Nationhood!

Heroes in a Land of Pirates by Jay Bahadur

Jay Bahadur writes an op-ed piece for the new york times called "heroes in a land of pirates" about piracy and the region of Puntland in Somalia. I think the article is interesting because Bahadur refers to Puntland as an autonomous region and advocates that international funds be sent to that area's government to combat piracy instead of to Somalia's interim government. Currently Puntland is not recognized internationally as a legitimate government, according to Bahadur.

Bahadur thinks that Somali piracy is best addressed by the smaller region of Puntland because it is more stable and better functioning than the area of Somalia as a whole, especially in terms of its policy of non-negotiation towards pirates.

I think that looking at piracy through the glass of nation status in a broad forum like the NYT is really interesting. For me, this article shows a sense of optimism and flexibility about Somalia because it sees success in Puntland. I really like how it challenges my suppositions about nationhood in Africa. It might even demonstrate a new sort of 21st century flexibility when dealing with the idea of nationhood, which is a good thing because of the whole non-state actor thing.

We have the information now where we can specialize and divide internationally on every level and every way. The individual doesn't have the power, but we definitely have more power than we have had historically. So there's pirates. And tiiiiiny little nations with tiiiiiny little prisons. It makes me think of The Diamond Age, which is one of my favorite books. It's about a book.

This is an op-ed piece, and I don't see a lot of evidential backup in it, but I really like the ideas it conveys to my head. I don't know anything about Somalia and I haven't given a thought to international policy in several years. Please forgive my ignorance.

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