Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Avenue To Peace Runs Through...Piracy?


Right, I know I don't go off into the political side of things that often, but bear with me on this one.

Russia. The Ukraine. China. America. Iran.

What do all of these nations have in common?

The answer: as of today, all of them have dispatched warships to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia. Some to interdict pirates, some merely to protect their own interests. The interesting issue in all of this is that most of these nations are not exceptionally fond of each other. Russia and the Ukraine are having problems. America and Iran have not had a friendly relationship since 1979. And China? The US political machine wants everyone to believe that they are the new Red Menace. Makes for good military sales figures, but not much else from a logical standpoint. But I digress.

Normally, when potentially belligerent nations are operating military hardware in close proximity to one another, bad things can happen. There is the potential for misidentification of intentions and an outbreak of hostilities. Which, plainly, is not really good for anyone.

That's why the issue of piracy off the coast of Somalia represents a very interesting political avenue that should be exploited by the US government. This is an opportunity to reach out to all parties involved and establish a joint working group for combating the piracy issue. This may in turn help to break down some barriers in dealing with nations like Iran or Russia. A common goal can often be a good stepping stone to further cooperation and potentially improved relations down the line.

Sending a few warships into the Indian Ocean to eradicate pirate vessels is not going to result in the establishment of an American embassy in Tehran or the elimination of Russian opposition to all things NATO or missile defense. But in the long term establishing a good working relationship in this issue with the nations involved could at the very least break the ice and open doors previously locked should the need arise for further military or diplomatic dealings in the future. And if taking out a few pirate ships attacking Iranian cargo vessels or harassing Russian freighters means we are on the road to better relations with those nations, it would be in the best interests of the US government to open its arms to those nations in the spirit of joint cooperation.

Besides, five nations working together to obliterate pirate boats and shore positions would surely be far more effective than each nation plowing across the sea lanes looking for trouble on their own.


Anonymous said...

India too has sent its warships to safe gaurd its SLOCs. Indian Navy has repelled two attacks and caught a No of pirates. Now they don't know how to prosecute them!
Kindly analyse why this sudden interest in Gulf of Aden? The USA and China to ensure domination of Arabian Sea. Russia to counter them and Ukraine to counter Russia. Is piracy really affecting their revenue so much? Why was it not affecting them untill now? Who is buying pirated oil? Who is paying ransom for hijacked private vessels? The piracy problem is acute in Malacca Straits too but no one seems to notice it although more than 90% of the traffic goes through it .The problems along the coast of Somalia seem deeper than finding peace through anti-piracy perations.

Anonymous said...


Piracy in the Malacca Strait has been all but eradicated, due to consistent and excellent efforts by the littoral states (as well as international efforts). The Gulf of Aden is an entirely different story, and the rampant piracy and detoriated internal situation of Somalia deserve the world's attention and strong international cooperation. I commend all countries willing to provide support to this problem, whatever their underlying motivations are.


Mr. O'Connor,

Well said about international cooperation! Without that, we would set ourselve up for some dangerous times.


Anonymous said...

Gusihin / Guishin / Guixin
I do appreciate the cooperation between countries but while analysing any subject all facets should be considered. It was only a request, to provoke thoughts and make the discussion more interesting.
Why is China delaying its decision on the Thousand Ship Navy? Who will head such a Navy?
Will USA ever allow any other country vessel / aircraft come near its fleets in high seas let alone the question of going near their mothership?
Every country safegaurds its own national interests which motivates them to take certain actions which do not always remain underlying.
Well, I for one would like to see all countries cooperate and bring peace to the world and humanity at large.