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The Most Thought Provoking Events of the Year So Far: Bowe Bergdahl and Boko Haram

 To read the rest of "On Violence’s Most Thought Provoking Foreign Affairs Event of the Year so far", click on the articles below:

- The Five Taliban Exchanged for Bowe Bergdahl...In Context

- Genghis Khan Would Hate Twitter and 5 Other Thoughts on Boko Haram

- Eric C Ventures to the (Fox News) Dark Side: 7 Myths About the Bowe Bergdahl Prisoner Swap

 

Unlike 2012 and 2013, foreign affairs has dominated the news this year.

First, the world watched the crisis in Crimea, which expanded to the Ukraine as a whole. We’d love to comment more extensively, but--like Syria last year--we’re not experts on Russia so we’re holding off for now.

Next, Eric C was detachedly fascinated with the kidnapping of school girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria. (Detachedly because neither of us breathlessly follow the cable channels, just because they so often get the analysis wrong in the short term. We’d rather read longer articles.) He was fascinated that pundits couldn’t stop talking about Nigeria when it had so little impact on the lives of everyday Americans. Like Iran, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq (now), North Korea, and Egypt in the last few years, as soon as news coverage focused a light on the problem, people in Washington D.C. started discussing intervention.

Earlier this year, Michael C couldn’t stop fielding questions about Bowe Bergdahl. Everyone it seemed, wanted to know, “What do you think?”

At first, his answer was a giant, “Eh.” Most everyone in the military knew/suspected Bergdahl had walked off his base back in 2009. At the same time, Michael C assumed everyone would still want to get Bergdahl back. And no, On Violence was not worried about a Homeland-esque scenario playing out. That’s a fictional television show.

But--as often happens when we both reflect after the fact--some ideas percolated. Like the insistence that the Taliban prisoners released for Bergdahl would become terrorists that would strike the U.S. in the future. Or the idea that the kidnapping in Nigeria represents a growing trend of Islamic militancy. So we stored both events as candidates for "On V’s Most Thought Provoking Event of the Year.

Then Iraq fell apart. (Spoiler alert: that’s our most thought-provoking event of the year. Unless some absolutely devastating catastrophe occurs between now and then.)

When enough news events pack the beginning of a year, sometimes we like to turn them into our, “On Violence Most Thought Provoking Event of the Year So Far”. So this week we have thoughts on Bowe Bergdahl and Boko Haram.

Enjoy.

two comments

Expect an ongoing theme going through On V over the next few weeks is us pushing back against the idea that the world is falling apart.


Sorry, Iraq war…looks like the torture report has you beat.