Richard Nixon said, when speaking about Latin America, “No one gives a shit about the place.”
And the same can be said about Africa; until vast energy reserves were discovered, nobody really gave a shit about countless decades of civil wars and tribal conflicts; Rwandan genocide is a prime example, which the United Nations watched one million people get hacked to pieces with machetes.
Then along comes oil and gas discoveries, foreign investment and Al Qaeda backed insurgents. Suddenly, the world actually cares what happens to this region and its inhabitants. Well, to an extent. The inhabitants can continue to die in poverty and from treatable diseases because none of them are required for the oil and gas industries.
But, the insurgents who threaten energy supplies to the international market; well, those groups and the governments behind them are now on the target list. The French army have entered Mali to “make a point” to Al Qaeda and the United Kingdom is about to sanction intelligence and covert operations. This “decade long struggle” will facilitate countless interventions, targeted killings and drone operations across North Africa.
Once again, Africa will become the training ground for European armies.
Yet, one country has remained silent. The United States. Since discovering vast amounts of shale gas within North America, President Obama has suddenly stopped worrying about terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. Al Qaeda is now Europe’s problem and ours to solve. Shale gas has the potential to make the United States energy independent and, when that is finally achieved, Israel and Saudi Arabia are about to discover the world is a lonely place.
As the title of this post reads, the United States couldn’t care less about North Africa anymore. Obama would rather let the British hunt down the individuals behind the Algerian hostage crisis than waste US resources. And that should speak volumes. Unless a group directly attacks the US mainland, Obama is really not bothered about what happens in North Africa.
He’s more interested in the Pacific and the rise of China. Iran, Mali and Syria are no longer his problems.