The Conversation

Boko Haram mocks hashtag diplomacy

Further evidence that "hashtag diplomacy" is worse than useless, as the Islamist thugs of Boko Haram release a video mocking the weepy efforts to beg them to release the large number of young women they have abducted:

By "bring back our army," he means "release all the captured Boko Haram fighters you're holding."

"Hashtag diplomacy" provides the illusion of action and caring, for people who are more interested in their own image as noble and concerned human-rights crusaders than actually doing something that would help the victims.  It's moralistic posturing and fashionable activism made even easier by the Internet.  You don't even have to show up at a protest march any more.  At least actual live demonstrations show some degree of effort.  However savage they might be in other respects, give the Boko Haram crew credit for understanding just how unserious this #BringBackOurGirls stuff really was.  

And this mouse-click substitute for old-school activism - which wasn't terribly effective against the likes of the Nigerian Islamists to begin with - is worse than useless, because it makes great powers look weak and impotent.  Boko Haram, on the other hand, gets to have a grand old time tweaking the noses of people who think selfies and Twitter streams are effective weapons against barbarians.  All conflict boils down to a test of will.  Hashtag diplomacy clearly demonstrates a lack of resolve; it's the equivalent of wearing a "Kick Me" sign to a gang fight.  You can bet crews like Boko Haram will get plenty of mileage from using their defiant response as a recruiting tool.  And bad actors who pose far greater threats to American interests are also learning the lesson that Barack Obama has led the world into a post-American era, filled with new opportunities for them.  


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