Friday, January 09, 2009

How to deliver cash to a pirate

The U.S. Navy has released a fine image of contemporary ransom-paying:
Historically, piracy (and, more generally, warlordism) has tended to arise in the context of unstable power relations between major powers, which opens up loopholes and arbitrage opportunities. With this in mind, it's noteworthy that the Chinese have decided to dispatch a couple of warships to help patrol the Gulf of Aden--a move that, depending on your perspextive, can be seen as either an alarming escalation of Chinese military ambitions, or as a salutary increase in Chinese contribution to the global public good of safe international waters. What it undoubtedly indicates is that the Chinese think the Americans aren't willing or able to defend the Chinese merchant marine. 

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