When the late Martin McGuinness spoke of preparing for the long war he implicitly knew Clausewitz’s dictum that war is politics by another means. Having confounded Thatcher and divided London from Washington while Soviet propaganda raged on about Apartheid and Sun City, the IRA knew its weakness, of recurring fracturing and Scotland Yard’s communication devices hidden throughout northern Ireland. As the long war got hotter, London’s position was strengthened; but the sources underwriting the IRA’s political wing remained a steel trap. Evidenced in the satanic genocidal campaign of hunger striking, the IRA moved aggressively to consolidate its hold upon the Irish psyche. No one should ever forget the strategic and tactical ruthless Leninist like work of the hunger strikers. Their goal was to capture and harness the minds of an easily fractured Irish republicanism toward open confrontation with London.
What can Dublin teach Bogota?
As Colombia’s terrorist group known by the acronym FARC fields presidential candidates for the 2018 election, Imelda Daza, the vice presidential candidate has harnessed upon a rubric of inclusive governance. Identical to Lenin’s claim of ‘all power to the Soviets‘; a refrain revealing more weakness than strength. She’s galloping toward promises that will fail. Proposing a government to overcome poverty, hunger and education, she’s Che without the haughty asthmatic mien. Even still, a terrorist network that openly colludes with Iranian Shia in human trafficking and cocaine, FARC and its newly minted leader Rodrigo Londono (aka Timochenko) are responsible for displacing nearly 7 million Colombians with over 200,000 killed.
The FARC candidacy is an outrage to Colombians. There are lessons here about the limits to idealism, especially the kind forged in war.
Nevertheless, FARC is guaranteed 10 seats for the next two election cycles under current peace accord rubrics signed last year under President Juan Manuel Santos. The only sane voice speaking authoritatively for working Colombian’s is its former president Alvaro Uribe.
Pakistan is going through identical domestic maneuvers in publicly wrangling jihadi’s into public office. This is a long way from Mohammed Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan, but it may be the only way out for Islamabad. Both nations reveal a startling similarity: both remain weak states, with fragile borders and volatile ethnic rivalries.
For Colombia to win in its open hand toward FARC, Bogota needs stronger governance with clear mandated leadership. This mean a functioning economy that rears the Colombian interior out from trafficking and cash crops. It means openly confronting small right wing paramilitaries. It also means coming to terms with FARC’s political legitimacy. This isn’t something the IRA had to do, but FARC does. How it openly engages a stalwart public will tell if it relinquished its Leninist hold on power.
For America to win in Colombia, we need to strike at the heart of Tehran and begin rolling up American enemies in the near abroad that has always found a home throughout Latin America.