Brown vs. CIMSEC

You’ll recall we linked a rather puerile piece of writing from a Brown University student yesterday. One can be forgiven for thinking that the intellectual depth of today’s youth is somewhat comparable to a rain puddle on an Arizona sidewalk in August.

But that isn’t quite the case. One reason we shared Mr. Makhlouf’s screed was because it was such a poorly written piece.

On the other hand, there are young Americans who can write quite well. CIMSEC, the Center For International Maritime Security, sponsored a high school essay contest. And lo, Mr. Templin, a senior at South Lake High School in Groveland, Florida, has won the prize.

One can find a few grammatical errors, and questionable word choices. One could also find fault with his conclusions and proposals. But overall, this is a well thought out piece that correctly identifies a problem, the environment that causes the problem, and possible corrective courses of action.

Well done, Mr. Templin.

The nations of Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore all share a unique strength. Despite being third world countries and overall economically weak, they have strength in their geographic position; each are located on crucial waterways. These waterways consist of some of the most heavily traveled commercial shipping routes in the world. In terms of crude oil alone, the strait of  Malacca in Southeast Asia has an estimated 15 million barrels a day, while the strait of Hormuz that links the Arabian Gulf to the Indian Ocean has an even larger amount of oil cargo, estimated at 17 million barrels per day.

Do read the whole thing.

EU Naval Forces Conduct Raid on Pirate Base in Somalia

It seems the EU nations are tired of playing “whack-a-mole” against pirates off the coast of Somalia.

EU naval forces have conducted their first raid on pirate bases on the Somali mainland, saying they have destroyed several boats.

The EU forces were transported by helicopter to the pirate bases near the port of Haradhere.

Anti-piracy forces have been reluctant to attack mainland bases, fearing for the crew of captured ships.

Somalia-based pirates have seized vessels across the Indian Ocean and demand huge ransoms for their release.

They are believed to be holding about 17 ships and 300 crew.

Just the other day, I was commenting at Information Dissemination regarding our (the US) rather ineffective approach to anti-piracy operations:

Again, we don’t have a piracy problem. We have an ROE problem. We’ve lawyered ourselves into a position where taking any actions that include the use of force can be painted as a war crime by our own domestic political factions, or by non-friendly foreign powers.

I had a follow up comment responding to replies:

I’m aware of that.  But playing whack a mole with the odd skiff here and there is insufficient to end the scourge of piracy. A punitive expedition that sank every skiff along a hundred miles of coast line would have a more permanent effect. But we won’t do that.

Seems I was a bit hasty. We won’t do it. But it appears the EU will…

I speak and the EU listens! Hey, let’s talk fiscal policy…