My friends (and others) would certainly consider my politics to be quite far left but not here. Piracy
is not a new problem and history
has shown it requires an aggressive military response rather than paying ransom. In fact "history repeats itself" seems at work (the following comes from Wikipedia)
In 1783 the United States
made peace with, and gained recognition from, the British monarchy
, and in 1784 the first American ship was seized by pirates from Morocco
, which in 1777 had been the first independent nation to recognize the United States. After six months of negotiation, a treaty was signed, $60,000 cash was paid, and trade began.
But Algeria was different. In 1785 two ships (the Maria of Boston and the Dauphin of Philadelphia) were seized, everything sold and their crews ordered to build port fortifications....
...American ships sailing in the Mediterranean
chose to travel close to larger convoys of other European powers who had bribed the pirates
. Payments in ransom and tribute to the Barbary states amounted to 20% of United States government annual revenues in 1800.
In the early 1800s, President Thomas Jefferson proposed a league of smaller nations to patrol the area, but the United States could not contribute. For the prisoners, Algeria wanted $60,000, while America offered only $4,000. Jefferson said a million dollars would buy them off, but Congress would only appropriate $80,000. For eleven years, Americans who lived in Algeria lived as slaves to Algerian Moors....
...On Jefferson's inauguration as president in 1801, Yussif Karamanli
, the Pasha
(or Bashaw) of Tripoli
, demanded $225,000 from the new administration. (In 1800, Federal revenues totaled a little over $10 million.) Putting his long-held beliefs into practice, Jefferson refused the demand. Consequently, in May 1801, the Pasha declared war on the United States, not through any formal written documents but by cutting down the flagstaff in front of the U.S. Consulate. Morocco
, Algiers, and Tunis soon followed their ally in Tripoli.
In response, Jefferson sent a group of frigates
to defend American interests in the Mediterranean
, and informed Congress
. Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed vessels of the United States to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli "and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify."
Enterprise capturing Tripoli
The frigate USS Enterprise
defeated the 14-gun Tripolitan corsair
Tripoli after a fierce but one-sided battle on August 1
The American navy
went unchallenged on the sea, but still the question remained undecided. Jefferson pressed the issue the following year, with an increase in military force and deployment of many of the navy's best ships to the region throughout 1802. USS Argus
, USS Chesapeake
, USS Constellation
, USS Constitution
, USS Enterprise
, USS Intrepid
, USS Philadelphia
and USS Syren
all saw service
during the war under the overall command of Commodore Edward Preble
. Throughout 1803, Preble set up and maintained a blockade of the Barbary ports
and executed a campaign of raids and attacks against the cities' fleets...
There's much more in Wikipedia that offers jaw dropping parallels to today - and this was by no means just an American battle. Most of Europe