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With all the headline news about major crises ranging from the Ukraine War to inflation to the infant formula shortage to the likelihood that abortion rights will be rescinded, RealityChek readers and others can be forgiven for overlooking the Biden administration’s recent decision to send a small contingent of U.S. forces back to Somalia. In fact, everyone can be forgiven if you can’t find Somalia on a map.

But the redeployent is eminently worth discussing because it’s the latest example of how foreign policy globalists (like President Biden) have their priorities completely ass-backward when it comes to dealing with global terrorism.

These units are back in this failed state on the Horn of Africa – after being withdrawn by former President Donald Trump in late 2020 – not because Somalia is located strategically or boasts any resources or export markets that matter to the U.S. economy. They’re back because the country has long been a headquarters for the jihadist group and major Al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab, and this organization “has increased in strength and poses a heightened threat” recently, according to the White House. Additionally, as observed by new Biden Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, Somalia’s dismal excuse for a government is failing to prevent Al-Shabab from gaining the ability to launch terrorist attacks on the United States.

No one can dispute the need to protect the American homeland from foreign terrorist threats. But what’s so perverse about this Biden administration move is that it’s taking place after the President has taken numerous steps since his January, 2020 inauguration – many very early in this term – to weaken the security of America’s own border and thereby faciliate the entry of those terrorists.

Even worse, this Open Borders-friendly position has coincided with (a) growing numbers of apprehensions at U.S. borders of migrants from Turkey and other non-Western Hemisphere countries (including in Africa) and (b) growing numbers of such apprehensions of individuals on the federal government’s terrorist watch list. (See the official U.S. interactive feature here and the equally official dropdown menus here, respectively.)  The absolute numbers of the latter are small, but how many jihadists did it take to knock down the Twin Towers?

And speaking of Afghanistan, Biden’s sensible but operationally botched withdrawal was never accompanied by stronger border security measures, either.  Quite the opposite.  

In other words, unlike the Trump administration, the Biden administration is refusing to focus its anti-terrorism strategy on what the U.S. government can reasonably hope to control (securing its own borders). Instead, in the case of Somalia, it’s not only returning to, but doubling down on, an approach I’ve criticized before that focuses on what Washington can’t possibly hope to control – using the U.S. military to keep chasing down jihadists in failed regions like the Middle East and countries like Somalia, whose deep-seated dysfunction is bound to keep generating them. Is the President seriously expecting different results from doing this same thing over and over again? That’s of course a definition of something no one should want any U.S. leader to display.