Friday, February 1, 2013

2/1/2013 Namazu Addresses the English Speaking World Part 4


PART 4 Failed States , Piracy, and Related Criminal Activity



Greetings English speaking Bipeds. Today I wish to speak to you about  "Struggling States",and how they descend into "Failed States" and who comes into the territory after failure. Indeed some of the unrepentant miscreants we will discuss today usually come in before a Struggling State becomes a Failed State and help insure the nation's descent into failure. Where you have a "Failed State" like Somalia near a busy shipping lane you get piracy. History tells us you may even evolve a virtual Pirate State. In the early days of the American Republic the U.S. Navy had to deal with the Barbary Pirates. The Barbary Pirates operated along the Coast of North Africa and often much farther afield even to the British Isles and Iceland on a few occasions. Their strong holds were the ports of Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers. Tunis and Tripoli were under the sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire. It was not unusual for the Ottoman Emperor to send trained troops into the area in support of the pirate captains. 

 One of the main trade items of the Barbary Pirates was Christian Slaves and captives for ransom. It was quite possible given the status of the harboring pirate ports as virtual city states to exchange diplomatic agents and this greatly facilitated the collection of ransoms. Another product of the Barbary "States" was a "protection" racket. For a price called "tribute" the pirates would allow the ships of tribute paying nations access to the North African Coast and virtual immunity from attack. Morocco, one of the Barbary States was actually the first foreign power to formally recognize the United States. Tunis, Tripoli, and Algiers could be accessed at the consular level for ransom, tribute, or arranged passage matters or one could go through the King of Morocco or The Ottoman empire for communications at the ambassadorial level. These were truly Pirate States within Thug State federations or empires.

 Now think about Somalia today. The pirates have a safe haven, lawyers , and bankers on call. There are safe and secure ways of establishing contact and discussing ransom demands. The original pirate depredations were by local fishermen bereft of a government and Coast Guard attempting to protect their own fishing grounds. They got away with a few jobs and then the organizers began to show up. Recently we carried in these pages the story of one Somali pirate "admiral" who recently retired peacefully. Really, Pirate pensions, and you think a pirate state can't emerge in the 21st century?The Ottoman Emperor didn't hesitate to refer to his leading pirate leaders as "Admiral". Piracy emerged in Somalia as it became a failed state. Piracy has emerged as big business and if it survives the present attempts at suppression Somalia may actually start to reemerge as a pirate state. 

 Actually right now piracy is down in terms of numbers of ships taken but the Western world is tiring of the effort. Chasing pirates on stolen mother ships and $1,000 Panga boats with multi billion dollar war ships is uneconomic to say the least. It is a bit like shooting gnats with an elephant gun.  The effort has been going on for years with no end to the mission in sight. Pirates with no naval training supported by organizations that can only arise in failed and failing states are tying up major naval tasks forces of  America, the EU, NATO, and Australia with occasional contributions from China, Japan, and fairly regular participation and support from India. However for China their typical two to three ship contribution provides power projection mission training while not providing the Western Powers much real relief from the operational tempo. In short if China were to break out into a shooting spree to take the regions they covet, piracy in the Indian Ocean ,and Arabian Sea works for them tying up naval units that might otherwise be used to support Japan and the Philippines. 

 English speaking bipeds lend me your ears! Here is a truth that you must understand. All manner of maritime disorder works for the Thug States, even when they appear to be participating in the suppression of a particular activity in a particular place.  To form a more effective union among the English speaking peoples America and Great Britain must start to value and trust more the evolving members of the community of English speaking nations and stop always breezing in and taking charge. In the case of Somali piracy there is a nation with a common border with Somalia, that has consistently tried to help out. In a sea of Islam this nation is 83% Christen, English is one of two official languages and is generally spoken by the government officials. The nation has about 43 different language groups living within it, so English is spreading as a useful tool of unity. This nation had a rocky colonial experience and some tough times after independence, but has evolved into a constitutional democracy with an independent and competent judiciary. This nation is Kenya and frankly they have far more in common culturally with the English speaking world than with some of their neighbors. The heads of government of  Great Britain, Australia, and the United States could have regular telephone consultations with the President of Kenya with out need of  interpreters.  Have the big but distant English speaking powers ever simply asked Kenya what they would like to do to solve the piracy problem next door? Kenya  did the best that they could in providing fair, just , and respected trial courts  for captured pirates reducing the  "catch and release factor". Unfortunately what Kenya doesn't have is a correctional system that could accommodate their own nationals convicted of crimes and an ever increasing load of pirates, so they had to partially close the judicial spigot. Perhaps being the pirate tribunal of choice was not the role that Kenya would have chosen for itself. What does Kenya think of leaving the pirate sanctuaries ashore in tact? Captain Woods Rogers didn't clear the Caribbean of pirates by sitting in Nassau and allowing the pirates to maintain strong holds on various islands. Pirates raided towns and the British marines raided pirate support centers. Kenya has a very competent army and could reach the pirate strong holds over land. But the question is what does Kenya want to do? If need be our shipping can avoid the area at considerable cost. Kenya's shipping can not avoid the area. Kenya has the problem for as long as it lasts.

