Something weird happens to your perspective on the outside world when you're mid-edit, in front of a computer day in, day out, working on something pertinent to current affairs but contrasting heavily with them.
I tend to keep open on the screen one window on a news feed. It sits there side by side with the editing software and it's extraordinary how one informs the other. Check out any newsfeed you like and every day a minimum of the first three stories are directly related to leadership - a criminal's sentence is too light, austerity measures, the Euro crisis, intervention in Syria... all of it boiling down to addressing a simple question - where are our leaders taking us? The underlying question of "Why?" hovering somewhere in the background.
Yesterday, in one window, Time magazine's recently anointed "King of Israel", Benjamin Netanyahu surfaced (who knew the power of Time Inc extended to the divine right?) having vowed to complete construction of a new fence along Israel's border with Egypt within months. Next to him was the rough cut of President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica saying it's easier to wage war than make peace but that dialogue can be a miraculous thing - then watching him sign a deal which defied US President Ronald Reagan to stop the wars in Central America. He brought peace to an entire region despite his country not having an army - the only thing he had in his arsenal was political will. (watch the trailer for The Price of Kings: Film 3 - Oscar Arias below).
Oscar Arias meeting with Ronald Reagan
It brought back memories of sitting with Oscar Arias and Jo (on one of the few occasions we weren't arguing) asking him to take spend time in the Middle East - maybe prod the quartet, Netanyahu and Co. He gave a weary sigh, shook his head and smiled. It's all about political will.
Meeting with Oscar Arias in his home in Costa Rica
Almost immediately afterwards the next feed showed Tony Blair at the Leveson enquiry. Blair hasn't been in my consciousness for an age - in the adjacent window on screen Oscar Arias is in the oval office with Ronald Reagan. The Bush-Blair relationship comes to mind. Hit the play button and the US President is berating Arias for believing he can get a man like Danny Ortega (Nicaraguan President) to sign a peace deal - let alone stick to it. Despite Costa Rica's economic dependence on the US for aid, Arias refuses to go along with a military solution, refuses to allow US military advisors on his soil. When Oscar Arias discovers Ronald Reagan is secretly operating an airstrip they'd promised to close in Costa Rica he digs holes in the runway and puts it out of action. Blair's never been shy to say he believed in regime change Iraq but the question of his alignment with Bush regarding military intervention couldn't have been thrown into sharper relief by Oscar Arias.
Oscar Arias being greeted by the Dalai Lama
Watch the series trailer at the homepage, and watch the trailer for Film 3 - Oscar Arias below.