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Monday, April 13, 2009

An Internet meme

An internet meme could be: secular, apolitical pirates. Cited once (1), twice(2), and here as well(3). I mean make no mistake about it; Information Dissemination and USNI are both now capable of carrying a message effectively and framing a narrative, and I do not have a problem with that.. I think the discourse is beneficial. But really putting aside the merits of the arguments I want to look at a few facts: Are Pirates the Problem, or the Solution?

Are Pirates apolitical? I mean do they ask heh.. is that a Republican or a Democrat? Is this a western meme that we carry to the conversation? Or are pirates just clans and tribes, privateers? And does that preclude that piracy could become ideological?

Second Secular? "state of being separate from religion" I mean lets get honest here.. we consider ourselves a secular society, but are we? Can we say with any certainty that when the USN shows up after a botched piracy attempt that these guys don't start praying?

And then finally they became: Somali pirates were 'untrained' teenagers: US.

And then lets not confuse the Al Shabaab or Al-Shabaab (Arabic: الشباب‎, "The Youth"), also known as Ash-Shabaab, Hizbul Shabaab (Arabic, "The Party of Youth") with the teenagers who fired mortars at Donald M. Payne. (note reading this in full gives some idea of the nation building task.)

I mean over 1/2 the country of Somalia is teenagers. (source CIA median age 17.7)

So let me say that if somebody points heavy weapons at you from Somalia despite their political affiliation, religous beliefs, there is a better than 50% chance they are a teenager if not a pirate.

And really all this leads me to believe that the USN doesn't want the task, is uncomfortable with managing expectations, or is simply very pragmatic about how many things the armed forces can do at once.

I opined at USNI and received this in response: Byron Says:
“name me the last time “Americans Won” Not going there; too much room for a tidly little flame war to start. I’ve got my opinion, you’re welcome to yours.

But I think Bryon and Sec Def. Gates has some valid points, What do you consider winning? And I think that is a fair enough question. I felt alittle bad after reading a similat post at Jeff Stein because I'm not slanted to the blame America first crowd, I don't gloat in that observation that there has been little to celebrate. Note I read Jeff daily.. but my post wasn't a dig at USNI. I don't pander either.

As eff-d up as it is.. I think the USN got stuck with this conflict. I know that the conflict was genuinely thrust upon us. But we got our hands full with Pakistan capitulating to Shariah law.. nope not very secular... nor apolitical....

And this isn't going to be easy. But really there has to be some planning along this line and defining the concept of 'winning' against a failed nation of teenagers.. with weapons, illiterate, hopeless.. well that is the way the world is and not as the way we would have it.

But the failed nation state, somalia's of tomorrow seem to be increasing..

I read today:

"This is torture for a debtors' economy. You can survive deflation; you can survive debt; but Irving Fisher taught us in his 1933 treatise 'Debt Deflation causes of Great Depressions' that the two together will eat you alive."

As we look around for international solutions we might realize that we will all hang together or we will all hang alone... and that civilization hangs in the balance.

The grade is steep and the challenges large. And no institution wants to sign up for the task to clean the Augean stables in a single day. Nor be a parent to a nation of teenagers with heavy weapons.. but we need to really ask ourselves when is a line best drawn in the sand?

I'll not trivialize the task.. but I would suggest not creating a meme to trivialize the challenge. The functional core economies of the G9 and G20 have to make sure that the spread of failed nations does not increease. This really means that the response to piracy is as important for Germany and France to ease monetary policy as much as USN vesels to confront on the open seas lawlessness.

Make no mistake about it.. prior assumptions may not be applicable now. Seemingly stable nations could be thrust into chaos in the near future and there is no isolation or insulation in America or the G8 economies.

As we look around for international solutions we might realize that we will all hang together or we will all hang alone... and that civilization hangs in the balance. The correct Meme is that piracy is unacceptable, the alternative is not a promising future and does not make the first steps needed for the challenge.

And in summation, no one institution can do it alone.

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