We can all agree that East African pirates are the new role models in a world with few economic options. But even though they have their own PR man, their wanton buccaneering is starting to give them image problems in some quarters. The media loves them, but world governments would like to blow them out of the water. Don't underestimate that old pirate savvy, though. They're going populist!

Instead of hijacking things like oil tankers, which will eventually make us all pay higher gas prices, they're going after the rich. Their most recent target was the M/S Nautica, a "luxury American cruise ship steaming across the Gulf of Aden with hundreds of well-heeled tourists." In these troubled times people resent the rich, so this should do a lot for the pirates' popularity. (They've been doing this for months now).

The Queen Mary 2, the world's fanciest boat, might even be forced to change its sailing plans. For fear of pirates! Inspiring fear amongst the wealthy will only inspire admiration for the pirates amongst the masses. Even Blackwater, the shady commando firm, is planning a new anti-pirate venture. Who likes Blackwater? Not the masses!

Also, don't go sailing in the Gulf of Aden any time soon. [NYP]