Is Arming Ship Crews the Answer?

The recent hijacking of an US-flagged ship and subsequent rescue of its captain by Navy SEAL sharpshooters has finally brought the ongoing piracy in the Gulf of Aden to the front of Americans' minds. While Somali piracy has been happening since the early 1990's, it has clearly escalated over the last few years. Given that the Gulf of Aden is part of the Suez Canal, avoiding it for shipping is not a viable option. Each year, 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden, including 12% of the world's oil supply. The Suez Canal was built because the alternatives were poor. With the almost complete absence of a functioning government in Somalia, expecting help from the land is a fool's hope. And sending troops ashore to deal with the pirates on land doesn't seem likely. Does anyone remember what happened the last time we had soldiers in Somalia?