Monday, February 5, 2018

PCG's Ron Fraser on Diplomacy in Colombia (2001)

Diplomacy does not appear to be so highly prized among PCG's 1% as may be seen in these passages from an article by PCG's Ron Fraser from 2001 discussing attempts by the Colombian government to negotiate with the main leftist insurgent group operating in the nation, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which had been waging an armed insurgency against the government since 1964. Fraser casually assumed the diplomacy would not work.
It was Margaret Thatcher who declared, “Never negotiate with a terrorist.” She knew that once a terrorist gained ground through receiving just one concession, he would stick to that gain like a limpet as a platform from which to gain more concessions. This is the vicious circle that enmeshes President Andrés Pastrana. It’s the same vortex into which those who have made concessions to Irish, Palestinian and Albanian terrorists now find themselves sucked. ... 
So! We have yet another “peace process” involving negotiations between a legitimate national government and an illegitimate group of terrorists. Yet again, the U.S. is the largest foreign dollar and military equipment contributor to one side. The U.S. administration is the prime supplier of intelligence, military training and advice to the national government of Colombia. Yet again, political forces are arrayed against the U.S., this time to take advantage of its absence at the bargaining table and position themselves to lay the blame for any failure of the process on American shoulders. Will the Colombian peace process turn into a mini-Vietnam for the U.S.? Another American folly? 
Chances are that unless Americans learn to deal with cause rather than effect, their continuing efforts at dealing with the insidious effects of narco-trafficking are doomed to failure. (Ron Fraser, America's Colombian Folly, May 2001.)
On November 24, 2016 the Colombian government and the FARC signed a peace agreement and as part of the peace deal the FARC disbanded as an armed force on June 27, 2017 and reorganized itself as a political party, the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.

Contrary to Fraser's harsh pessimism peace was made with the FARC. This is yet another failed prediction that PCG's leaders have made over the years.

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