The unflappable Mark Steyn has taken rightful issue with the New York Times and its coddling of the new president's fondness for declaring international events such as North Korea's recent missile launch and now the Somali pirate escapades mere distractions. Mere distractions, that is, from his stated course at full throttle to rectify national inequalities.
As my colleague Andrew McCarthy wrote, "Civilization is not an evolution of mankind but the imposition of human good on human evil. It is not a historical inevitability. It is a battle that has to be fought every day, because evil doesn't recede willingly before the wheels of progress." Very true.
Somalia, Iran and North Korea are all less "civilized" than they were a couple of generations ago. Yet in one sense, they have made undeniable progress: They have globalized their pathologies. Somali pirates seize vessels the size of aircraft carriers flying the ensigns of the great powers. Iranian proxies run Gaza and much of Lebanon. North Korea's impoverished prison state provides nuclear technology to Damascus and Tehran. Unlovely as it is, Pyongyang nevertheless has friends on the Security Council.
Powerful states protect one-man psycho states. One-man psycho states provide delivery systems to apocalyptic ideological states. Apocalyptic ideological states fund non-state actors around the world. And in Somalia and elsewhere, non-state actors are constrained only by their ever-increasing capabilities.
When all the world's a "distraction," maybe you're not the main event after all. Most wealthy nations lack the means to defend themselves. Those few that do lack the will. Meanwhile, basket-case jurisdictions send out ever bolder freelance marauders to prey on the civilized world with impunity.
While we are very grateful and proud that the American captain, his crew, and ship were safely rescued, even after reading all the official and unofficial conjecture, one still wonders why it took so long.