Green Room

What to do with Somalia.

posted at 6:01 pm on May 4, 2009 by

Americans have a very difficult time relating to other countries. I’m not talking about our politicians, although they are affected as well. The average citizen seems to have a brain-lock and can only imagine other nations as some version of our own country. It’s as if the entire world is just a suburb of America. The bulk of the problem is that few Americans travel broadly, and therefore have no real frame of reference. That week you spent in Italy, or the vacation to the coast of Mexico doesn’t count. American’s insulate themselves in the comfortable areas, surrounded by comfortable things, and haven’t taken the time to really get to know another country.

The other part of the problem is our complete lack of an honest teaching of World History. Past seventh grade Social Studies, or tenth grade World History, most of us don’t give a second thought to our own history – much less that of other countries.

Our Media is no better, and twists every extra-national story until it fits with the American view of the world. We might briefly take notice of suffering or conflict in other areas, but only in passing, like we’re viewing a fender-bender on some heavily traveled road. “Oh wow, that looks bad,” we might say to a fellow passenger. Perhaps a comment to a store clerk we see later on. Then, poof, it’s out of our heads as we consider what size latte to imbibe.

To say this is a dangerous view would be an understatement. It is even more dangerous when our leaders share it. For the last thirty years, at least, the distinctly rosy American view of the world has pervaded our foreign policy. We have ignored those who actually know what is going on in this country or that – because they lived through it. Our leaders have continually failed to seek information from the “boots on the ground”, and instead allow National Geographic to paint the picture for them. It should be axiomatic that not every problem can be solved by talking. Sometimes giving a gift, or aid, makes things worse. And often, military intervention will have unintended consequences.

No place is more suited to teach this lesson than Somalia. Myself, I am no expert on the country. However, I refuse to learn about it solely from CNN. About all the average American knows is that the pirates sail from there, and it can be dangerous, so they should hide their money when visiting. Those who have been to that country and survived just chuckled. Somalia has been, and will continue to be, a completely failed nation.

If you would ever like to know what anarchy would look like, then Somalia is great. Otherwise, it is no place for anyone to be, especially the pale faced American who came for the beautiful beaches, and a taste for the “out-of-the-ordinary.” It is a place to get yourself killed. There is no real government, and the frail government that exists must work from neighboring Kenya. You will not find handy signs in downtown Mogadishu showing the “Art District” or the location of the nearest Starbucks. It is literally a living hell.

Islamic forces battle nationalist forces. Clans fight each other. The U.N. impotently tries to keep peace, but can merely keep peace in their own compound and listen to the sound of gunfire. All for one thing – control of the country. Helping any “side” is taken as a threat to the other factions. In their minds, everyone wants to control Somalia – the thought of humanitarian aid for the sake of helping the people is completely foreign to them. This country has never seen peace. It has never seen prosperity. And we simply have no frame of reference for that kind of life.

Any attempt to “fix” the problem will be received as either hostile or cowardly. It is really that simple. Sending Hilary Clinton will not help, you would literally be better off sending in a sixth grader to fix a nuclear power plant. There is no one in control to negotiate with, there is no Somali FBI to go after the pirates, there is no Legislature to pass laws against piracy. As cruel as it sounds, there are only two options for Somalia: One – Let the country complete it’s collapse, allow it to turn into an Islamic State run by Sharia Law then deal with it after it becomes a stable nation…in about 40-50 years. Two – A complete military take over of the country. Not setting up a base, or sending patrols, I mean a wipe-out-anyone-with-a-gun take over and make Somalia the 51st State.

There is no third solution, but it is doubtful that the Obama Administration will heed my warnings. Personally, I do not want Somalia to become part of our Union. So, dealing with the Pirates can only be done in one way – deterrence. Defend what you have, let Somalia sort itself out.

Ken Pritchett
Red Dot in a Red State

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Interesting post, I think…

American’s “don’t travel well”, aside from vacation due to a variety of reasons:

#1 Our great nation is chock full of great things to do. Most people probably haven’t been to more than 20 states, I would encourage Idaho over sub Sahara Africa, but that’s just me.
#2 Europe (the only tangible comparison I can see to Americans and exploring) is a continent made up of many countries, that are much smaller compared to America – allowing cross border “trips” for people to explore. You can get to 15 nations within a 10 hour train ride from Germany. I know plenty of Euros who travel to America each year – and go to regional areas at a time, not the whole country – and after 10 plus trips – still have cities, parks and states on their checklists. Americans also dont get government sponsored stipends for “holiday”, a max 35 hour work week and 6-8 months off, combined with 20+ days off. Did you know Ireland gives a guaranteed $$$ amount for any Irish worker through banks for holiday?
#3 Americans aren’t well received in many countries – even before 9/11. I am a dual Irish citizen (born in america) and can tell you about some heated debates as far back as 1988 when in Cork. IN fact – a good friend who works for the Peace Corp (7 tours and counting) wears an Ireland hat to diffuse any “locals” intimidation and doesn’t wear “Americana” on her sleeve – ironically the country providing the aid and services she is there in the first place.
#4 There are many dangerous and hostile countries that aren’t worth your $$$ in any way, shape or form. Nor do they have the infrostructure to accomodate travel.
#5 Health reasons – why would I want to travel to a country with rampant TB, whopping cough, etc and go through 10 + vaccines just to get there?

