Tuesday, March 18, 2008

two countries likely to make peace before Israel

i really do think this is the last time that i will refer to this one particularly ill-advised comment about peace in Israel before a certain leader of the free world leaves office.

it strikes me that recent developments indicate that there is a decent chance that two other countries that have long isolated themselves from at least some of their neighbors are likely to establish peaceful relations before Israel does (i don't mean to imply that it is an Israeli problem by referring to it this way. it is an international conflict. it is just easier to list one country instead of the many countries on the other side).

the two long hold-outs:

Cuba: Castro is out of office and his replacement, according to one reporter i heard on NPR, is much more moderate. this should be an easy one to resolve. nobody has any fundamental conflicts with Cuba and both sides have a lot to gain by improving relations. the US would gain major PR points for resolving a conflict long past it's ridiculous date. Cuba would gain access to fresh parts for their fleet of 1950s american autos. i honestly think this could be resolved in about 20 minutes if the right people got together for a round table discussion. i'd surprised if the current leader of the free world (or anyone else, really) could explain why we don't have peace with Cuba right now. momentum of history, i guess. there are probably more Cubans in Florida than there are in Cuba, so there don't seem to be any cultural barriers.

North Korea: we have talks, we have visits, we have cultural exchanges. there are families separated for decades. there fundamentally isn't a conflict, just a crazy dictator who is getting old. i haven't been old or crazy so far, so i can't speak to what his mindset might be, but he must see the comparative wealth in South Korea and the famine in his own country. i can only imagine that he wants to help his people. maybe as he sees his death approaching he will decide that he wants to be remembered as the man who re-united Korea, instead of as the man who caused the deaths of many, accomplished little, and then was replaced by the man who re-united Korea. i think all he needs is a deal that preserves his honor and status.

i'm not saying that either will achieve significant advances towards peace in the next nine months (the leader of the free world's deadline for a lasting peace in Israel), but i am willing to bet the house that both will establish lasting peaceful relations with all of their neighbors before Israel does.

1 comment:

Harsh(il) said...

It is usual American trend, at least when it comes to Presidents, to allude to the Israel-Palestine problem in the last year of their terms. So, we all know that what the Bush admin is saying is pure fodder for the silly. They are not going to do jack about it and they are not fooling anybody with their grandiose statements. This is somewhat of a distracted rant, but in other words, I agree with what you're saying.

On Cuba: Raul Castro is no less moderate than Fidel. During the Revolution in the 50's, he was the hard hitting man that stirred up unspeakable acts of violence that even made Che Guevera shudder. He is going to continue what his brother started. The only thing is that he is also quite old and so it might not be surprising to see a change in leadership in a few years. He can't publicly go against what Fidel has been doing and lose face. As to the conflict with the US, it is rather complicated. We gotta factor in the Cuban war missile crisis, Bay of Pigs disaster, the Cold War and the lovely cheques for renting Guantanamo that Fidel kept on his desk for fun. There is a level of pride on both sides and it is not going to get resolved unless both of them decide that its high time to move on. You won't see that until Raul is gone most likely and on the American side, depends who wins the election.

On NK: Get back to you on this one. Initial reactions - I don't think he cares how the world is going to portray him posthumously. It seems to be an issue of control and if this man had any regard for his people, he would've done something about it by now. One of my best friends, who happens to be Korean, is writing her thesis on NK. I'll get some professional help on this one :)

I agree that Cuban-US relations will most likely improve before Israel-Palestine, but I would be very hesitant to say the same about NK.