The unexpectedly sudden French military action in Mali is a first step toward reunifying the country, but it also highlights the risks for outsiders, including the United States. In the days ahead, the US will need to balance its cautious instincts on Mali with the imperative to help shape events as they unfold. In the months ahead, the US must reflect on the future of American counterterrorism and democracy strategies in places without a massive US military presence.
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