WSF – The cliche, Africa Wins Again, comes to mind. Other than the piracy problem, do we have any vital interests there?
I’m not sure how vital our interest is in stopping piracy. It’s a bigger problem for other nations than it is for the US, and we can strike the coast with impunity and wipe out pirate lairs at will. US national will is the issue. But the Chinese or the Japanese or the British could do the same. Naval gunfire can do a lot of damage. US aircraft can do a better job, but it’s a matter of degree. Naturally the American press decries any punishment of pirates as ‘racist’.
The latest reliable GDP numbers for Somalia is $5.896 billion in 2010. Even that number is suspect to me. To compare, the Arizona GDP was $355 billion in 2018 according to BEA data. Your (WSF) state of Colorado’s GDP was $377 billion. The California GDP was $3 trillion. The island of Guam (US Territory) had a $6 billion GDP. If it should capsize, its GDP would be less than Somalia. At least 30% of the Somali GDP is derived from foreign aid from all sources including the UN. They probably earn about the same in piracy in a good year. Lately international pressure and military attacks on pirates has reduced income from that industry.
A small rural county in Arizona produces significantly more than the entire nation of Somalia.
The only thing that Somalia had going for it was the production of small quantities of uranium, gemstones and salt. Non US companies have mining concessions regionally in Somalia, but it would be interesting to know if the cost of extracting (including necessary security) yields much of a profit.
When the central Government collapsed in 1991, documents certifying mineral rights were destroyed, and today, nobody is sure who owns what. Bribes to government officials can get you regional mining concessions since only the central government can authorize mining rights as a matter of law.
So, you can presume that there isn’t much of value in Somalia. The only significant export could be said to be terrorism but even their terrorist al-Qeada affiliate states that it is only interested in East Africa.
LSP – Thanks for the briefing and it’s weird to think of Minneapolis as Little Mogadishu, but there it is. Trouble.
President Obama might have cited the value of Somalia rested in its people. And you could make of that what you will. I don’t think that the US Army personnel who died there in 1993 would agree with Barack.
I think that my thesis holds that the country isn’t even worth the price of a single nuclear weapon.