I think the attack on Americans not “exploring” is a bit silly, probably could have left it out to make your point; that I express in my comments – Somalia is a brutal shit hole that only a fool would “visit”.

And in case you haven’t noticed – MOST African nations are still fighting circa 5th century, with 5th century “advancement”…

Odie1941 on May 5, 2009 at 12:03 PM


Odie1941 on May 5, 2009 at 12:04 PM

You make some valid points, though I feel that Americans should travel to other countries – if for no other reason than to appreciate their own more. But hey, I’m a “road less traveled” kind of guy, so I guess we’ll just have to disagree on that point.

Africa’s biggest two problems is a) lack of education, and b) lack of major export products. There is the notable exception of South Africa’s diamonds, but that misses the point.

All money starts from a buyer-seller relationship. Japan sells electronics, we sell food and heavy machinery, and so on. Oversimplified a bit, but you get my point. Africa could become a massive exporter of food, oil, and precious metals, but the developed countries will not allow it. They also lack the education to develop their natural resources.

Until those two problems are fixed, Somalia will always be…how did you put it…

a brutal shit hole that only a fool would “visit”.

RedDotRedState on May 5, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Africa’s biggest problem is our intelligence left it along with the good/bad Mossad. They did bad things for a good reasons, and so I think they are good, but according to our sissy peoples in charge; that view will get me on the DHS list of extremists. LOL!

Basically the entire continent has been left to the Chinese, Russians and Islamic terrorists from a multitude of countries. What kept Africa safer for the rest of the world was the heavy presence of black hat wearers keeping folks like Raila Odinga, Yusuf, Bashir, etc. from becoming rulers of any sort. Killing early and often in Africa was a good policy. It certainly kept these killers from having too much power.

Bush installed the African Command I think around 2005, but it was too late to stop things like this. Not much attention was paid to the issues brought up in this article. There are a kazillion other articles that support moves like this were being made all over Africa. I think the day white land owners were thrown out of their homes in South Africa, there was only one blurb on it all day long, and that was on the internet. Anybody hear about the Kikuyu being burned alive in their Christian Church by the Muslims in control of Kenya?

I agree with the education and export problem, but I strongly agree with infrastructure and add the lack of any restraint on murderous, Islamic jihadists. Chaos reigns supreme, and until there is order there will be no education, no infrastructure and therefore no trade. It is because of the current lack of all of the above that the World Cup officials are looking for another place to play. I know, not many in America cares about the World Cup, but they should for no other reason than the fact that the entire continent of Africa is so unstable you cannot host a soccer championship. On the flip side, the world is so chaotic, there are not many places you could hold the World Cup!

The other largely ignored problem with the Horn of Africa area is the outsourcing of Africa’s largest export, and that is terrorists. Word through most intel is that these terrorists are being shipped off from the Horn and ultimately land in Venezuela. Hugo loves us so much that he has FARC help them learn Spanish, and ships them on up through Mexico and into the U.S. Gotta love that Hugo!

Other than our President and his Gang, Mexico, and Pakistan, there is no greater danger to Americans other than Africa.

I agree with Americans needing to travel. I have been to Europe on several occasions, but beyond going out of the country there are some very cool ways to learn about other countries and their people. Host a kid for the summer! We hosted a kid from Belarus for a few months in the summer. They come over with a program which brings them to America for health reasons due to Chernobyl. For every two weeks they are here in the U.S., the kid’s life spans are extended by at least a year. They will be a blessing to your family, a learning experience for your kids, and they will broaden your perspective on the world when you stitch money in the lining of their new coats so the border guards do not steal it out of their bags or belongings. If you cannot host a kid, travel out of the country; then for the love of Pete read. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Be a mental traveler!

Thanks for bringing attention to Africa, and in particular Somalia. I very much enjoyed your insight!

freeus on May 5, 2009 at 7:38 PM

If you’re not satisfied with “CNN-type” information on Africa, I’d suggest reading anything and everything written by Dr. J. Peter Pham, of World Defense Review. Here’s his latest on Somalia, for example.

notropis on May 5, 2009 at 11:46 PM


This is actually his latest. The previous link was to the one I’d been reading most recently.

But, as I said, you can’t go wrong reading anything or everything by Dr. Pham.

Pham’s Archives

notropis on May 5, 2009 at 11:57 PM

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