Last week, I had the opportunity to interview the Director of UNDP in Nigeria, Dr. Mourtada Deme. This was the first interview I have conducted for my paper, with many more scheduled for the next few weeks. This interview was unique, however, in that, Dr. Deme is a native Nigerian who lived in the United States for many years and now works back in Nigeria. I did not know what to expect when I first called him from my professor’s small and disheveled office, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I was surprised not only by Dr. Deme’s candid demeanor, but also his answers to my questions regarding U.S. involvement in Nigeria. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a native Nigerian who also spent time in the United States. I was surprised in that his attitude was surprisingly in favor of increased U.S. involvement in Nigeria. He noted that many of his UNDP missions have been delayed or cancelled due to increasing violence in Nigeria. If anything he affirmed my belief in the security development nexus, and that physical security must exist before developmental programs can be implemented.
Although I am far from a bleeding heart liberal, writing this paper has increased my belief in U.S. involvement in conflict zones overseas. While I do not advocate the United States play world police, or become involved in every humanitarian crisis around the globe, I have found myself advocating for increased U.S. involvement in certain foreign areas when there is a mutual interest between the United States and the state in question. This view, of course, goes strongly against the opinions of many of my peers and the larger policy debate as a whole, given the current fiscal environment. Despite the current budget environment and a call for decreased U.S. presence internationally, I have found myself advocating for increased U.S. involvement in certain cases due to my research and work on this paper.