This pirate thingy is an annoying distraction for Obama
Posted by danishova on April 10, 2009
Lap dog analysis from Steve Holland of Reuters:
Ragtag teams of modern-day Blackbeards are posing an annoying distraction for Barack Obama, forcing him to add Somalia to an already long list of foreign policy challenges.
American presidents are told to expect the unexpected, and Obama is seeing that this week. First it was a North Korean test of a ballistic missile last weekend. Now comes a swashbuckling high-seas standoff with armed renegades.
“Swashbuckling”? How romantic! Who will be the modern day Errol Flynn and play these dashing characters in a movie? Brad Pitt? Denzel?
Obama so far has sent U.S. Navy ships to protect an American-flagged freighter that managed to repel a pirate attack but whose captain was taken hostage.America’s recent experience with Somalia has not been good, making caution a key element of U.S. policy in dealing with the country….[snip]
No doubt Obama will charm them into submission after reminding them of America’s arrogance, and of his Muslim family, in a videogram wishing them a Happy Pirate Day.
Obama, just back from a week-long trip to Europe and a morale-boosting visit to U.S. troops in Iraq, already has a long list of foreign challenges from North Korea to Iran to Afghanistan, and beyond.
He declined to comment on the pirate situation for the second day in a row on Thursday…[snip]
Somalia came to U.S. attention in 1992 when warring factions created a humanitarian crisis.
President George H.W. Bush, describing it as "God’s work," sent U.S. combat troops to the east African nation in late 1992 to lead an international U.N. force to secure the environment for relief operations.
"We will not stay one day longer than is absolutely necessary," Bush said.
President Bill Clinton inherited the problem. He pulled most of the U.S. troops out in early 1993. [snip]
These poor, put-upon Democrat presidents “inherit” so many problems. Nothing is ever their fault, or the fault of, say, the Somali warlords.
I betcha Obama will follow this advice and let the U.N. solve the problem since they have such a fantastic track record, and all:
"We don’t want to go back there," said presidential historian Thomas Alan Schwartz, a professor at Vanderbilt University. "This may be one of those points where Obama is going to have to cash in some of his international chips and get the U.N. to go in there."
"Somebody needs to go into Somalia and govern the place," he said.
Democratic strategist Doug Schoen, who worked in the Clinton White House, called the crisis "a real test of national resolve" that the Obama White House and opposition Republicans need to work together to deal with.
Just a guess – “opposition Republicans” won’t be too keen on relying on the U.N. ‘governing Somalia’ (for that matter, I doubt the U.N. will be eager to step into harms way) but we’ll have to see what happens after John Kerry holds ex post facto Senate hearings.
"It’s an annoyance and a distraction," he said. "On the other hand, if we don’t take this seriously and we don’t stamp it out we will face what other countries are facing, which are repeated acts of piracy." (Editing by Jackie Frank)
Memo to Doug Schoen: Ask Gibbsy to send Steve Holland a doggie bone stamped with the Presidential Seal for dutifully repeating your talking points.