Interesting article on the EU's military branch, the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP).
The French undoubtedly see the fight against piracy as an ideal venue for the application of EU military force. To put it crudely, nobody likes pirates, and nobody—legal niceties aside—really minds too much if you shoot them. Pirates represent a classic “enemy of humanity,” such that few of the messy questions associated with peacekeeping and peace enforcement (who’s the bad guy, are we doing more harm than good, and so forth) arise. Pirates excepted, everyone benefits from cracking down on piracy. And though pirates do shoot back, they present no serious challenge to a modern naval warship, meaning that the EU pays no price in blood. If the EU can conduct successful antipiracy operations, the military prestige of the organization will grow both inside and outside Europe.... For European domestic constituencies and international audiences, the EU presents a less menacing profile than the U.S.-led NATO, increasing its likelihood of success.|Europe vs. the Pirates - Foreign Policy|It certainly seems that NATO is a political hot button issue and I wonder if Russia's invasion of Georgia was, at least in part, a signal to Russia's neighbors that Russia will not tolerate NATO countries on its borders.
It is also interesting how piracy can affect nations. Robert Goodloe Harper's statement of “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute,” in reference to the Barbary Pirates was one of America's first overseas operations and also reflects our national disdain for corruption.