27 January, 2010

Side Step...The Mists of History

I found it very fitting that inspiration struck me for a new Side Step while I was at my family cabin, as far technology as I get. History holds many lessons for all of us. Especially, as I have learned, in the grand scheme of it all.
Recently I pondered the plight of crews captured by Somali pirates. The incident that brought this to the forefront of my thoughts concerned a Greek vessel. I forget the exact number of months, but it was quite a long time the crew was held captive. Their incarceration only ended upon the payment of a huge sum of cash.
I remembered that history carried a similar scenario. Over 200 years previous, American merchantmen began plying the waves. Upon entering the Mediterranean they encountered the ships of the Barbary States. America quickly fell into the European practise of paying for the privilege of sailing in the region and suffering the occasional merchant vessel being captured.
After some years, not to mention more attacks from the Barbary pirates, the Americans opted to forsake the European policy of appeasement. Initially, the American counterstrike failed miserably, with one American warship being captured. In the end, as the Americans learned, the counterstrike worked, and the pirates were soundly defeated.
While some things have changed in the over 200 years hence, the situations bear some similarities.
The pirates of old were loosely backed by four nations. Our modern day pirates are loosely backed by one nation, and possibly other interested parties. Both groups of pirates practise their trade for essentially the same reason: Plunder and money. Both groups acquire the money through the plunder of the cargo and ransom of ships and their crews. Both groups of pirates represent a menace to the commerce within their sphere of influence.
The question standing out in my mind, and the one I pose to you:

Why are we letting the pirates of the modern day continue with their actions?

I know their have been some small scale military actions against these pirates. As a whole though, it seems we are still letting them be a menace.

I entreat you to read up on the pirates of today, and the pirates of yesterday in the Barbary States. Then ponder my question and draw your own answer.

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