A few weeks back, Uncle Sam the a.k.a names of the great United States of America degenerated to an unprecedented all time low by finally acquiescing to an exchange of prisoners deal with the Taliban. Expressed as in currency exchange terms, the parity was TAL.5/USD – assuming of course that TAL as a currency unit exists. That is to say 5 Taliban detainees at the Guantanamo Maximum Security Detention facilities were exchanged for a single US Marine. But that parity you’ll agree with me was quite low for the Taliban, considering the huge financial and human resources dissipated by both Russia and the United States over the last decades in their quests to stabilize Afghanistan, and which quest has to date remained as elusive as an eel. Yet the entire African continent pretended as if nothing of geo-political consequence happened.
As can be imagined, one can only speculate on the TERR/SLL (i.e. Terrorist/Sierra Leonean exchange) parity which could be anything between TERR/SLL1,000 and 2,000 for two cogent reasons. (1) When news filtered in few months back that a Sierra Leonean had been captured by a terrorist group in an Asian country no one batted an eyelid, neither has a further word been heard since the news first broke out not even about the gender of the victim and (2) No Terrorist group worth its salt would risk the strain on the meager budget by having to feed their Sierra Leonean hostages endlessly, and whose news value would dissipate after the first day of their capture because one would thereafter care a hoot about their locations. God help us!!! But perhaps that was before that great American government volte face on their prisoners exchange policy.
So now here is America the almighty and legendary USA that -:
– once prided itself on its “zero-tolerance” policy on negotiations with terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists
– would once inflict a fresh cold contagion on the entire planet earth by just a single “sneeze”
– used to settle inter and intra-global conflict on its own whim and caprice even to the extent of irascibly exercising a choice of options reasonable only to the Pentagon such as to unseat, replace, uplift and transfer sovereign Heads of States to US Gaols (General Noriega of Panama) or to launch sophisticated invasions against regimes whose heaviest military arsenal consisted only of AK47 rifles – just to scare the living daylights out of them(Grenada)
– would reverse external acts of aggression against strong allies with a weak military capacity such as they did in Kuwait against Iraq (Desert Storm) and
– that together with Britain and France, unilaterally invaded the latter country without the pre-requisite supporting UN Resolution (Gulf War)
timidly acquiescing to something previously unheard of such as “negotiating” with Terrorists. Well I’m blowed!!!
But it would appear things are no longer the same, and we are now witnessing, “the political changes that are sure to come”. Otherwise how could one explain away such condescension by this great nation (America) that once stoically resolved neverever to enter a truce, nor encourage, let alone sit and negotiate with known recidivists to sink so low? Above it all, there is something more puzzling about the value in pursuing the singular release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal so doggedly, and whose legitimacy as a Prisoner of War (POW) is largely suspect, because there are allegations that he voluntarily deserted his out post and ultimately exposed himself to capture a technicality for AWOL. But I shall leave that to the various US House Select Committees on military matters to justify or condemn President Barrack Obama’s decisions in that regard. It has to be said though that the impact of that decision on the popularity ratings of President Obama has been adverse.
My concern though is about the potential implications of that seemingly questionable decision against a backdrop of our own sub-regional vulnerabilities to the Boko-Haram, Al-Shabab, El-Quaid’a and other known terrorist groups, given the malleability and fickle mindedness of our largely unemployed youthful population, and the high level of poverty in the midst of our natural mineral abundance.
My concern is also about the potential dangers to which our Ambassadors, ordinary citizens and Peace Keeping troops could now be exposed to in the line of off-shore duties. If the great America could decide – for whatever reasons – to “jaw-jaw” rather than “war-war” and participate in a prisoner exchange swap with terrorist groups, what would stop them or any other friendly country from recommending the same exit methodology to us if our circumstances so dictate. My final concern again is the extents to which other terrorist groups can be embolden to also want to capitalize on this unprecedented American strategy to “negotiate”. And ideally in that regard, are we looking at the possibility of some international pressure being ultimately brought to bear on Nigeria to one day also consider negotiations with the “Boko-Haram” Islamic Jihadist group for the release of those over 200 girls abducted on the night of 14th April from their Chibok dormitories in Borno State?
So is the American “Tiger” gradually losing its “Tigritude”? There are glaring evidences of daily rising death tolls through poisonous gasses in Syrian, mass killings in Egypt of up to 1,300, yet this former “Global Cop” is either looking askance, or not influential enough to champion appropriate UN Resolutions to stem the tide. In Egypt, their own “Baby President” Morsi was removed from power and replaced in broad daylight, yet the American government said they could quite understand whether his removal was a coup or not. From Iraq to Syria, the ISIS are on the rampage, but the Americans are yet to make firm statements about their commitments to the protection of democratic values for the citizens of those countries that lie in their paths. Russia is having a field day in Ukraine. So are we gradually witnessing a global degeneration into lawlessness?
I would not have been so concerned if Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq were oil-barren landscapes not warranting G.I. boots on the ground. But they all have copious deposits of the “black gold”, now excavated in much greater quantities than ever before, and with substantial economic potentials for the USA in terms of recovering their war expense. So what is inducing this dereliction of duty by the great America as the “global Cop”? These days even as global peace deteriorates, the best we are hearing are about unmanned drones and the deployment of just a few Counter-Intelligence personnel. That doesn’t sound convincing enough.
In the days of our own Rebel War, there was much resistance to any attempt at dialogues with “Rebels/Terrorists”, and the world supported us in that regard unto the end. Whatever negotiations were conducted was from positions of strengths, and ultimately a few of those who bore the greatest responsibility had their days in Court. But now this development! Those friendly nations that readily stood by us in our heady days all now have their own homegrown socio-political challenges to confront, and cannot be relied upon as before. Nigeria is on fire, and to date they seem to be bearing that brunt alone without sub-regional military assistance. By blowing hot and cold governance air at the same time, Guinea is tottering in a brink. The youths in Ghana are beginning to practice how to go on a rampage and for their “rights” if you please. Confusion now reeks along several other previously stable West African counties. So as the center of global peace appears to be caving in, does it then mean the only way out is for us to also begin to molly-coddle terrorists including potential coup makers?
By: Winstanley.R.Bankole Johnson
Monday July 07, 2014