Monday, April 13, 2009

Pirates yo ho ho

We (& Capt. Phillips) were very lucky that everything turned out alright. But it will happen again, & the United States can't assign an entire fleet to protect individual ships sailing alone under our flag only. Arming merchant ships is also an invitation to tragedy. Dealing with Somalian pirates is in no way comparable to dealing with the government of a sovereign state. The pirates can't be negotiated into good behavior nor can they be bombed into submission or conquered by land invasion; the Somalia coastline is too large. Somalia has no government capable of restraining them. Maritime nations have to resolve to collectively protect the shipping lanes for a few years, convoying ships, & in effect starve them out of existence. Pirates could blow up an oil tanker & execute crews to demonstrate their power.

The United States won't solve the problem unilaterally by threatening pirates with missile cruisers & Navy SEAL sharpshooters. The task of the Obama adminstration is to find an international consensus for shared responsibilities, gain cooperation from shipping companies & insurance underwriters, & assemble a multinational fleet to act as a security force. Then the United Nations has to focus on Somalia, which has had no effective central government for two decades & is a place of incalculable suffering.


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