Undoubtedly, a robust military response like that delivered Sunday by the U.S. Navy to the captors of Captain Phillips (and the French Navy last Friday to the pirates holding the yacht Tanit and its French civilian passengers) will be needed again to deal with pirate actions underway and to deter other potential maritime hijackings. Of course, as Bjoern Seibert convincingly argued here two weeks ago, the various naval efforts need to be better coordinated, if not integrated. Ultimately, however, piracy is far more complex than any naval patrol; it will require more than just the application of force to uproot piracy from the soil of Somalia.
The Seibert article points out one example of a waste of forces in the EU -NATO lack of interface:
Everyone loves good sport, but the EU-NATO rivalry is pointless and perhaps even counterproductive in this case. To cover a vast, remote area of operations quickly, efficiently, and in the absence of host nation support, coordination between the forces is vital. With separate command structures, duplications and even contradictions are unavoidable, likely at the expense of an efficient, cohesive anti-piracy effort.I say that there is no need to invade Somalia - the goal is to reduce the threat of piracy through containment. Of course, that goal would would be a lot easier to attain if every warship in the area was using the same game plan...
Already, maritime operations are expensive. At a time when defense budgets in the United States and Europe are strained by financial crisis, inefficiencies due to pure institutional rivalry are not justifiable. Even when the missions do share intelligence, for example, some NATO equipment cannot be used aboard EU vessels. Every doubling adds dollars to the task.
Why do I argue for containment? Have you thought about the logistical nightmare of going into Somalia? Before suggesting boots on the ground, better have a logistics plan in mind and the capability of carrying it off.