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Where’s the Carrot?

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Great credit is due (again) to Midshipman Jeff Withington over at the USNI blog. It appears that people are still learning things over at the Boat School, and that’s a comfort. His post spurred me to make the following:

buffalojack Says:

Jeffrey, great post.

I couldn’t help but think of an article I read in the UK’s Guardian interviewing a Somali Pirate. In that country, the pirates are considered heroes. The fact that there is nothing else to idolize is probably a forcing function to that end.

An interesting (and rather perverse) hypothetical thought is that as the piracy problem escalates militarily, it could have an unintended effect of galvanizing the Somali population. Piracy is their only business, the only thing that they can have pride in.

I’m all for the use of force in the context of piracy, but without any alternative to continuing in that line of work, it could become a hollow cycle of violence. How can we send the message that this behavior is unacceptable and that they should value other means of income and notoriety? The DoD’s role is pretty clear to me, but how do we leverage State and other “soft power” means to come to a final resolution to this problem?

So called “soft power” seems to be a major plank in the President’s foreign policy platform. That leads me to the conclusion that a mature form of piracy policy (which is probably being worked on feverishly at this moment) will include a military component as well as a “soft” component.

What does that soft component look like? How will NATO and the UN be involved? Will they? Galrahn published a great post hinting at the huge potential for soft power advances as law-abiding nations may potentially unite to work for our collective benefit. There are a lot of questions and a lot of potential avenues for the “soft” component of the overall strategy. Will we see a soft component period and how will that interact with our military policy, which seems to be crystallizing further and further? This is a great opportunity for a DC policy wonk to cut their teeth.

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Written by buffalojack

April 13, 2009 at 3:34 am

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