There is a piece in tomorrow’s NY TIMES comparing the S/V Quest incident with Yusuf Karamanli’s showdown with President Jefferson. It goes on to quote sources not authorized to talk to the media, saying that tactics may escalate out there, even though collateral damage could be too high and are not a good substitute of nation building in Somalia.
The frustrating thing about all of this is hearing yet again that something is going to change, and not seeing it. For years, since I began the novel, much of the argument Gentleman’s piece move towards is more self evident than the truths Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence. And yet, nothing is done, either constructively or out of terrified reaction. It’s as though Somalia is being left to fester, with no one putting a hand on the line and heaving as they should to get it straightened out.
Building a stable state may be a frustratingly long drawn-out process, but it’s still better than carpet bombing the coast with B-52 strikes followed up with Tomahawk missiles, which may be the only effective short term plan the US has for disrupting piracy for a few weeks. And yes, we are talking loss of life, hostages and civilians in numbers greater than pirate casualties, not to mention the moral questions of using so much firepower against at best irregular forces.
But both options are far better than the current one, to just do the bare minimum, close to nothing. With no impetus for change, a whole generation on the seas may know nothing but crime, and create a cycle of violence and diminishing returns that will leave them unable to find a place in the world at large. For all the other high prices incurred by piracy, the cost of human potential subsumed by going on the account without any other option must surely be the highest.
Unfortunately, any potential “game changer” referred to in the TIMES piece will likely be just more games, leaving the serious necessary work undone…