 There is a powerful navy belonging to the World's largest democracy in the region as well. India has a stake in the suppression of piracy and has a great deal of naval competency and no small amount of naval assets. While "non aligned", India has English as a useful common language in a multi- lingual nation, and it is an important official language. Once again the larger English speaking naval powers are able to confer with India at all levels from the heads of government to naval officer to naval officer , even petty officer to petty officer without interpreters for the most part. What if the community  backed up, and asked India and Kenya to confer on how they would deal with the regional piracy problem together if they had to go it alone, then respond to their call for assistance from the larger but more distant English speaking powers?

 On the flight deck of American aircraft carriers there is an unusual organization that works very well. A nineteenth century English speaking naval officer would be in a state of shock seeing it work. On the flight deck there is a rank structure but as the process of getting a plane out of the hanger bay and onto the deck progresses to the launch there are hand offs of the aircraft from one team of plane handlers and launch signalmen and supervisors to another. The hand off is not always from senior to junior in rank, sometimes its reversed and there is one moment when the entire "ballet in steel" comes to a stop and everyone regardless of rank gathers around what is often one of the most junior sailors for leadership. When something goes wrong like a loose part rolling around the flight deck, or a lost part that can cause damage the first crew member to see and perceive the danger gives a single command and everyone converges around this person in silence to hear what the problem is and his or her thoughts on the cure. In these situations for at least a few minutes Chief Petty Officers and Lieutenant Commanders pay careful attention to the temporary leadership of someone who often turns out to be a teen aged seaman apprentice.  

 Some times in extremely complex situations serial leadership works and most often when things go extremely wrong the serial exercise of leadership works in reverse with the most junior , being closest to the problem starting the show. This is the type of naval union the English speaking world needs to grow, one where the member closest to the problem is sought out first and listened to and supported most intently. English speaking bipeds, if American, British, and Indian sailors can do this on a flight deck why can't your leaders do it in naval commands and national governments?

 Where might we be now if half the money we spent on chasing panga boats with destroyers and cruisers were spent on measures that had major inputs from Kenya and India, the English speaking nations closest to the problem. Wouldn't such an institutional attitude help draw nations like Kenya and India into deeper association and identity with the English speaking world? These are nations you have a shared history with even if it has some dark chapters. These are nations that are reasonable and societies with moral and ethical values that are similar to those of the more commonly thought of former British colonies. These are nations on the move that will become important regional powers. But only if you respect that, can you expect them to move closer to the English speaking community where the efforts of everyone are needed to resist the rising tide of sea based anarchy and thuggery over taking the Earth.  

 Piracy isn't the only plague of criminal activity that comes out of failed, failing, and deeply challenged states. Narco and human traffickers plague the Gulf of Mexico assaulting the U.S.Border. During the first Iraq war the U.S. Navy asked for the services of the Coast Guard's Island Class (125ft) patrol boats. For the first time in history the U.S.Coast Guard did not respond as asked by the Navy to a call to arms. The Congress balked and didn't want to pull these patrol boats off the Gulf of Mexico drug line. Narco traffickers denied the U.S. Navy sister service support just by constantly pursuing their trade. Saddam Hussain couldn't have hired better help for himself but he didn't have to. Seaborne narco and human traffickers aren't the only drain on Coast Guard resources on the Southern Border. We have carried the story in these pages of the Mexican drug cartels' use of the navigable portions of the Rio Grande and the unanswered request of Texas for a "persistent Coast Guard presence" on the Rio Grande. No such presence has responded. Texas, finally at great expense and at some considerable risk of an international incident, launched its own "navy" on the Rio Grande, again a story covered in these pages.

 In the High Arctic the President and the Commandant of the Coast Guard have called for a persistent Coast Guard presence on the Arctic Ocean. So far we can lump that item of wishful thinking under "unfunded mandates". Wake up America! Your Navy and Coast Guard are over stressed and too small for what must be done. Naval/Coast Guard build up must be a budget priority over and above foreign aid, support of PBS, other favorite programs of special interests. You are a nation that must import by sea 66 of 77 strategic materials. You must move to a coherent national maritime policy. Wake up English speaking nations, you are no longer under an invincible American naval umbrella, you too must rebuild your navies and Coast Guards into right sized organizations and the most economic way is to work together to build a combined force that all members may rely on. We have barely touched these last few days on the naval threats the English speaking democracies and their allies face. Your naval forces are dying a death of a thousand cuts, the worst of which are being cut by your own elected officials who have lost sight of the English speaking peoples as a seafaring and sea dependent community.  Arise! Build ships! Pull together English speaking bipeds or each of your nations will fall into ruin serially and alone. Victory can be yours if you pull together. The thug states have only a confederacy of self serving opportunists. You have a coherent community of nations, some of the most remarkable on Earth. The Thug states have to rely on coincidental cooperation or coerced cooperation. You the English speaking bipeds have shown a willingness in the past to actually sacrifice for each other. Don't lose that, formalize it in every way that you can.



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