Now that negotiators have walked to the brink and returned with signed documents on two major international crises—Iran’s nuclear program and Greece’s debt—it’s time to look at another historic diplomatic effort that appears to be hanging by a thread: peace talks aimed at ending the world’s longest-running conflict, the war between the Colombian government and the FARC insurgency.
The war has already lasted half a century, outliving countless revolutionary movements in poor countries and outlasting the Soviet-led push for a global workers’ revolution by decades. In the past three years, much of the contest has shifted from battlefields in the Colombian countryside to a negotiating table in Cuba, where both sides have tried to hammer out a comprehensive deal to bring an end to generations of fighting.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has made the peace process the centerpiece of his administration. But to put it bluntly, it’s not going well.