Inshallah and Ojalá: Op-Ed by Dean Stavridis on How Lessons in Colombia Can Apply to the Arab World

Foreign Policy

Dean Stavridis The Fletcher School

A 50-year ideological struggle, hundreds of thousands killed, millions displaced, mass graves, murder, rape, torture, a virulent insurgency threatening the overthrow of the entire social order, a rebel enclave carved out of the heart of a big nation. It sounds a lot like the Middle East today, but the grim tale of the tape also applies to the beautiful Andean nation of Colombia over the past half-century.

Today, however, there is enormous progress in Colombia. And it's worth pausing, if not to celebrate these accomplishments quite yet, then at least to consider the lessons we might apply as we grapple with seemingly intractable problems across the Arab world.

…Clearly, something has changed over the past decade. Could what has worked in Colombia be applicable in the turbulent Middle East, or for that matter in other conflict-ridden areas of the world, including parts of Africa and Asia?

Here are some key takeaways that provide lessons for places elsewhere around the globe:

Read the full op-ed

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