The Pirate Issue
Midshipman Jeffery Withington makes an astute analysis of the shift in tactics that Somali Pirates have made in recent weeks over at the Naval Institute Blog. He asks the question “They’ve changed it up…will we?”
Having some experience with a similar problem…narcotics smuggling, I will say that pirates, like drug smugglers, aren’t stupid. They will continually adapt their tactics and areas of operation to avoid Naval involvement. Due to the geaographic area involved and the number of ships we can allocate, there will always be areas where our influence is absent. Eagle1 mentions in another post that “convoys work.” I agree. However, we need to ask what the desired end state is…is the desired end state continual convoys through the region? Is a requirement that ties up a certain amount of an already shrunken fleet the wisest course of action?
The basic truth is that the problem will not go away until we have boots on Somali turf. It was the same for the Barbary Pirates two hundred years ago. As a recent article on Somalia in Foreign Policy magazine indicates, Somalia is not a failed state – it is no state…and it’s been that way for twenty years. This is a prime example of how a lack of effective government creates security problems that have the potential to affect all peaceful nations, and there is no better case for international intervention than Somalia.
However, with several years of unpopular land wars, I doubt that anywhere near the necessary amount of political will exists to do the job.