I hate golf. I cannot think of a sport I hate worse than golf. I would rather watch curling than golf. If I had to choose between a colonoscopy and 9-holes of golf, I would pick the colonoscopy.
Haass made an impression on me regarding golf courses, though. As much as I hate golf, I like geography. Looking for evidence of how peace manifests itself in the world, looking for examples of what brings nations together and unifies people rather than divides people is important to me.
While I loathe golf and much as I loathe mosquitoes, the presence of a golf course, or golf courses, can suggest that countries are more similar in some ways than we would normally believe.
The image above is of a golf course in Kumgang, North Korea. Yes, they do play golf in North Korea. Just who plays golf in North Korea is another story, which I have no idea who is writing. A South Korean company built the golf course in North Korea. Who says those two sides do not talk?
Golf courses can be found around the world, in odd and disparate places. Like Kashmir. And Cuba. And, yes, for a little while any way, Venezuela.
The thing with golf courses is that they are associated with wealth, power, and privilege. Not all countries have them, some want them, and countries that have them or want them tend not to fight each other – The Fairway Theory of Conflict Management.
Haass also addresses another peace-encouraging circumstance, the presence of McDonald’s. He cites one of my favorite authors, Thomas Friedman, who postulates that countries with McDonalds tend not to be aggressive towards other countries that also are blessed with McDonalds – The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Management.
So, next time you are chasing your dimpled adversary around the links, take a look around you. What country are you in? Who are you competing against? Is flogging for business or pleasure? The answers may give you some insight in just how well the world is progressing.