Hard power is applicable than soft power in dealing with the problem posed by piracy, in particular by Somali pirates
Hard power is referred to as an influence made on some political bodies or powers by use of force as in the military and economic incentives. In its turn, soft power refers to the impact on behavior based on attracting and co-opting but not coercing. It is a scenario of diplomatic and cultural relations between actors. Piracy is defined as an action of robbery or criminal violence in water bodies. Somali piracy has over the years been a serious obstacle to international trade since various commodities are being transported by the sea (Wesley, 2003). Items that are heavy and bulk they cannot be transported through air are left with the options of road and water transportation. Considering the distance and the availability of the means of transport, many items, for instance, heavy containers and vehicles are being transported the sea.
Somali pirates have taken control of the coastal region, and they have been robbing the ships that transport goods causing losses worth millions dollars. The situation has led to increased charges by the shipping companies in order to cater for the expenses and losses occurring in case of theft. Insurance have used the situation to augment their prices. Due to the rising insecurity in the region, different countries that are affected by the activities of the pirates have increased security to no avail. Different suggestions have been made towards finding a solution to the problem, which majorly included hard power options (Nye, 2011).
Although hard power is more effective than soft power in dealing with the problem posed by piracy, in particular by Somali pirates, it should not be the sole means of dealing with the situation. First of all, it tarnishes the international image of the country while the use of soft power encourages cohesion between the countries of the region. In addition, it affects international relations thus destroying the general cooperation discouraging international trade.. The use of the military forces to solve the problem of Somali piracy is not the best option. The use of extra force in solving conflicts and the autocratic way of handling affairs can significantly influence good relations between the two countries. A country that was once peaceful and had a good international reputation may break this image to become a fighting country. Although the force will be used with the aim of preventing the Somali pirates from the unlawful activity, in the process of finding the wrong doer, innocent people can get hurt. What is more, the Somali government has an obligation to protect its citizens from external aggression. In the case the intruding military forces face friction while looking for the suspects, the war may begin. The allies of the attacked country are likely to form hostility to the attacking country as well and may provide their ally with back-up (Codevilla, 2008). The countries supporting the other party also get involved and the war becomes irrepressible.
Threats used to make the pirates stop the robberies spoil the relationships of the countries weakening them if not bringing to an end. The use of hard power further defiles the position of the nation as the allies of the country under attack, can become its enemies in an attempt to protect the interests of their fellow nation. Economic sanctions may also negatively affect the business relations between the countries. Therefore, an enormous conflict is being created, although the problem could have been solved by employment of diplomatic means such as dialogue and negotiation. Encouragement of other peaceful steps can lead to a long lasting peace between the two countries (Bially, 2005). As a result of the use of hard power, the international credibility of the country deteriorates thus reducing the cooperation with other nations.
The option of using hard power to curb the aggression of Somali pirates is very expensive as compared to the use of soft power. Applying the marine systems, warships and other military equipment is quite expensive. In addition, all this equipment requires enormous quantities of resources such as fuel that is not only expensive, but also affects the environment. The military personnel involved in the operation need expensive kitting, good nourishment, and, what is more important; their lives are put in danger. The marines need support from the ground using the infantry soldiers in order to reinforce the work done by the marines. The soldiers on the ground need proper equipment, as well (Friedberg, 2011). Their preparation requires expensive rifles, land mines, enough supply of ammo, feeding and providing them with adequate training that is quite costly. Further on the operation, the two groups, the marines and the men on the ground, need the back-up of the air force, which is much more costly as compared to the other two. The maintenance of the fighter jets essential in bombing is expensive, as well as the bombs, the aircrafts used for surveillance, and the pilots operating the jets. Coercing the pirates is using hard power has a high cost that may require a long time for the countries to recover. These expenses can be cut by engaging in a dialogue that can bring about agreement thus making a lasting solution to the problem of Somali pirates.
Coerciveness through hard power on the Somali pirates makes them stronger than before while soft power makes them remain in the same state if not reducing their impact. Naturally, when additional force or pressure is multiplied on a resisting body, it tries to defend itself and, therefore, develops new tactics. Using extra force on pirates makes them stronger as they develop new ways to resist and reorganize to come in full force. In order to withstand the military forces, the pirates may attempt to recruit additional force, looking for more sophisticated weapons to match the military and planning on more cunning attacks. Theft that is being caught means theft on most expensive items is organized (Carnes, 2008).