Barry and the Pirates

The government of Kenya is no longer accepting pirates captured by the international task force operating in the Red Sea and approaches. Kenya claims that its justice system is overloaded with Somali pirates and that it just can't handle any more of them. This policy was initiated with no warning or even a public announcement.

The task force has already started cutting loose pirates caught in the act. A Dutch vessel did so early last week, followed by a U.S. Navy destroyer that tossed back a crew that had actually opened fire with RPGs.

This is obviously a situation that cannot be maintained. Those clowns have to be locked up somewhere. To do otherwise -- to continue throwing them back like so many underweight trout -- will turn the entire business into a game and simply encourage the vast punk population of Somalia to try their luck.

Which raises the question: what world leader happens to have close relatives serving in the government of Kenya? That's right -- none other than the Obamessiah himself. His father, Barack Sr., was an economist in the first post-colonial government. One of his half-brothers, Malik Obongo Obama, is a rising political star, and I'm sure you wouldn't have to throw many stones to hit a cousin or two employed by various ministries. Obama has more personal pull in Kenya than in any other country in the world.

Yet what has he done to address Kenya's sudden dash for the exit? Nothing at all, as far as can be seen. A number of possible solutions suggest themselves -- international funds to the cover the costs of imprisonment, private prison companies encouraged to open facilities in the area, the Organization of African States persuaded to step in. There are no doubt plenty of other possibilities that could be suggested by people more familiar with East Africa than I am.

And yet, it appears that Obama is simply going to ignore the entire impasse, to give it the silent treatment as he does with everything else that isn't of immediate benefit to him. Not a single word has been heard from the White House involving Kenya, and nobody from his lapdog media has seen fit to bring it up. Does anyone care to bet how long it will be before we see any action?

Of course, that's his prerogative. He's president, and presidents get to choose which battles they fight. But if he truly can't handle something so close to home, a problem where he has actual personal contacts to draw on, then maybe he should start thinking twice about posing as the grand redeemer where infinitely more difficult challenges such as Mideast peace and nuclear proliferation are concerned.

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