A lot has been said about how Somali pirates on tiny single-engine outboard skiffs could continue to overtake huge cargo ships like the US-flagged Maersk Alabama. The tiny skiff vs. the huge cargo ship is a pure example of power versus force. For 5 days Capt. Richard Phillips was held hostage bobbing in the Indian Ocean on a lifeboat by the pirates. Even with the might of the USS Bainbridge, with enough force and fire power to take out whole cities, the Somali pirates held the power. The power paradigm only shifted after U.S. Navy snipers fatally shot the three pirates. So ended the stand off but what do we stand to learn from all of this?
Will size and force win in patrolling the shipping lanes in the vast million-square-miles Indian Ocean from the Gulf of Aden to the Strait of Malacca? How many sharp shooters will you need poised to take out this unrelenting desperate group? Or will the pirates with their ratty low tech skiffs packed with AK-47's, assault riffles, rocket-propelled grenades, ladders, and grappling hooks continue to rule the oceans and hold the power?
For any one with eyes wide open there is a root pattern going on here globally. Young males who have been brought up in an atmosphere of failed states, violence, a feeling of powerlessness, no hope for the future, and who have no anticipation about living very long, become fearless. This is their power. They are usually heavily armed, may be on some form of narcotic, and live in the cross hairs of constant risk and desperation.
Look around and you see them off the coast of Somalia, in Hamas, in Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, in Palestine, Afghanistan, Africa, Pakistan, India, in Mexican drug cartels, in gangs on the streets of LA, and in jails across the United States.
When the subject comes up of how to handle these rogue groups and gangs you will hear phrases like just blow them up, obliterate them, wipe them out, kill them all, and other declarations of force and bravado. This knee jerk reaction is a global failure that leaves the question still unanswered as to what can be done to change this. In many cultures around the world, there exists a far-too-frequent view in the socialization of boy-children that aggressiveness, violence, and force are an acceptable means of expression. Young men grow up with the expectation of being the dominate heads of the family, with the ability to support the family, and be in control. When they are not able to fulfill this role they feel powerlessness; therein lies the danger. En masse this plight of powerless young males is very destructive, dangerous, and powerful.
Isn't it far wiser to begin to set a course to address the root causes of this? Or are we going to continue to lack the global will, in which case these young male insurgents will continue to try and keep any power they can find. Until we get to the core issues facing disempowered young men around the world, and chose to address them, we will continue to see violence playing out everywhere including the high seas. Goodbye to military force as the answer to snuff out young male insurgents. Hello to the will to get to the root causes of young male insurgents.
Goodbye to the thinking that rogue terror gangs don't affect us. Hello to the understanding that rogue terror gangs have the power to affect us.
Goodbye to seeing young men with guns and no value for life as worthless. Hello to seeing young men with guns and no value for life worth our redemption.