April 15, 2009

Exit Thoughts on Obama's Excellent Somali Pirate Adventure

From Global Guerrillas,

"Seal snipers took out three Somali pirates and freed an American hostage held in a lifeboat. What's interesting to me is the decision making process used to resolve this minor problem. Here are some of the aspects. Firstly, there was a timer on the hostage stand-off. Other pirate groups/ships (an open source insurgency with commercial drivers) were en route to surround the lifeboat or take control of the hostages. Secondly, this minor decision involved a highly centralized decision making loop that included the President, the Commander of CENTCOM, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the DoJ, and the White House/NSC -- just to pull the trigger on three kidnappers holding a hostage at gunpoint."

His point here is well taken, voiced succinctly by Indiana based military strategist Thomas PM Barnett,

"I resist reading too much into the new president's international security street cred on the basis of this minuscule operation.

And please, hearing that Obama took 17 briefings ... That worries more than assures me.

If one hostage commands that much POTUS bandwith, this is not a good sign moving forward, and I sure as hell wouldn't advertise it."

I think its a function of Obama's limited experience in an executive role of this nature. Frankly, he's still learning and the jury is still out on this dimension of Obama's leadership as president. I want him to be a triggerman when called for. This episode doesn't have me convinced yet.