In a scene of most superior uber-cool, the French military arrested the Somali pirates who’d captured a cruise vessel returning from the Seychelles on April 4th.
So, of course, the New York Times would take the opportunity to publish an op-ed blaming namby-pamby British cupcakes for failing to enforce international law by arresting Somali pirates. Why did the author claim that the Brits were wussing out? Because they were all worried that these scurrilous lawbreakers might claim asylum if they were brought back to the U.K. Worse yet, the Somali government might violate their human rights if they were turned over to Mogadishu.
“The British attitude has come a long way since the days when pirates were chained to pilings at Wapping and left there until the tidal water of the Thames ebbed and flowed over the bodies three times. So much for Britannia ruling the waves.”
Sounds good, right? Fits a whole narrative of European decline, although, well, the part about French military prowess doesn’t quite fit.
Too bad it’s all complete crapola. Details below the fold.
In fact, the story of British perfidity in the name of wimpishness first broke in what us ignorant American still insist on incorrectly calling the London Times on April 13th. A rather good blog written by a friend of a colleague picked it up.
But, as our friend the Yorkshire Ranter pointed out, there’s no evidence that anyone in the U.K. ever ordered the Royal Navy not to detain pirates. Sure, somebody did in fact point out that the pirates might claim asylum, but that would have absolutely but nada to do with their criminal trial. France follows the same refugee conventions as Britain, and it sure didn’t stopped them.
And no sane law enforcement official would want to hand pirates back over to Somalia because, Somalia doesn’t have a government to try them. Well, it does, sort of ... but you’d have to be wack-a-ding loco to turn the people who just launched a pirate attack from Somali soil over to the people claiming to be the Somali government. So that whole concern over pirate rights is a red herring. Joseph Stalin would act the same as Gordon Brown.
Pirates are cool, of course. But it’s a sideshow. The world shipping lines are safe, and when attacks from holes in the map like Somalia become a problem, the world’s navies are well-equipped to handle it, both operationally and, perhaps more importantly, legally.
That won’t stop somebody from making a very cool movie, or whatever will replace them, about the Pirates of the Horn sometime in the 22nd century. Like I said, pirates are cool.