Going on the Account: Answers Ashore?

News from Nairobi concerns a statement from Secretary of State Clinton pledging America’s support for Somalia’s interum government.  The stated reason for doing this is to prevent Somalia from becoming a terrorist haven, a la Afghanistan.

The unstated reason is, of course, to stop Somalia from being a pirate haven, a la Tortuga.

The one sure way to keep the shipping lanes open around the Horn of Africa is to prevent the pirates from leaving their bases to begin with.  And with a stable authority on shore, so goes the theory, the pirates will either have less reason to go forth or be kept on shore by good government.

 

Oh yeah, right…

Sadly, there’s a few things working against this assumption:

1) Greed: There’s no way you can ask any of these modern buccaneers to stay home and accept a 99.5% cut in income without any reinforcing elements, like a true desire to see a modern state work.  Which is unlikely thanks to…

2) Bad memories:  The last time we were there for UNOSOM I we ended up not bringing much to the Somalis, and they weren’t all that happy with our being there to try and help.  (Anyone else remember BLACK HAWK DOWN?)  Whatever help we can provide is going to have to be delivered with a lot of spin and smiles to get over the bad history.

 

Frankly, anything that has a stated goal of improving the lot of a population at large is worth pursuing.  If the stated purpose is to bring order out of chaos and provide something close to the Four Freedoms to another population, I’m all for that.  (Beats the crud out of an “iron fist” approach to securing an area, for sure.)  And just because the odds are longer than a supertanker doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be tried.

I just wish I wasn’t giving such low chances on success for this effort.  Because we didn’t succeed that well back in the 1990s, it puts the new effort much further behind than anyone should be comfortable with.  As much as I hope for success and an improvement in the lies of the average Somali, I can’t say I’d put the good money on the effort…

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