From the deck of an Italian destroyer cruising the pirate-infested waters off Somalia’s coast, [the admiral] has all the modern tools at his fingertips — radar, sonar, infrared cameras, helicopters, a cannon that can sink a ship 10 miles away — to take on a centuries-old problem that harks back to the days of schooners and eye patches.
“Our presence will deter them,” the admiral said confidently.
Alas, the pirates aren't being deterred:
But the pirates — true to form — remain unfazed.
“They can’t stop us,” said Jama Ali, one of the pirates...
He explained how he and his men hid out on a rock near the narrow mouth of the Red Sea and waited for the big gray ships with the guns to pass before pouncing on slow-moving tankers. Even if foreign navies nab some members of his crew, Mr. Jama said, he is not worried. He said his men would probably get no more punishment than a free ride back to the beach, which has happened several times.
“We know international law,” Mr. Jama said.
Armies (in this case, navies), get their job done by destroying the ability of their enemies to to do their job. Putting on shows, dancing in war feathers, rattling sabers: those are all nice but can't replace the dirty part of the job. To kill enough of the enemy to force him to desist. This is a lesson Israel learned the hard way a few years ago, when the Palestinians refused to respect our advantage in gear and insisted on murdering our civilians until the IDF finally decided to kill lots of their armed men. The navies of the West will have no choice but to learn the same lesson off Somalia.