Let’s not have a trade war with Colombia
The developments around the former Howard Air Force Base, many of Panama’s banks and countless legitimate small businesses run by Panama’s large Colombian minority add up to billions of dollars of proper and beneficial investments in this country. Yes, money launderers and other Colombian racketeers are active here too, but while the money they move through Panama is substantial the numbers of these people is a small fringe of the Colombian community that lives among us.
The Colombian government has legitimate grievances about its losses due to money laundering through Panama, and we have legitimate grievances about our merchants’ losses due to Colombian protectionist measures against clothing and shoes coming though the Colon Free Zone. But the ever more frequent expressions of xenophobia, the stereotyping on both sides and the escalating measures and counter-measure do neither Panamanians nor Colombians any favors.
The two countries’ governments should calm down and go back to the negotiating table. It’s in our mutual interest to resolve our differences in a more amicable fashion than we have seen.
More or less on cue…
The disgraced former chair of the Democratic National Committee, facing a primary challenge in her bid to be re-elected to the US House of Representatives, blasted her challenger, law professor Tim Canova, for advocating a general disarmament in the Middle East. This, Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, endangers the State of Israel.
Promptly, within a matter of a few hours, Saudi jets dropping US-made bombs attacked a hospital in Yemen, killing at least 11 people. It was the fourth Saudi bombing of a Yemeni hospital in the past year and a half. There was money to be made in manufacturing and selling those bombs, enough of it spread around by lobbyists to get bipartisan Washington support for the arming of a vicious Sunni jihad against the Shia, led by the country from whence most of those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001 came.
The time when those who object to this sort of US policy in the Middle East are vilified as favoring a massacre of Jews ought to be over. Especially so, because the flow of US arms into that troubled region of the world hasn’t really solved anything. Sure, US drone strikes have driven the jihadis of the Islamic State out of positions that they held — so they retreated, taking their many US-made weapons with them. There may be arguments for selected and discrete arms shipments to this or that nation or faction, in the interest of US national security or fending off genocide. But what’s happening now has little to do with those things. It’s just big business that makes a lot of money for a few companies but doesn’t really serve ordinary Americans.
Bear in mind…
Terrorism as a Word and Epithet (2016)
The Crimes of the Stalin Era (1956)
Robinson v. California (1962)
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