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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Obama tackles the piracy problem

    Landlubbers not keeping up with the news and catching tidbits of recent headlines may have been surprised to see piracy on the news radar. For those thinking that the piracy trend ended with “”Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End””, it appears that especially since March, African marauders have been hijacking vulnerable commercial sea vessels off the coast of Somalia. The consequences have included the deterioration of trade through the Suez Canal, leading many realists and Iran to speculate that the swashbucklers are, in fact, Zionists.

    Last week, Somali pirates hijacked an American cargo ship that heroically retook the freighter but had its captain taken hostage. Although President Barack Obama has not gone as far as some right-wing commentators who connect Captain Hook to Osama bin Laden, he has maintained a hawkish stance, using the inflammatory term “”criminal”” and stating that America is “”resolved to halt the rise of piracy.””

    Clearly, Obama’s aggressive rhetoric only revealed America’s insincerity in its diplomatic overtures. These rogues attempted to ransom Captain Phillips for $2 million, but after five days Navy SEAL snipers intervened, shooting three of the corsairs. True, our government showed some restraint in not sending cruise missiles to annihilate what were reported to be glorified, sea-faring inner tubes, but the disproportionate and unilateral response flaunted America’s supremacy over the Seven Seas. This is in stark contrast to Obama’s recent appearance in Europe, where he was seen charismatically stepping on America to illustrate how savvy he really is. Yet Obama still has much to do to restore America’s image in the wake of Bush’s disastrously out-of-vogue presidency.

    Besides, this annoying piracy issue is just distracting our president from more important matters such as striving for a European unemployment rate more devastating to productivity than a World of WarCraft subscription. The Obamanator now has to deal with picaroons on top of Iraq, Afghanistan and domestic issues. Obama’s purpose is too crucial to let this get in the way, and getting bogged down in a naval quagmire is precisely the sort of military mistake Obama has no room to make. Furthermore, pirates cannot be defeated in a futile “”War on Piracy””; piracy is a tactic, not an enemy. How do you declare war on an idea?

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced earlier: “”We consider it a very serious matter … Piracy may be a centuries-old crime, but we are working to bring an appropriate twenty-first century response.”” This is precisely the problem, even though pirates are traditionally considered to be anathema to civilization. Rather than a “”twenty-first century response,”” Obama should adopt a response that falls in line with his other hopeful, changing strategies: throw exorbitant amounts of cash at the problem. After all, Obama would have a tough time running General Motors and simultaneously policing piracy. The commander in chief should be tolerant of privateer culture’s heritage of democratic captain elections. Akin to expecting Iran to give up beheading homosexuals, Obama is using firepower over flower power and expecting marauders to give up their booty.

    Slashing ballistic defense in Eastern Europe, Hillary gave Russia a reset button not dissimilar to the one she gave Bill after the Lewinsky scandal. When it comes to Iran, the administration underestimates its nuclear capabilities when even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is vaunting the Persian uranium enrichment advancements. These are all excellent diplomatic efforts, but they are not enough. Plus they are bound to fail without the United Nations. Obama must also reach his hand out to peace-loving peoples such as the Hamas mutineers and the pirates. The arrogant, warmongering America should not invent yet another evil villain; it must forgo the cutlass and offer the impoverished community pieces of eight, rum, modern prosthetics, and surplus Chinese Democracy albums.

    In addition, I would highly encourage the president to appoint a special envoy who would engage in pointless peace talks, a citizen of the world who is well-known and unquestionably lacks testicular fortitude. Orlando Bloom is the obvious choice. If the administration removes its hegemonic eye patch and extends the olive branch to the Jolly Roger, it can get back to its primary purpose of accumulating trillions of tax dollars for the Star Wars-inspired “”Life Star”” – the embryonic stem cell-fueled, cosmic disco ball that will provide galactic health care.

    Daniel Greenberg is a political science junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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