Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pressing the Advantage

Who said that giving no quarter to your enemies didn't work? After decades of failed attempts by the Colombian government to eradicate the Marxist rebel group FARC, it looks like it might collapse after the surrender of (some of) its leaders yesterday. This has to be heartening news to the Bush Administration give its current struggles in Iraq and the support they've given President Uribe. It's great to see that something is actually happening in Colombia. They've had decades of low-level guerrilla action that led to such 80s classics as the movie Romancing the Stone and the Tom Clancy novel Clear and Present Danger, but even with the pop culture contribution, it's been a tough and bad road for the Colombians. Part of that has been their own fault. Successive administrations weren't tough enough on FARC and there is a very real level of public support for these Marxist groups. For some reason they are extraordinarily popular in South America. Be it their populist rhetoric, their actual beliefs, or the connection to Che Guevara, they've stuck around and thrived in many places. Nevertheless, I see this as almost the end of their threat to Colombia. Even with the help of Hugo Chavez and his gang of banana republic dictators, Uribe has said no more and taken the fight to them across the borders if necessary. Eliminating that safe haven has really been one of the catalysts for this decision. If you can't hide, it's probably better to just surrender than to be wiped off the planet.

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