When pirates seized the Maersk Alabama off Somalia, it made the front page of just about every major paper because this time, it was an American ship. But this isn't a new story. Pirates have attacked half a dozen ships in the past week, and about 50 so far this year.
In many cases, ship owners have given these thugs what they want -- sometimes millions of dollars -- so ships and crew members would be returned unharmed. It's worked as a short-term solution, but only encourages the pirates to do it again. Avoiding the water around Somalia isn't an option for most captains. Alternate routes can cost far more in time and money.
The only way to stop these attacks is to make the pirates realize they simply can't win. If there will be no pay day, they'll be out of business.
That won't be easy, but with ships from all over the world in danger, it's a problem that requires, not just an American, but a global solution.
That's a page from my notebook.