US policy and how military airpower can play a role in Northern Nigeria

Terrorism has been identified as a source of economic disruption. The activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria has led to economic disruption. Even through the Nigerian government has received assistance from the international community including the US, the country has not managed to defeat the terrorism group. Instead, more causalities have been witnessed. Through international political economy, the US will gather information and support necessary for establishing an effective policy on fighting the group effectively. The US has previously used air force in defeating terrorists although the attacks have attracted criticism. By involving the international community in developing a new policy in the fight against economic disruption in Nigeria, the US will attract more support essential in defeating the terrorists. The US requires an effective policy to attack Boko Haram eventually promoting Nigerian economic growth.

Part 1

Various countries across the world have experienced economic disruption due to issues such as terrorism. Northern Nigeria is one of the areas that face economic disruption due to terrorism threats from Boko Haram. The illegal group has challenged he security power of the country presenting a substantial threat in the country and across the region. The potent blend of religious fanaticism, the cold-blooded violence and mass killings among other terrorism acts have attracted policy makers across including the US. The US has developed various policies that aimed at mitigating the security threats. Some off the policies focused on providing training to military helpful in dealing with the terrorists. The policies also aimed at promoting regional cooperation, and transparency[i]. Additionally, Nigeria benefits from the policy in regard to the provision of funding, training, and equipment.

The aim of the US has been to successfully fight against Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria reducing the negatives effects on the economy. However, efforts to solve the crisis has been challenging with the country failing to defeat the terrorism group. Instead, there have been increased scale of violence with increased use of sophisticated tactics and weaponry, and increased causalities of the civilians. The group has also expanded the violence to neighbouring countries and increased targeting of foreign nationals. This has attracted more attention from the US in efforts to disrupt the ability of the group and address the economic disruption in the country[ii]. Even the intelligence sharing between troops of Nigeria and other countries have failed in promoting the success of the regional cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Northern Nigeria[iii]. The US requires to be informed and guided in making effective policies that will help in solving the economic disruption in Nigeria brought about by Boko Haram.

The international political economy is useful in informing and guiding US policy in regard to economic disruption. Political economies involve the intersection of economies and politics at the international level. Key realizations have been made in support of international political economy. One is that political events happening on one country have implications for countries across the world[iv]. Second, economic events in one nations have economic implications in other countries. Additionally, economic events can have political or economic implications for other countries. Another realization is that power in political economy can come from economics. For instance the possession of oil, an important commodity in the world, enabled countries such as Saudi Arabia to be influential in the world[v]. International political structures have been recognized to reflect economics. The international political structures reflect the economic power at national level. Focus on international political economy will help the US government in understanding the political economies in the Northern Nigeria.

The fight have seem some successes with some members of the group being apprehended and some of their operations foiled. The direct assistance that the US has offered the Nigerian government has not been effective in fighting the group. Among the assistance that the US has offered the Nigerian government are defense budget, external loans, finding for building counterterrorism unit of infantry, and funds for surveillance and communication equipment. Even with this help, Nigeria continues to experience economic disruption[vi]. Corruption and greed continues to sustain the violent conflicts in the country associated with economic disruption. The economic reforms that the country has tried to adapt have not been successful due to lack of accountability and transparency. This plays a role in slowing down the process of confronting Boko Haram due to underfunding. Lack of proper regulations in the free flow of the availed cash is associated with corruption that diverts money from terrorism confrontation to personal gains[vii]. This indicates that the US has to reconsider its policies in fight against the group. Providing funds to the government is not enough. More informed policies are required for effectiveness.

As part of the international relations, international political economy helps in sharing information necessary in facing global issues such as terrorism. Through the concept, the US government will be able to gather necessary information that will be gathered from Nigeria and other concerned countries in relation to terrorism. With this information, the US will be guided on making informed policies that will effectively face Boko Haram and eventually help in addressing the economic disruption in the country[viii]. Understanding governance issues in Northern Nigeria will guide the US in developing informed policies. Through the international political economy, the US will understand issues such as the distribution of wealth and power in Nigeria and its effects in the fight against Boko Haram.

Studies show that Nigeria has people who are extremely rich while others are poor. When Boko Haram attacked Abuja, the rich were protected from harm while the poor hit by the explosions. The rich and the powerful who includes some military leaders are usually safe from the attacks which explain why the attacks escalate. The widening gap between the powerful and the common citizens has made it easier for Boko Haram to recruit people. Anger and frustrations made people consider joining the group. The results have been more attacks causing economic disruption. The attacks have been directed to the vulnerable groups such as street vendors, unemployed, rural villagers, children, and small market traders[ix]. This is another proof that informed policies are required to counter the terrorism. Studying the economic and political activities and implications will guide the US in making informed policies.

