As we have pointed out previously, pirates based in Somalia remind us of an earlier group of freebooters, the Barbary Pirates of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The parallels grow greater with each success of the Somali pirates - and each failure of the great powers, including the United States, to deal with them.
Recently, Somali pirates freed 36 members of the crew of a Spanish trawler - after being paid $3.3 million in ransom for them. Beyond any doubt, that will encourage other pirate crews to take hostages.
Though there have been some successes against the pirates, such as the rescue of a U.S. ship captain earlier this year, virtually nothing has been done to eliminate the menace.
A similar situation occurred with the Barbary Pirates - until fed-up Americans launched an assault against their bases. "Millions for defense, not one cent for tribute" was the cry then.
But now, most nations seem too fearful of a confrontation with the pirates to assault their bases. That has encouraged them in their brutality. Lack of action against them needs to change, or they will step up their assaults on ships, including those owned and crewed by Americans.