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Piracy: The Best Business Model Available

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The word pirate typically conjures visions of swashbuckling adventure on the high seas. For hundreds of years, pirates have fascinated the public consciousness in legend, literature, amusement park rides, and even blockbuster movies. While often romanticized in popular culture, the reality of maritime piracy paints a much starker picture. It is a criminal enterprise that negatively impacts the security of the global commons, economics of seaborne commerce, and lives of the people it touches firsthand. Whether directly or indirectly, piracy affects everyone and demands an international effort to stem its influence. In this monograph, Dr. John Alexander sets the stage with a brief historical account of how maritime piracy has evolved over the centuries to its current state a vast enterprise whose increasing profitability has attracted a confluence of nefarious actors including warlords and international criminal organizations. Further, Dr. Alexander speculates on the potential for intersection between pirates and ideological terrorist movements such as al- Qaeda and Associated Movements. Such a future would significantly elevate the stakes in a U.S. whole-of-government counter-piracy response. What role should the U.S. military, and Special Operations Forces SOF in particular, play in addressing the global issue of maritime piracy Dr. Alexander points out many of the thorny legal considerations that contextually color any efforts to address counter-piracy. SOF have certainly been utilized to positive effect when the pirate enterprise has acted and taken American hostages. However, a course of action with more fundamental results should include supporting actions within those nations from which pirates find safe haven, a strategy with which SOF are exceedingly familiar. In the end, the best solution to criminal acts occurring hundreds of miles at sea may in fact lie with efforts, including the use of SOF, to improve the security apparatus on shore.

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  • Sociology and Law

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