Post Inauguration Threats (v3) - How Many Fronts?
While we await the outcome of the hostage negotiations between the FBI and the Somali pirates holding Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama (and wonder if the hijacking of an American owned Italian flagged tugboat and even the balancing of the risks of insuring versus arming the ships traversing the shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia), one must question the foreign policy and security implications now facing the new Adminstration.
Who would have guessed that one of President Obama's biggest foreign tests in his first 100 days would come from a ragtag band of pirates and a high-seas hostage drama? Other foreign threats, such as the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran, may pose greater concern for national security, but the problem of Somali pirates is proving just as difficult to address.
Yes, there is a dichotomy of issues facing us today. Do we now face a fourth front in the War on Terrorism (some dispute the merits of calling this a "war" and wonder if we are fighting Islam or "radical" Islam); think of the unfinished business in Iraq and Afghanistan (as well as the related issues in Pakistan); add the conflict south of the border in Mexico where the new Adminstration would cite illegal arms shipments from the U.S. rather than look to the south, to Guatemala, Venezuela and Nicaragua as sources of illegal arms; and then wonder if the escalation of pirate attacks against U.S. interests in those waters are not both provocation and distraction.
One of the most important things to remember, in my opinion, about the World wide conflict against terorrism and radicalism that we face today is that it is asymmetric and it is disconnected, and yet with a common goal. It also remains to be seen how the role of the F.B.I. in both negotiating the release of Phillips and investigating the criminality of these acts of piracy will conclude. However, how can the piracy of the Maersk Alabama and the holding hostage of an American martime captain be seen as a criminal act, when in fact, these are acts of terrorism on the high seas?
Ask yourself the question of on how many fronts this Nation now faces conflicts against terrorism? And then ask, if this Nation has the ability, the resources and resolve to fight on those multiple fronts.
More on the role and activity of the F.B.I. later.