Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It’s All Libya’s Fault

It seems whenever the United States gets involved in conflicts overseas some indicate the conflict is the United States fault. Well if the United States does get involved we can definitively call it Libya’s fault. For it was Libya (and the other Barbary Coast Countries) who helped form the United States’ military. For without the pirates based from these countries the United States may have ended up like Costa Rica, a country without a military.

This all happened in the late 1700’s when the United States did not have an active Navy. As frigates delivered their goods to Europe they were being attacked and taken over by pirates from these countries. In order to gain the return of the sailors and ships the Barbary Coast countries demanded tributes. The tributes were not an inconsequential amount of money, some sources indicated it was as much as 1/6 of the entire United States budget. Well after a while you get tired of paying tributes for safe passage. Especially when you go and negotiate and are told to pay larger and larger amounts. So in response the United States created Department of the Navy in 1798 to provide protection of shipping interests of the United States.

As part of this protection the ports and town harboring the pirates were attacked. Unfortunately the Barbary Coast countries continued the practice of piracy and the battles continued until a small group of Marines and mercenaries attacked and occupied the City of Derne. Eventually a treaty was signed and the conflict ended until a few years later when Algeria decided once again piracy was a good thing, especially when the United States was preoccupied with the War of 1812.

So if we do get involved in the conflict in Libya (which I don’t think we should) we can all be safe in knowing that it is all Libya’s fault.

What I find interesting is that countries of Europe didn’t protect their own neighboring seas from the attack of pirates in those days. It was each country for themselves. Even today we are faced with piracy issues, fortunately today countries are working together in an attempt to stymie them. But I think as the lessons of the First Barbary Coast War indicate, that the problem needs to be solved at the source.

No comments:

Post a Comment