As the French push on with the ‘reconquest’ of Mali, there’s a feeling here that Britain must play its part in preventing a terrorist safe haven on Europe’s southern border. Some compare the situation to pre-9/11 Afghanistan. Back in May, Ian Birrell warned that we ‘have seen the damage caused by a broken, chaotic country – and how Islamist terror groups promising stability can fill the void.’ The ‘shockwaves’ from Mali ‘could be felt far beyond its own borders’ just as the ones from Afghanistan were felt in New York and Washington. Bob Carr, Australia’s foreign minister, has drawn a similar comparison. Implicitly, the message is that ‘Something must be done!’ before history repeats itself.