In May of 2008, I went to the mat looking for some sensible discussion about the US policy in the Horn of Africa and Somalia in particular. There was a lot of noise surrounding my calling Somalia a failed state, which it was and still remains. I would say 'much to the consternation of my opponents on the matter' but it's difficult to see if they were opposing me just for spite or if there was real logic behind their contentions. Perhaps in retrospect, some of those questions might be answered. Cobb remains a fertile field for investigation.
So I have seen the straw that breaks my camel's back in the tragic deaths of Adam, Adam, McKay & Wriggle. So now I'm opening up the can of worms, heading down the rabbit hole and otherwise 'going there'. I need to get some high level understanding of how US policy in the Horn has succeeded or failed in effecting this increase of piracy which now clearly calls for stepped up military action. What has transpired on the ground that has made the sea dangerous, and how bad are we going to let it become?
This article by the Economist is nicely round and informs me about CTF-151 which is the group of military ships working in coalition with EU-sailor-types to have a counter-terror and anti-pirate mission in the area. I've given them props when they've succeeded, knowing that they can do the right thing, but I'm still not convinced that the current ROE has been stepped up appropriate to the increase in the piratical.
There is a general moaning out there, where are the carriers? Libya is coming apart at the seams in what appears to be a much more violent way than we've seen in Egypt and there is no American carrier in the Med. The situation seems to be that there are some five or six thousand 'Westerners' stranded in Libya with no way out. It all gets back to my speculation gathering evidence I want to see that Obama really has no strategic military sense and has politically cowed the Joint Chiefs. So long as Americans are dying only by the sub-dozen, he can keep a lid on things and his press secretary can defer questions. But this just confirms what I've known about Obama for a long time, which is that he only really cares to master the dynamics of domestic affairs, the world be damned.
My position is fairly simple. I am for the US to be the global police of the seas. I am less sanguine about an Internal Third World than I have ever been. This means that I am more pro-global with America as master of premium markets and the rest of the planet producing and consuming the cheaper stuff. That absolutely necessitates free international trade and law and order on the high seas, which I think is best accomplished by the American Navy as strategically envisioned by Thomas PM Barnett. My mind is open on The Horn. But the piracy must stop. Allowing it to fester and grow these past several years is prima fascia evidence of civilization crumbling.
There is no oil involved in the Horn. So to you cynics out there, understand that you too should see this as an opportunity for America to work on principle. Or are you romanced by piracy?