A part of an article about trade between Colombia and China seems to be stuck in my mind. The article begins like this:
Colombia has announced it is negotiating with China to build an alternative to the Panama Canal.The proposed transport route is intended to promote the flow of goods between Asia and Latin America.
The plan is to create a "dry canal" where the Pacific port of Buenaventura would be linked by rail, across Colombia, to the Atlantic Coast. Complete story.
But what sticks in my mind is way down towards the bottom of the story:
Mr Uribe's Democratic Security Policy, backed by US military aid, is credited with halving the numbers of Marxist rebels and pushing them into the more remote jungles and mountains.
Mr Santos is concentrating on what he calls "democratic prosperity", our correspondent says.
He hopes that economic development will address some of the root issues of the 46-year civil conflict, such as poverty and the lack of opportunities, which have pushed people into being rebels or into the lucrative drug trade, our correspondent says. (emphasis added)
Of course it's all wishful thinking at the moment, but it's the kind of wishful thinking that makes me wonder if the Israelis might put it to work with the Palestinians or the United States might employ it in the quest to, uh, pacify Iraq or Afghanistan or Iran.
"Terrorism" is such a politically-convenient enemy. In Fiscal Year 2010, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was allocated $42.7 billion and spent $56.4 billion, according to Wikipedia. That's quite a lot of money and it is hard not to wonder what would happen if even half the amount were spent on the "root issues" rather than drones and body armor and maimed Americans. It would require patience and, worse, thinking, but pushing people around hasn't seemed to accomplish much and manipulating an electorate through fear only assures re-election for so long, so maybe schools and jobs and trade opportunities could accomplish something positive for the 'Homeland' and undermine the bases on which "terrorists" make their stand. True, like suckers, there is an asshole born every minute and greed is a terrific motivator, but just as a possibility ... how about spending for what might build instead of just for what destroys ineffectively?