While Americans celebrate the successful rescue of Richard Phillips, the captain of the Maersk Alabama, I think it is also important to keep in mind what now has been set in motion.
As the Washington Post reports “U.S. military officials acknowledged Sunday that the killing of the three pirates could worsen the problem, an outcome that shipping companies have sought to avoid.”
“This could escalate violence in this part of the world, no question about it,” said Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Fifth Fleet.
When the Maersk Alabama was boarded by the Somali pirates, the closest naval ship was 300 nautical miles away.
“We simply do not have enough resources to cover all of those areas,” Gortney said.
In Somalia, the news of the rescue, which left three pirates dead, was met with anger. The NY Times reports that some there said “they would avenge the deaths of their colleagues by killing Americans in sea hijackings to come.”
“Every country will be treated the way it treats us,” Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship anchored in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in a telephone interview. “In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying.”
So while we cheer tonight, keep in mind that this outcome set our nation on a path that we do not yet know how it will end. I think a little less bravado and a little more reflection is warranted.