Monday, 15 June 2009

Piracy at Sea III

The international commercial system is sick. In medicine, a physician would ideally treat the patient by surgically removing the tumour or eradicating the cause of the disease - failing that, he would treat the symptoms in the hope that the patient will eventually recover. Or he could do a mixture of any of those things. The commercial world has opted for a symptomatic treatment policy in the adventurous quest for combating piracy at sea. It naively believes that it can treat the symptoms of this commercial infection by merely sending more military ships to the coast off Somalia. But such a move is clearly bound to fail. In plumbing, you don't fix a leak by bucketing it in a cup, emptying it, and robotically starting the process all over again. You don't need to be an expert in plumbing to know that in such circumstances what you really ought to do is fix the pipe. What the international community has failed to recognise is that the problem cannot be doctored via sporadic military missions - the remedy does not lie in use of force, but in the use of political reform. Thus, the only way of preventing piracy at sea (at least off the coast of Somalia) is by re-visiting the political, social and economic (frail) architecture of the country. Only by re-engineering its political infrastructure, providing a viable economic direction and developing a stable and reliable social network for its people will Somalia be able to secure its borders and territorial waters. But it cannot do it alone. Maybe the international community can't see the forest for the trees. Or perhaps it can, and is constrained by a political timidity that will only exarcebate an issue that will never sail away, no matter how many military vessels are sent. C'est dommage, but I think that the pirates are here to stay.

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