Word is on the wires today that the People’s Republic of China might be considering a rescue of the De Xin Hai.
Having not been able to keep their assets from being seized, whether through reliance on the navies of the Real Coalition of the Willing or through dolphin intervention, the PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) is now looking to conduct an operation in waters that hasn’t seen that active forces from there since Zheng He sailed his fleets off the coast of Africa.
There’s some concern that this attempted operation might end badly, though anyone with memories of the IDF raid on Entebbe is not going to hold distance against the PLAN. Perhaps the bigger concern is not the price of failure, but of success.
If the Chinese conduct a successful military operation so far away from Asia, it will be something of a coming out party for the country as a world power. Even in this day and age, soft power doesn’t make as much of an impression on others as pure force does. Not scarred enough of an economic powerhouse, the world will likely plotz at the idea that China now has the military might with which to conduct policy.
(Which all said would give the remake of RED DAWN a lot more heft with the audience; so yes, there would be winners here…)
All kidding aside, the one major connection between the Golden Age of Piracy and the Modern Age of Piracy that both share is now apparent: Both had/have the ability to change the math regarding the global balance of power. By the end of the pirate campaigns in the Caribbean, Spanish/Hapsburg dominance was questioned, tested and found lacking in reflection of their inability to handle their New World possessions, and the French and English emerged as stronger powers. American dominance of world affairs might well give way to new players if the Somalis offer a chance for members of the BRIC nations to prove themselves; with both the Russians and the Indians already at sea off East Africa, we could well see some action that would stick in the minds of people the same way the American intervention in World War I did.
And it’s not too late for the Brazilians to join the party…
* Supposedly this should translate into “Ahoy pirates” if the service provided at http://www.worldlingo.com/en/products_services/worldlingo_translator.html is of any value; my apologies if the site is as accurate as the Hungarian phrase book in the Monty Python sketch “The Tobacconist”…