Great Green Monster

(a letter to the Boston Red Sox baseball team)

Hello Red Sox,

As you are aware, the very youthful climate ­activist Greta Thunberg is now in the USA after sailing across the Atlantic. She is bringing a message, ­and encouraging young people to get actively involved in solving the climate crisis. I wonder if the Red Sox might be encouraged to use one of your own iconic symbols to support her and help the global climate campaign along.

The Sahel is a a belt of desert extending 3,360 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean along the southern part of the Sahara, with one of the fastest growing populations in the world.) Some years ago a large project was launched to create a belt of trees completely across Africa to block the southward encroachment of the desert. The “Great Green Wall” never fulfilled such hopes, but Senegal, Niger, and Burkina Faso have nevertheless become remarkably green, under the management of local farmers, by modifying traditional agricultural techniques. Here’s a Smithsonian article about the Great Green Wall:


So what do you think? Might the great Red Sox team put their backs into some Great Green Wall/ Green Monster campaign, and help revitalize climate-safe farming methods, maybe encourage the world to plant several billion trees? Your organization might stimulate invaluable enthusiasm and I think it would be a wonderful contribution.

Go Sox,

Robin Collins,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

One Cheer for Trump?

We can all feel a bit safer now that John Bolton has been fired. Trump did the right thing in getting rid of the belligerent war monger, but of course one has to ask why he hired such a maniac in the first place. It’s not like Bolton’s extreme views were a secret. Just a few months before his appointment last year he had published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling for the overthrow of the Iran government and had urged action to end the regime in North Korea.

The firing of Bolton was probably Trump’s way of diverting attention from his latest high pro-life diplomatic disaster, the collapse of negotiations with the Taliban. After months of talks to reach an initial agreement, the deal collapsed when the White House proposed to bring Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani together at Camp David. Trump’s gambit for a dramatic high-level photo op at the famous presidential retreat failed miserably.

Not that the deal being negotiated was much to cheer about. From what is known about the draft text, it was certainly not a ‘peace agreement’. The deal was merely an understanding between the U.S. military and the Taliban for American troops to start withdrawing, in exchange for unspecified Taliban assurances that Afghan territory would not be used to launch terror attacks against the U.S. It reportedly included “localized truces” but no cease fire, and had no clear pathway for engaging the Kabul government or assuring the involvement of civil society.

But the talks with the Taliban were at least a beginning, and could serve as a future foundation for broader and deeper dialogue to end the killing and negotiate an eventual power-sharing formula. Trump said the talks are dead, but hopefully the dialogue can resume in the months ahead and evolve into a genuine peace process. That may be easier now that Bolton is out of the picture.

David Cortright

Peace Magazine Oct-Dec 2019

Peace Magazine Oct-Dec 2019, page 5. Some rights reserved.

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