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May 9, 2014

The Saga of Boko Haram and Hashtag Diplomacy

The Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy is a proven failure.

The tough face of Obama diplomacy

If you ask most Americans about Boko Harum, they might think you’re talking about the psychedelic rock band Procol Harum, best known for “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” But this band is a group of Islamic terrorists who are deadly serious about their craft, including the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls in April.

In an effort at social media diplomacy, First Lady Michelle Obama was photographed with a sad face and holding a sign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. This seems to be in conjunction with a second social media effort by some Hollywood actors who play tough guys on screen admonishing the terrorists that #RealMenDontBuyGirls – one threat made by Boko Harum was to “sell them in the market, by Allah.” It doesn’t seem that a Twitter hashtag game would dissuade them.

Unfortunately, in the real world, there isn’t much that can be done to Boko Harum at the moment, at least not without potentially putting the kidnapping victims at risk. The group was on the State Department’s radar screen, but then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton resisted for two years labeling it a terrorist group, which may have hampered our present ability to respond.

The obvious question is why did the State Department resist? A look at the timing and narrative provides the answer. After Boko Harum bombed the UN headquarters in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, the CIA, the FBI and others urged the State Department to place the group on the list of foreign terrorist organizations. The group had ties to al-Qaida, however, which Barack Obama claimed he had “decimated.” Hence, no terror designation for Boko Harum. Clinton can tweet, “We must stand up to terrorism,” all she wants, but that doesn’t explain her dereliction of duty in doing just that when she actually had authority.

Trying to manage Obama’s flailing foreign policy, there’s no question the State Department is also suffering greatly under the feckless leadership of John Kerry. But our bitter foreign policy harvest was sown by Clinton. Had sanity prevailed, Boko Harum would have been added to our terrorist watch list two years ago. Instead, as Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review, “Mrs. Clinton and President Obama have convinced themselves that they know more about Islam than Muslim terrorists do, and that the peaceful, pliable, progressive Islam they have concocted somehow renders the jihadists’ Islam false.” There are over 200 Nigerian girls and young women who would beg to differ.

This self-deception has proven dangerous and destructive, and the new hashtag for the Obama/Clinton/Kerry State Department should be #CriminalIncompetence. Finally, if nothing else, we see once again that Clinton is utterly unfit to serve as commander in chief.

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