Longtime readers will know that I’ve taken some on-again, off-again interest in the situation in Somalia ever since that country was subjected to a little-noticed Christmastime invasion by Ethiopian forces operating with American support. I’ll admit, though, that my interests has largely been driving by a point-scoring desire to pursue an internet feud against those who very self-confidently asserted that I was all wrong to think this operation was going to end in disaster. At this point, though, the situation is sufficiently disastrous that there’s no more need for I told you so’s. And, in fact, it’s all incredibly tragic — things have been bad for so long in Somalia that people are inured to it, but things have actually gotten much worse over the past year and show some signs of getting even worse.
All this by way of introducing Ken Menkhaus’s report on Somalia. It makes for very interesting reading, and offers a really useful summary of both how we got to the current point and also what the current lay of the land looks like politically. He tries, of course, to point the way toward a more constructive policy approach. I’m skeptical that any such thing will be done, but it is worth observing that our latest round of blundering appears to have generated some terrorism blowback already so it’s actually reasonably important that we start to get this stuff right.