It might have been pushed down the news agenda this week by David Cameron’s Europe speech and the bad economic news, but the situation in Mali is offering us a preview of the next decade in international relations. This decade will, William Hague warns in The Times today, be far more dangerous than what we have seen so far this century. This is a sobering statement when you consider that in the last 13 years we have had 9/11, 7/7, Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the striking things about the Mali mission is it shows how the US is far less interested in playing the role if global policemen these days. The New York Times reports today that the Obama administration thinks that the French aims in Mali are too ambitious. It is also holding back refueling support for the French on the grounds of cost; a striking example of how American priorities are changing.
Hague today argues that the West’s role in Mali will be akin to its role in Somalia not Afghanistan and that there are ‘no plans’ to send in British troops. But it is worth noting that British involvement is steadily increasing with the government revealing yesterday that it has sent a spy plane to the region.