- - Thursday, November 9, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Several weeks back, when four brave American service members lost their lives in Niger, the question asked by many was, What are U.S. forces doing in Africa?

Well, what happens in Africa has the potential to destabilize Western Europe. How so? Boko Haram is the Islamic State affiliate operating in several African nations. Its desire to spread the caliphate includes efforts at destabilizing governments throughout the continent. Should Boko Haram prevail and overthrow a populous nation, the resulting humanitarian crisis alone is reason enough to have an inhibitory presence in Africa.

But the potential of having millions of refugees fleeing to find safety elsewhere could overwhelm and potentially destabilize nations well beyond the continent. The one million refugees who fled the Syrian war for Europe would be a mere trickle compared to what could happen should a large African nation fall to radical Islam.

So why are we in Africa? Because the danger of disengaging from the region is simply too great for the United States — and the West in general — to ignore.

THOMAS M. BEATTIE

Mt. Vernon, Va.

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