There's no doubt that Obama is an astute politician. But let's hope that he's learned something through this episode -- that is, words and negotiations aren't always enough to solve a problem, especially when one is dealing with international outlaws. A few Navy SEALs were able to bring a swift (and to my mind, highly satisfactory) conclusion to a "negotiation" that was going nowhere fast.
Of course, given that Captain Phillips' death appeared to be imminent -- and those at the scene could see this clearly -- the decision to act was relatively easy. But what about the situations like North Korea or Iran, where international outlaws are working to be able, figuratively, to put a gun to the head of the entire world -- but aren't doing so in plain sight? The decision to act may be less clear-cut, but at some point, it's no less urgent.