Traveling through Airports
I first began traveling in planes in the late 1960s during the height of the Vietnam War. Security was so light, even in wartime, that you used to be able to board the plane by arriving at the airport 10 minutes prior to take off, rush to the plane, and even pay for the ticket on board. This was wartime. The stewardesses were friendlier and the airlines were more generous in those days with food. Here we are 40 years hence. Nowadays, in some airports, you have to arrive 3 hours before your flight, you can’t even take a bottle of water on board, and they practically strip search you before you are allowed to step onto the plane. I am not saying that the security measures are not necessary. I am sure, for instance, that theft in airports has decreased as a result of tighter security and this can be seen as a positive, but I wonder if there is another strategy to stop terrorism and promote peace that we haven’t yet discovered. We know from the lessons of history that the embrace of our former enemies is inevitable. Is it possible that because our focus is so much on stopping terrorism with tighter security that we may be overlooking the processes that will bring us together with our terrorist enemies? There is an interesting film out now called “Breach” which is the story of how the FBI discovered a man within its own organization that was selling secrets to the enemy, the former Soviet Union. What I found remarkable about the film was that long after the US and the former Soviet Union had become peacetime allies; he was still selling secrets to the Russians. He was actually convicted not when the Soviets were our enemies, but when we had already embraced them as allies. His crimes, no doubt deserved great punishment, which he received, but there is a kind of irony in his capture. We are spending billions of dollars each year around the world for tighter security to protect us during our travels, but how much do we spend on the equally important processes that would accelerate the embrace of our enemies. What are the core activities that accelerate embracing people as our friends that could compliment the function of governments to protect is citizens from criminals and terrorists and how can we do both at the same time?