Not that it solves everything or even that it solves anything, but there was something heartening today about seeing two news stories that addressed situations of friction and yet did not immediately involve killing somebody as a means of asserting a point of view.
In Afghanistan, a country where the United States has been unsuccessfully trying to assert its will for almost 10 years at a cost of close to $400 billion, an estimated 450 Taliban/insurgent prisoners escaped from prison in Kandahar after cohorts dug a 1,000-foot-plus tunnel into their compound. The tunnel bypassed security checkpoints and somehow the beefed-up security at the jail failed to detect that its population was roughly halved last night.
Elsewhere, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said that he and three other retired statesmen/women very much hoped to meet with the reclusive and iron-fisted North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to discuss both food aid and nuclear disarmament. North Korea, which is desperately poor and relies for cohesion on pointing out the threats posed by others, has a huge army, nuclear weapons and a propensity to create armed conflict as a means of assuring its legitimacy. Meanwhile, its people starve. Imagining that Carter and kin could talk North Korea into another frame of mind is probably imagining too much, but the effort is better than nothing.
Funny how nations resort to violence or the threat of violence as a means of holding their own. If the same amount of energy and money were put to constructive uses, I wonder what the results would be. It's pipe-dreaming, I know, but sometimes pipe dreams gather momentum.
In the meantime, of course, there are North Korea and the United States.