Piracy: Another fruit of US over-stretch

Many indeed are the fruits, on the international scene, of the two developments that:

    1. First of all, the US claimed the right to dominate all the world’s major sea-lanes, with the assurance that by doing so it would assure the safety of everyone’s peaceful commercial sea-traffic, and then
    2. The naval forces of the US and its allies became hopelessly over-stretched as they found themselves unable to disentangle from the mission of maintaining and protecting the US’s long and vulnerable military supply lines into Iraq and Afghanistan.

And thus, in recent years, we’ve seen a quite unexpected rise in piracy in several key sea-lanes… including most particularly those off the long and curvy coast of Somalia, a country where mishandled US interventions, a US-spurred Ethiopian invasion, and other factors have combined to bring about the chronic and abject collapse of central state institutions.
Today, Der Spiegel has a fascinating insider’s account of how one recent act of off-Somalia piracy progressed– and how it was finally resolved through a pay-off of around $1.1 million.
Reporters Udo Ludwig and Holger Stark base their account on interviews with the ship’s German owner. They write that finaly, after some weeks of tough negotiation,

    On Thursday morning of last week, two boots were moored to the Beluga freighter, the hijackers’ speedboat on one side and the tugboat [sent by the shipowner, carrying the ransom money] from Mombasa on the other. A doctor examined the crew and the pirates counted the money. Martin, the head of the security firm, recognized the pirates. He had handed over a similar sum of money a few weeks earlier to secure the release of the German ship “Lehmann Timber.” The pirates divided up the money and placed it into 18 bags, presumably to pay 18 different clans. Then they left the ship, and the “BBC Trinidad” was allowed continue its voyage to Muscat.

So that incident was resolved safely, thank goodness, though many other acts of piracy around the world are not.
Wouldn’t it be great if the Somali people could reach an internal political agreement that would allow them to constitute an accepted and non-corrupt national government capable of providing decent basic services to the citizens… including public security both on the land and at sea? Then Somali fishermen could fish in safety; Somalia traders and shipowners could ply sea-based trade in safety. And, oh yes, international shipping could have its safety assured by the Somali and other coastal governments…
The military arrogance displayed by the US in recent decades around the world, and the serious overstretch that has resulted– along with the state failure that has been the result of US policies in so many countries: All these phenomena have had real and wrenchingly difficult consequences for people around the world, and disproportionately for the world’s most vulnerable and politically marginalized peoples.
The world desperately needs an alternative.