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Raiding Somalia

Yesterday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a U.S.-sponsored resolution allowing nations to undertake “all necessary measures” on Somali territory and through Somali airspace against the pirates who have taken refuge there.  There’s a catch: the UN resolution requires the consent of the Somali government.

The resolution is being hailed as a show of the international community’s resolve to go after the bandits that have taken more than 60 ships this year, including two yesterday.  Yet what is the value of the UN action?  If a nation has the consent of the Somali government, there is no need for Security Council authorization.  And there’s one more question: Does Somalia have a functioning government to give consent?

The Security Council, if it wanted to be a constructive force, would have declared Somalia an international zone and allowed member states to conduct military actions against the pirates without the consent of the Somali government.  If it is important to fight piracy – and it is – we should be prepared to pursue pirates wherever they are found, whether on the high seas or in Somali territory.  It would be great if the UN provides legal cover for necessary military action, but, if it cannot, the United States should ignore this failing institution.

There is no reason for other nations to look to us if we allow ourselves to be humiliated by pirates, as is happening today.  We should either do whatever it takes to get the job done or not even try.  Piracy may be a complex issue, but there is a simple solution.  And obviously, that solution is not found in the halls of the Security Council.



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