You’re troubled about the history of Latin America, right? You’re a nuclear weapons wonk (you’re reading this blog, aren’t you?) and that means that you must spend time poring over the extraordinary history of Latin America. Right?
As I’m sure you’re all aware, no Latin American countries have fought a war with each other since 1942. Seventy years of uninterrupted peace. It’s extraordinary, no? I’m sure you ponder its significance late at night as you toss and turn.
What? You don’t? You didn’t even know that there had been a Latin American Long Peace? But surely this extended period of peace has crucial significance for nuclear weapons. After all, people point to the extended period of peace in Europe and between the US and Russia and draw important conclusions from it. The Long Peace in Europe matters. So the Latin American Long Peace must be equally important. Right?
Of course, the Latin American Long Peace has nothing to do with nuclear weapons. No reasonable case can be made that the peace there is the result of nuclear arsenals. People in the region talk don’t about the key role that nuclear weapons have played in maintaining this peace. You could argue that the US nuclear umbrella created the circumstances for the Latin American Long Peace, but there is as much evidence for that as the notion that it results from the magic that flows out from the “peace penny” that my Grandfather gave me.
There have been, in history, periods of peace. Sometimes quite long periods of peace. Why is it that we ignore most of them and attach enormous significance to the “Long Peace” between the US and Russia? We are sure the “Long Peace” has vital meaning for nuclear weapons policies.
If you’re going to draw important policy conclusions from periods of peace, doesn’t it make sense to study all of them?