Ivan Pavlov pioneered the field of classical conditioning. Pavlov's thesis is essentially that both human and animal behavior can be affected by both rewards and punishment. We punish that behavior which we want to end and reward that behavior that we want to encourage more of.
It's in this context that we should view the daring rescue of Captain Richard Phillips. It has been more than two hundred years since an American ship was taken over by pirates. One of the main reasons for this was the reaction of then President Thomas Jefferson against the Barbary Pirates.
Jefferson wanted what he always had, war. It appears that Jefferson, in dealing with the Barbary pirates had decided that it would be cheaper and more beneficial to fight a war than continually to pay homage. President Jefferson had made his entire presidency one that stressed reduced budgets and spending, and the discharge of the public debt. Continuing to pay large ransoms and other gratuities would not achieve this goal; fighting a short decisive war might. Jefferson saw this as an opportunity to advance the goals of his administration, and decided, therefore, to deploy the navy.
Jefferson undoubtedly was mindful of the Constitution's limitations on the President's war powers. In general, Jefferson had favored a strict interpretation of the Constitution, and he knew that as President he was limited to defensive measures without having approval from Congress to act offensively against the Pirates. He was bound by the "chains of the Constitution." Surprisingly, however, these thoughts did not stop Jefferson from dispatching Robert Dale to the Mediterranean, with orders to find out if any or all of the Barbary powers had declared war on the United States. If only the Bey of Tripoli had declared war, Dale was to blockade Tripoli's port. If any other of the Barbary states had declared war, then Dale was to deploy his troops as he saw fit in order to "protect our commerce and chastise their insolence-by sinking,
burning or destroying their ships and Vessels wherever (he should) find them."(19) This order by President Jefferson authorized actions that clearly were beyond the line of "defensive" actions authorized by the Constitution.
When Dale arrived, only the Bey of Tripoli had declared war on the United States. On the first day of August, the Enterprise, one of Dale's ships, came across a Tripolitan ship. The Enterprise engaged the Tripolitan ship in battle, and was victorious. The crew of the Enterprise then stripped the ship and sent it back to port, not sinking it or taking prisoners. Dale's orders had, however, authorized the taking of prisoners. The Enterprise had not taken any only because it was on a mission for supplies, water specifically, and could not afford to keep prisoners on board. This was a tactical consideration.(20)...
The U.S. had made clear more than two hundred years ago that any act of piracy against our nation would be met with all out war. With that draconian punishment in mind, it should come as no surprise that pirates have stayed away from American ships for more than two centuries. That was untial a few days ago when the Maersk was taken over by pirates.
Had this resolved in anything but each and every pirate killed and the hostage rescued, pirates would have been encouraged to do this again. Captain Richard Phillips wasn't the only one rescued today, but so were all Americans that will travel those waters for years to come.
Now, comes the more difficult part. Piracy has flourished over the last couple years because the punishment has been relatively light while the benefit has been enormous. On dozens of occasions, million dollar ransoms have been paid to pirates. That needs to stop now or more ships will still be taken. The whole entire civilized world must come together on a strategy that hunts these pirates wherever they are. Ralph Peters believes that each pirate must be hanged. That would ensure that future piracy is kept to a minimum. Whatever the response, it must swift and draconian, or piracy will continue to flourish.