Monday, April 13, 2009

Pirates of the Cold War

Today is Monday, 13 April 2009.

With all the attention recently devoted in the international media to the attacks of Somalia-based pirates, it behooves us to recall some context.

In 1974, the dictatorship in Ethiopia of Haile Selassie I (which had been supported by the USA/USE) was overthrown, and the new military dictatorship, the Derg (“Committee”), allied itself with the USSR. The following year, the Somali dictatorship of Siad Barre attacked Ethiopia in the Ogaden region (attempting to unite all ethnically-Somali areas into a Greater Somalia), the USSR supported Ethiopia, and Barre abrogated his friendship treaty with the USSR, expelled Soviet advisors, and accepted support from the USA/USE.

Somalia has been a failed state since Barre was overthrown in 1991.

One is reminded, of course, of the recent history of another failed state, Afghanistan. In both cases, the two Superpowers backed local factions as cat’s paws in the Cold War, and so degraded and distorted the local economies and political ecologies that chaos and famine resulted, which persist to this day. This was a pattern repeated around the globe.

Thus, the coin in which the price of the Cold War was paid was lives predominately non-American and non-Soviet. The pirates of Somalia are chickens finally come home to our roost.

Neither the first, nor the last.


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