Wow, Godwin in 31 posts.
People in this thread are operating on an awful lot of assumptions. The first being that the people committing these crimes want to be doing what they are doing. In situations as desperate as that of Somalia and other 'pirate' nations this is rarely the case. Often they are coerced or forced into service of the crime/war lords who orchestrate these actions. Be it by threats to their family, threats to their person or simple economic slavery.
It's easy to make black and white moral judgements against people in these situations because we simply have a hard time relating to their position. You might be surprised what you would consider 'lowering' yourself to when it comes to providing stability to yourself and those you love.
The second assumption is that Piracy is a problem to be solved, it isn't. It's a symptom of desperate people trying to survive in a society that is falling into chaos.
The simple truth is that there is no easy fix here. 'Liberating' the country is the best way to get a populace to forget their differences and band together to fight the meddling invader.
International aid work is probably the most productive, providing stability and hope is one way to reduce the need for people to turn to crime. Providing long term stability through aid does not yield much immediate effect, however. In previously troubled countries that have enjoyed relatively long periods of peace and growth there exists deep rooted paranoia amongst the populace that drives people to a "get what you can while the getting's good" mentality. Westerners are sometimes surprised when locals they meet and grow to know as 'good' people turn out to be petty thieves; personal effects go missing, a little bit of money here and there, not much but definitely what we would consider theft.
They are good people at heart, but they have lived through strife that you can not possibly imagine and the fear of those dark days weighs heavy on them. It takes generations of stability in a country to eradicate this mentality and convince the populace that, no, the peace really is for real this time and you can get on with living a normal life.
If you want to fight against terrible acts like piracy the best thing you can do is do a little research on the NGOs that are trying to make a difference in that country and offer your time, money or skills to help them. In my experience* you want to avoid the non-secular 'missionary' type outfits** and focus on smaller outfits doing focused, project-based work. The exception to this for me was Medecines Sans Frontiers, whenever we were 'up-country' those guys were never far away, every one of them that I met seemed driven and passionate about just getting the job done, no posturing, no BS.
* I worked in East Africa for a de-mining NGO for some time.
** They're good people but promoting religion in most of these countries is like selling snow to the Inuit, you can't eat a bible.
This is my first post on these forums, I only came here to learn about boat buying and maintenance! I'm planning on buying a boat soon, saving up and eventually traveling far and wide, hopefully doing more NGO work.
Great post. It's nice to read a reasoned, rational, realistic response to this issue.
Welcome to Sailnet.