Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Friday, October 7, 2016



Two politicians made history in Bogota this week. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC Leaders Rodrigo Londono signed a peace accord, thus ending a Civil War that has dragged on for 46years. Thousands of citizens…all wearing white…chanted “Si a la Paz!” (Yes to Peace). They held hands and sang the National Anthem. Heck, even US Secretary of State John Kerry was there. “A historic day for Colombia,” he proudly proclaimed.

But Kerry needed to take his quote a step further. It’s a historic day for not just Colombia, but the entire Western Hemisphere. See, for the first time in 56 years, one half of the planet is without war. There are currently no armed political conflicts occurring in the Western Hemisphere. To be clear, there are still lots of regions in the Americas that are wrought with conflict. Drug violence reigns in Honduras and Guatemala. Slums in Venezuela and Brazil are ruled by gangs. The USA is plagued by violent racial strife. Yet none of these qualify as political, civil or international war.

Back to the events in Bogota. Hopefully, the agreement ushers in a new era of international harmony. It has happened before. After the end of World War II, a similar period of tranquility prevailed. And it lasted for fourteen years! Our ‘Pax Americana’ ended when Fidel Castro decided to overthrow Cuba’s Bautista Administration. For the next 56 years, conflicts popped up all over. From El Salvador’s internal strife to the far-off Falkland Island conflict, the Western Hemisphere has been marred with war.

However…compared to the angry Eastern Hemisphere…these conflicts are minimal. The other half of the world has been continually at war since 3500 BC! From ancient Roman Legions to the ravenous Mongolian Horde to the horrors of the Nazis, this side of the world just loves to fight. These days, the wars are concentrated in a giant swath. It starts with Nigeria’s Boko Harem, continues through South Sudan, runs into Yemen, Iraq and ends in Afghanistan, the world’s most chaotic nation.

But today, we savor the peace and prosperity that comes with a region without war. A certain US
Presidential candidate will tell you the world is “more dangerous than ever,” but the truth is quite the opposite. Worldwide, war is on the decline. Health standards are rising. Infant mortality is down. The events in Colombia need to be celebrated, not ignored. In fact, President Santos just might win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize…

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