Pity the Somali pirates, who after an abysmal year in 2012, have only managed to (unsuccessfully) attack two vessels thus far in 2013. Piracy is now much more lucrative in West Africa, where there have been at least 10 reported attacks in the past month alone. In the waters of Nigeria, a dozen mariners from three separate vessels were kidnapped by pirates during a single 10-day period. Côte d’Ivoire had never witnessed the hijacking and large-scale robbery of an oil tanker before October 2012, but already has had two such vessels pilfered from its waters this year. Read More
A good fighter does not stand in one place fending off blows, he moves around the ring. America’s Asian Pivot is merely a minor weight shift. America has been standing with a foot in Asia and Europe for over half a century; we need to step forward to the ring’s greatest area of potential: Africa.While the appropriate focus for America’s next step, Africa is prevented in reaching its full potential from the dangers of terrorist groups in vast uncontrolled areas and unstable governments. Africa has the greatest potential energy to drive future changes in the international system. America should pursue further engagement to ensure that those changes realize the best of the continent’s potential, rather than the worst.
Any sense that America’s pivot toward Asia is a major policy change ignores the robust presence that already exists. In the June 2 post, Information Dissemination notes that the Navy’s shift to Asia started long before the pivot talk even began. With bases in Korea, Japan and Guam , the U.S. has no small military presence in the region. The Association of South East Asian Nations may not be as effective or as unified as NATO, but it is still an active and engaged institution of regional diplomacy. And the U.S. has a number of strong bilateral relationships, from Japan to Thailand to Australia. Those who think a pivot to the Western Pacific is a major policy change haven’t been watching policy. America has in the past, if not pivoted, at least kept glancing over its Pacific shoulder.