Earlier this year, tragedy struck Kenya when a group of armed militants assaulted a mall along Kenya’s northern border. Over the course of a two-day standoff, 68 people were killed. Coming as it did right before the government shutdown, the Kenyan mall attack did not see much coverage in U.S. news. It may be discouraging, but it’s unsurprising. Americans consistently tune in for terrorism linked to the U.S., but care significantly less about parts of the world they don’t feel are important.
This attack didn’t only matter to Kenya, though. As former counterinsurgency strategy specialist David Kilcullen argued when he came to Northwestern, such conflicts will only grow more frequent as the global population gets concentrated in small areas. And as long as America remains the pre-eminent global power, our troops will go where conflict is. Understanding what global terrorism is, and how the United States intends to respond to it, is going to become increasingly important in the next few years.