Piracy, International Danger and Confusion on the High Seas

Well, if the attempt to stop Somali pirating wasn’t so potentially risky and intrinsically convoluted, it might even be funny. (Did Gilbert and Sullivan touch on this? Nah…)

Problem one – Conflict within the ranks of the crowd that’s supposed to stop the piracy: Right now there are 18 countries trying to stop the Somali pirates that plunder the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden. Those countries are:

  • U.S.
  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • India
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • China
  • U.K.
  • Denmark
  • Malaysia
  • Netherlands
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Russia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Turkey

Of those 18 countries, it’s no great secret that several aren’t exactly crazy about each other. Just consider the U.S.’ hassles with Iran, China, and Russia.
Problem two – Each of the 18 countries has a different approach as to how to handle those pirates. It’s probably a pretty safe bet that China or Saudi Arabia would be a bit less dainty than Germany was when they caught a few of the bad guys…

The German government in Berlin later ordered the Somali pirates released because they were not caught while harassing German interests, according to BBC.

The very bottom line is that there are some nasty people off the coast of Somalia and beyond, and a squabbling, cantankerous, hodge-podge posse trying to rein them in. Let’s just hope that the world hasn’t inadvertently constituted a gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

Alan Speakman

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2 Responses to Piracy, International Danger and Confusion on the High Seas

  1. arturoafc54 says:

    As one who has participated in many such international efforts, I found them always to be professionally managed by careful professionals. Where you gained your experience I do not know….

    John E. Carey

  2. John–What I was referring to in particular are countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China. I’m by no means knocking the American military. In fact, just the opposite, I’m a huge supporter of it.

    Putting aside the non-issue of the American military, I worry about countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran and their views on folks like female Naval offices and the like.

    As for hands-on experience, I have none. However, it doesn’t take a great diplomatic sage to see that we’re trying to mix oil and water, and that may not work out so well; just like it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see the images of icicles hanging off the shuttle Challenger and worry that the authorities might have been messing with bad mojo.

    I’d be very interested to hear if you’ve worked in an actual multi-national military effort this diverse. If so, what was it like?

    Thanks for your comment.

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