I still can’t get over the fact that we are dealing with friggin’ pirates in 2009.
This is a 15th century crime, why are we once again having to deal with it?
There are a few reasons that are driving the rise in piracy. First, most of Africa is a steaming pile of crap, so people there are desperate. Add to that the fact that we’re completely paralyzed at the thought of our military actually killing anyone. And finally, we have all of these merchant ships going around the horn of Africa and none of them carry any guns on them. Why? Because if they did, they’d have to be inspected at every port they enter and it would be such a tremendous pain in the butt the merchant marines would prefer to be killed by pirates.
I see two possible solutions for this problem.
We could stop sending ships to where the pirates are. They pretty much only have access to boats they’ve constructed out of flotsam and jetsam anyhow, so chances are they won’t be going hundreds of miles to attack a ship. Apparently that shipping lane is rather important to world commerce, though, so that option seems unlikely. The most interesting/ironic part of this latest pirate attack was the ship they hijacked was bound for Somalia loaded with food for them. Duh.
Option two is we actually grow a pair and start sinking anything pirate-related that we see. Yes, hostages might get hurt or killed, but it will stop piracy. If the pirates STOP getting paid off by everybody and start getting killed anytime they try it, they will definitely think twice. It worked in 1600, and I’m guessing it will still work now. They’re basically sea-terrorists. You can’t negotiate with them unless you want to encourage more of the same behavior.
It would of course be nice if merchant ships all started carrying armed security forces, but unfortunately that would require massive changes to International laws and treaties that I’m pretty sure won’t ever be happening, particularly as long as there are wusscake countries like Germany out there. The Germans have gone from being one of the most ruthless countries in history to being a giant bag of sissy.
Overcompensation? You betcha.
I personally prefer combining both methods – avoiding pirate waters but also happily sinking any pirate vessels that wander out too far. Whatever we do, it should not include paying them off. THAT approach hasn’t really panned out the past year, has it?!