James Forsyth

Civis Americanus sum

Civis Americanus sum
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It is immensely cheering news that the US ship’s captain who was being held by pirates off the coast of Somalia has been rescued by the US Navy. When one considers the resources and firepower the US was prepared to send to the area to free this citizen one can’t help but be reminded of the peroration of Palmerston’s speech during the Don Pacifico debate:

“whether, as the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity, when he could say Civis Romanus sum; so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England, will protect him against injustice and wrong.”

One only hopes that the international community will now take real action against these pirate gangs; there are still more than 250 people being held hostage by them. This is one of those rare cases where the interests of the US, the Europeans, India, Russia, China and the Gulf states really are in alignment. All have an interest in keeping the shipping lanes open.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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