The next French intervention in Africa will be in Mauritania before 2020

(This post originally appeared on Young-Diplomats.com and is written by David Allouche). Why is Mauritania next? France has been efficiently defending its interests in those countries through cultural and economic power, coupled with dozens of covert actions to overthrow leaders that refused to preserve France’s interests. France has used mercenaries, the most famous being Bob Denard, … Continue reading The next French intervention in Africa will be in Mauritania before 2020

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How Can Boko Haram Sell Girls Into Slavery? The Answer, Dear Friends, Is All About State Power

Think back to your school days (or, if you're still in school, think back to yesterday).  In every social organization with enough people, there must be at least one complete and utter dick.  He or she is the least pleasant person in the world to be around, amasses power through intimidation, violence, or manipulation, and … Continue reading How Can Boko Haram Sell Girls Into Slavery? The Answer, Dear Friends, Is All About State Power

Somalia, Al Shabaab, and How Geography Screwed A Country

The odds are good you've seen Black Hawk Down, where the story of the disaster that was the battle of Mogadishu is told rather well.  With such a baseline of knowledge, you're aware that, at some point in the recent past, Somalia was a mess.  Things haven't changed much. Somalia is the king of Failed States … Continue reading Somalia, Al Shabaab, and How Geography Screwed A Country

What the hell happened in South Sudan? (You can blame tribalism)

Off I go on holiday and suddenly there's a civil war in South Sudan.  What, exactly, went down?  Well, there are specifics - and they are better detailed elsewhere - and there are the generalities, which carry the grand geopolitical sweep of things.  Like many of Africa's conflicts, South Sudan suffers the effects of rapid … Continue reading What the hell happened in South Sudan? (You can blame tribalism)

5 Leaders Who Really Mattered

Human systems often are too large, and too complicated, for single leaders to have undue influence.  We often like to think that human history would have changed had we added a good leader here or shot up a bad leader there.  But killing Hitler would not have changed the security challenge faced by a rising … Continue reading 5 Leaders Who Really Mattered

The How-To of Decolonization

So you wake up one day and you realize something - you're about to be leader of a country.  For a long time, some foreign power's been running the show, but they're about to skip town and leave you to your devices.  Never mind how you got there - your idiosyncratic journey doesn't change the … Continue reading The How-To of Decolonization