Even before the revelation that would-be Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab picked up training and materials from Al Qaeda in Yemen, the United States had been helping the Yemeni government track and kill terrorists, as well as fighters in its civil wars. Indeed, America has been engaged there for years -- lending assistance with drone aircraft, money and intelligence sharing.
Now that the Obama administration plans to double its monetary assistance to Yemen, the question arises: Will the U.S. military "go to war" there, too? Perhaps not with the full force of an invasion -- but is President Obama likely to significantly escalate U.S. operations in this unstable country on the Arabian peninsula, perhaps even sending troops or advisers to Yemen to deal with Al Qaeda, which, clearly, previous efforts have been unable to squash? Or does our low-key intervention so far offer a new, more politically palatable model for counterterrorism?