Just a quick comment on the killing of three of the four Somali criminals holding US ship captain Richard Phillips.
The killing is dangerous and is bound to result in an increase in violence against foreign sailors in the region – but what of it? It’s already a dangerous situation and it’s only getting worse. The solution is two-pronged, and this might just be the spark to get things going. First and foremost, we have to help clean up the civil war in Somalia – the primary cause of the lawlessness offshore. This will take time and will not be accomplished by a single event, but a single event might provide the focus needed to support an more focused international effort on the ground.
Secondly, the threat of increased violence will result in a more active response by NATO, the US, and maybe even the UN. Arming and/or escorting merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden and along the East African coast is the only interim mitigation measure available on the water right now. The US and NATO are sure to respond with some sort of shipping plan. It won’t solve the problem, but it will make merchant ships harder to hit and bring some measure of policing to a region long short of it.
Finally, I just have to say that Barack Obama handled the situation so well it must be driving the wingnuts bonkers. First, he resisted grandstanding during the crisis, something I can’t imagine Bush doing. It showed class, calm, and confidence. In addition, by giving authority to the commanders in the field to handle the situation, he showed that he trusts those around him to make decisions and do their jobs, and that he will not micromanage the situation to the level the point of interference.
It must be quite a change to go from working under W to a guy with self-confidence and respect. It must be driving the wingnuts absolutely batshit.
I might actually sit and watch me some Glenn Beck this week to bathe in the freakshower.