“LET ME underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, North Africa and around the world,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday in testimony to Congress. “When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer and our security at home is threatened.”
Much of the news coverage of Ms. Clinton’s appearances before Senate and House committees focused on her jousting with Republicans over responsibility for the attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya. But we were struck by the forcefulness and clarity with which she made the case that the United States faces a “very serious, ongoing” and “strategic” threat in North Africa from al-Qaeda affiliates and other jihadists — one that she argued demands a vigorous and comprehensive response.
“We are in for a struggle,” Ms. Clinton said. “But it is a necessary struggle. We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven. . . . We’ve got to have a better strategy.”