So We Beat A Few Pirates

So what? Doesn't the recent spat raise more questions than it answers?

Here is the problem into which the Obama team has backed itself. By saying -- in Afghanistan and Pakistan -- that we're not going to allow the terrorists to maintain safe havens from which they can plot and train to carry out attacks, the Obama team now has to explain why we're not pursuing the same kind of whole-of-government approach toward bringing effective governance to the Horn of Africa. And the flip side to that question is even more devastating: if we're not doing it in Somalia, why are we wasting our time and money doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

This, to me, is the biggest problem I see in the Obama plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's not that we are establishing some terrible precedent, really, but rather that you can point to places on the map where similar problems to the ones in the Pashtun tribal belt present themselves and are not being addressed -- or even discussed -- in the same way. Why have we been seeking to manage the piracy problem off the Horn of Africa -- and the terror problem within the Horn of Africa -- yet are pursuing far more ambitious means and ends in Afghanistan and Pakistan?