- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Even the world’s most powerful military force has its limitations.

The killing of three hostage-takers by sharpshooters was closer to a SWAT operation than a military maneuver. If Mr. Lowry thinks “only the United States will have the capability or the will” to deal effectively with pirates around the world, he is playing right into the terrorists’ hands.

The killing of the pirates already has sparked an anti-U.S. reaction in Somalia. Starting a tit-for-tat war against Somalia’s failed state of well-armed warlords could incite yet another counterinsurgency war that our nation simply cannot afford. Mr. Lowry needs to recall that one of bin Laden’s strategic goals is to break us economically. Trying to police the world’s oceans using only the U.S. military is not a path we want to start down. The “most important tool of counterinsurgency” is not “manpower,” as Mr. Lowry asserts. It is information.

America is powerful not because of its military but because of its values and principles. Ensuring “the security necessary for global commerce” is important, as Mr. Lowry quotes scholar Michael Mandelbaum, but it is not (nor should it be) the supreme focus of “rigorous American leadership.” That should be reserved for the protection of human rights.

It is international cooperation that will yield us the most effective power in dealing preventively or pre-emptively with pirates, terrorists and other threats. Beefing up the U.S. military will reinforce bin Laden’s ideas and bring us closer to economic bankruptcy.

Our goal should not be to “enforce a rough global order” with the U.S. military. Our goal should be to enforce a just global order through international cooperation and our ideals.



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