A similar effort is now underway with respect to Niger and other countries in West Africa. Washington is upset about a recent military coup in Niger, which was the latest ouster of a pro-Western government in that region. U.S. leaders are concerned not only because the coups have underscored the fading influence of France, the former colonial master, but because the insurgents have adopted a friendly stance toward Russia.
The Biden administration is especially agitated because Niger has been the linchpin of the U.S. military presence in West Africa. Washington has stationed more than 1,100 troops there, and maintains multiple drone bases, ostensibly to combat Islamist rebels affiliated with ISIS. The United States also has provided more than $500 million in security aid to Niger in recent years.
An essential prerequisite for securing American public support for a proxy war – much less for a direct U.S. military intervention – is to exaggerate the relevance of developments to America's own security and other important interests. A related task is to generate a sense of urgency. That effort already has begun, with the establishment news media playing their usual role as the handmaids of government policy.
Michele Kelemen, an NPR correspondent, launched an early salvo. Her segment, titled "Here's why Niger's coup matters to the U.S.," faithfully echoed the Biden administration's position. "Niger is vital to U.S. counterterrorism efforts in Africa. It's one of the few countries in the region that has agreed to house U.S. drone bases and hundreds of American Special Forces and logistics experts, who are involved in counterterrorism operations against Boko Haram and ISIS affiliates."