One of the realizations in support of international political economy is that political events happening in one country have implications for countries. Nigeria clearly has resources that can effectively beat Boko Haram. However, the staggering wealth from oil is usually held by a group of elites who are politically connected. This small group remains protected from Boko Haram attacks. This has created a class of people who live in extreme poverty. The involvement of some politicians in protecting this group promotes the activities of Boko Haram and what follows is fatal attacks in the country and across the region[x]. The lack of proper preparation of the soldiers due to lack of training associated with lack of training funds creamed by politicians causes more causalities. For the US government to effectively address economic disruption in Nigeria, Boko Haram must be defeated. To do this, the US must develop informed policies that will ensure that the Nigerian government participates in the fight. Through international political economy, the US will acquire essential information that will guide the formation of the informed policies. Additionally, the US will be able to involve various nations in the fight against terrorism in the region promoting economic growth. [xi]

Part 2

Through the international political economy, the US can make the informed policy of using airpower. The policy can help in attacking the terrorists. With such a policy, the US will be able to invite the cooperative employment of Airpower. Considering that other tactics have not been effective in defeating Boko Haram, the US requires to make informed policies. Use of Airpower has previously been successful in defeating terrorists[xii]. By engaging various countries through the international political economy, the US will be assured of the dominance in air and space. This way, the US will be able to attack the terrorists disrupting the economy in Nigeria. Cyber security is also important in conducting air and space missions[xiii]. If cyber systems are attacked, space and air attacks can be challenged. It is thus essential that cyber security is promoted by the US and other nations in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.

The US will get support from other countries in the region if it applies the weapon with care. If Airpower harms innocent civilians then the strategy attracts resistance which eventually strengthens the terrorists. To avoid constrains towards coercive employment of Airpower, the US will in developing the policy involve the world and explain its mission. By openly communicating the policy to the international community[xiv], the US will be able to attract more support. Proper use of Airpower would involve protecting the civilians and attack the enemy[xv]. Strategic thinking prior to the use of airpower is essential in defeating the terrorists and protecting the civilians. The economic disruption in Northern Nigeria will only be possible Boko Haram is defeated and prevented from causing more harm.

In conclusion, it is clear the US requires an effective policy to defeat Boko Haram and eventually promote economic growth in Nigeria. Northern Nigeria faces economic disruption due to activities of Boko Haram. The US has established various policies with a purpose of helping Nigerian government to defeat Boko Haram. However, the government has been unable to effectively fight the group leading to more causalities in Nigeria and across the region. To establish a policy that will be more effective, the US requires to rely on gathering essential information and support from other countries through the international political economy. This will enable the US to establish an informed policy such as used of airpower to attack the terrorists whose activities disrupt the Nigerian economy. Through the international political economy, the US will be able to involve the international community in its plan of using the airpower and with support from the international community, the US will attack the terrorists.

End Notes


iJohn, Cambell. U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria’s Boko Haram. Council Special Report No. 70, 2014: 1-51.

[ii] US increases efforts to disrupt the ability of the group and address the economic disruption in the Nigeria.

[iii] Dixon, Robyn “In Nigeria, Distrust Hampers the Fight against Boko Haram,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2014.

[iv] Political events happening on one country have implications for countries across the world

[v] Economic events can have political or economic implications for other countries.

[vi] Michael, Nwankpa. The political economy of securitization: The case of Boko Haram, Nigeria. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, vol. 10, no. , 2015: 32-39.

[vii] Udo, Bassey “Jonathan signs Nigeria’s 2014 Budget as Defence gets 20 percent,” Premium Times, May 24, 2014.

[viii] International Crisis Group (ICG). “Curbing Violence in Nigeria (II): The Boko Haram Insurgency.” Africa Report No. 2163, 2014.http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/

[ix] The attacks have been directed to the vulnerable groups such as street vendors, unemployed, rural villagers, children, and small market traders.

[x] Michael, Nwanpka. The political economy of securitization: The case of Boko Haram, Nigeria. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, vol. 10, no. , 2015: 32-39.

[xi] The US will be able to involve various nations in the fight against terrorism in the region promoting economic growth.

[xii] Robert, Kehler. Shaping the Joint Fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace, no.49 2008: 31-37.

Lambeth, Benjamin. Air Power against Terror, National Defense Research Institute, 2005: 1-457.

[xiii] The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc. (IFPA). Air, Space, & Cyberspace Power in the 21st-Century, 38th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy: Final Report, 2010: pp. 1-128.

[xiv] Daniel, Byman. The limits of air strikes when fighting the Islamic State. The Brookings Institution, 2016. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2016/12/06/t…

[xv] Daniel, Byman. The limits of air strikes when fighting the Islamic State. The Brookings Institution, 2016. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2016/12/06/t…

Bibliography

Bassey, Udo, “Jonathan signs Nigeria’s 2014 Budget as Defence gets 20 percent,” Premium Times, May 24, 2014.

Byman, Daniel. The limits of air strikes when fighting the Islamic State. The Brookings Institution, 2016. https://www.brookings.edu/blog/markaz/2016/12/06/t…

Campbell, John. U.S. Policy to Counter Nigeria’s Boko Haram. Council Special Report No. 70, 2014: 1-51.

International Crisis Group (ICG). “Curbing Violence in Nigeria (II): The Boko Haram Insurgency.” Africa Report No. 2163, 2014.http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/

Kehler, Robert. Shaping the Joint Fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace, no.49 2008: 31-37.

Lambeth, Benjamin. Air Power against Terror, National Defense Research Institute, 2005: 1-457.

Nwankpa, Michael. The political economy of securitization: The case of Boko Haram, Nigeria. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, vol. 10, no. , 2015: 32-39.

Robyn Dixon, “In Nigeria, Distrust Hampers the Fight against Boko Haram,” Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2014.

The Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Inc. (IFPA). Air, Space, & Cyberspace Power in the 21st-Century, 38th IFPA-Fletcher Conference on National Security Strategy and Policy: Final Report, 2010: pp. 1-128.