niger’s uranium deposits plays in all this.

    Ya think!

    Nah! We are not that kind of people.

  10. Harland says:

    Globalists see the world like a game of Risk by Milton Bradley. The object is to conquer all the territories. The idea that the government of the USA was founded to serve its people is ridiculous on its face. Obviously the role of the American people is to fund a war machine and get that 5 army bonus for controlling the whole continent.

  11. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Niger is an obscure country to most Americans and I’d bet that the majority don’t even know that it exists. Except for the recent unexpected death of the servicemen and the tasteless attempt to spin it into anti-Trump propaganda it wouldn’t have been known that we were engaged in military actions over there. What’s it about? Hard to tell since whatever we’re told is guaranteed to be a lie. We’re probably just in collusion with another unpopular regime for some financial benefit to us, the French and the regime leaders. What else is going on that we’re not being told about?

  12. KenH says:

    Military operations in Niger must not confer any benefit to the state of Israel, hence McCain’s sudden principled opposition to it. McCain is resembling that creepy, ghoulish minister from Poltergeist II who led his flock to death each more every passing month.

    And where the eff is Trump in all this? He needs to start acting like the guy we elected instead of deferring to his washed up, neocon generals and Jared Kushner on all foreign policy matters.

  13. SMK says: • Website

    McCain is the avatar of “invade-the world/invite-the-world madness. Endless wars to transform Muslim and African hell-holes into American-style democracies while supporting an invasion from the Third-World that will soon transform the United States into a nonwhite-majority dystopia and hell-hole in which European-Americans will be an increasingly dispossessed and persecuted minority. That’s the legacy of this warmonger and immigration enthusiast, this blood-thirsty, delusional, and treasonous idealist and “patriot.”

  14. anon • Disclaimer says:

    There should be NO American troops anywhere in Africa.

  15. JGarbo says:
    @Beefcake the Mighty

    Niger is France’s sand pit. Wonder why the French air force didn’t help? Wonder how US comms didn’t get through? The French are even dirtier fighters than the Americans. This is a warning. Stay out!

  16. JGarbo says:

    Sadly, McCain, like any rabid dog, feels no pain, the self-hatred is so strong. Swift death low coward.

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