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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rob Meltzer
Dec. 6, 2013 12:12 p.m.



When Obama took office, it seemed like Africa was finally going to get the serious attention that it deserved in terms of American foreign policy. After generations of neglect from the American government, maybe, just maybe, the United States would recognize the strategic value of the African continent, not to mention the basic need to treat the people of that continent as something more than a basket case full of failed states. Curious that when the United States has been energized, in places such as Libya, the country at issue is more Arab than African, and the man who the United States helped overthrow in Libya was actually emerging as America’s best friend in Africa against the growing threat of extremist Islamic influence and terrorism. In fact, you can link the death of Gaddafi to a downward spiral in Africa as Al Qaeada and its affiliates rush in to fill the void left behind by Gaddafi. Remember the notion that if you break it you own it? Well, the current American Regime has changed the equation on the ground in Africa, but now stands back and says that it is up to the former colonial powers to step in and clean up the mess. Respectfully, France has less interest in clamping down on terrorists in Africa than we do.  Al Qaeada’s established goal is to establish a regional Caliphate. It now knows that Kabul is not going to be the capital, although Baghdad is still up for grabs. But as we are leaning in Mali and the Central African Republic, AQ now seems intent on grabbing a whole continent. As bad as it was rooting AQ out of Afghanistan, it is going to be a whole lot worse for the United States if we face an entrenched continental terrorist group. The problem with the war on terror is that it has focused on the wrong targets–using drones to kill yesterday’s problem, while the new tumors grow and swell. We are no safer now than we were ten years ago, but we are a hell of lot broker. The goal on the war on terror has to be a targeted one, and it starts by listening to our allies, by keeping an eye on the ball, and figuring out an effective way to address underlying problems. this was supposed to be the regime that recognized the value of Africa. It’s just another promise broken.

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