Arias out of bounds

Juan Santamaría, the pacifist.

Sometimes, almost-former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias is insufferable. He has this schtick where he travels around the world preaching that other countries should abolish their militarys like Costa Rica did, and then the world will be a better place.

No doubt it would be, but this is exactly the kind of self-regarding smugness that makes the rest of Central America hate the Ticos. Now Uruguay hates the Ticos too, after Arias decided he has a better idea for how they should run their affairs:

“I’m going to ask President Mujica to consider abolishing his army. Why does Uruguay need an army? Who is Uruguay’s enemy? Is Argentina going to invade, is Brazil going to invade?” Arias said in an interview.

“I’m going to write a letter to President Mujica to ask him to consider what we considered in 1948, when we asked ourselves, what do we need an army for? Why don’t we get rid of it, and declare peace with the world? I certainly think that Uruguay could do the same,” added Arias, who holds a Nobel Peace Prize.

Wow, what a great idea, what could possibly go wrong? I guess this argument might make sense to a country that’s never been in a conflict with powerful, well-armed neighbors (a few dozen of William Walker’s drunks crossing the border from Nicaragua doesn’t count). Historically, however, it’s a deeply hypocritical position because when facing conflict, Costa Rica invariably hides under the skirts of someone else’s military.

During the conflict between the Sandinistas and the Contras, Costa Rica sold out its peace principles immediately to allow the U.S. government to operate clandestinely from its northern border, in exchange for billions of dollars in aid money. Similarly, faced with massive amounts of drug trafficking both along its coasts and in the air, defenseless Costa Rica has turned time and again to the U.S. Navy and Air Force to bail it out.

I guess criticizing your neighbor for buying fire and flood insurance is pretty easy when you rent.

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This entry was posted in Costa Rica, Politics, Uruguay and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

3 Comments

  1. Posted March 28, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    good analysis and I really enjoyed that zinger at the end.

  2. Omar Uddin
    Posted March 31, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    According to Wikipedia, Arias reformed the Costa Rican educational system by, among other things, reintroducing standardized testing. I *knew* there was a reason I would hate him. I mean, beyond the smugness and self-righteous wankerdom.

  3. Peter Krupa
    Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    wankerdom is my new favorite word.

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  1. [...] a casual note, I would point out again that for all the Costa Rican smugness about not having an army, they do a pretty good job of [...]

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