Let's Get Them
John Bolton never passes up an opportunity to start another war:
FOX HOST: Ambassador, if you were serving in this administration, would it be your recommendation that they go in to, militarily with air strikes and/or boots on the ground, into these so-called feral cities, where these pirates are taking hold? Should we go in and take those people out, and take their installations out, now, militarily? Is that what you’re suggesting?
BOLTON: Yes. … Unless we go in and really end this problem once and for all, we will simply see it grow over time.
This is the same John Bolton, of course, who opposed the Clinton Administration efforts to prevent a failed state in Somalia.
Bolton isn't completely wrong - the crisis in Somalia absolutely feeds piracy. But a full-scale ground invasion that would FURTHER destabilize the area, if that's possible, clearly won't solve the problem. Unfortunately, I don't think the Administration has the political will to do what's necessary. Yes, they're talking about attacking pirate bases and aiding the Somali government both with economic development support and the kind of funding to go after the problem themselves, and they appear mindful of the need to get local support before doing anything. However there's nothing resembling a comprehensive solution, which would have to include a political accommodation that would be acceptable to a broad consensus of the Somali people, which probably means including the ICU. I'm not saying that would be at all easy to get, but there doesn't seem to be any attempt to try. Which turns the whole situation into a discussion about appropriate levels of military force.
In a related development, Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) saw his plane out of Mogadishu fired upon, allegedly in retaliation for the pirate deaths. Obviously, letting the piracy problems grow to this level means that such attacks are inevitable, but the significant work of nation-building, not nation-destroying, must be the response.
...and, um, this was not a military victory for Obama. Nor was it a military test for Obama. He followed the standard protocols and let the professionals do their work. If that's a victory, fine.