Pubdate: Wed, 27 Sep 2000
Source: Bangor Daily News (ME)
Copyright: 2000, Bangor Daily News Inc.
Author: Debra Sund
Note: The line "Boyatt said he is leaning toward legalizing the use of such 
drugs as marijuana and cocaine." towards the end of this item.


PRESQUE ISLE -- A former ambassador to Colombia said Tuesday he worries 
daily that the peace and prosperity the United States enjoys will disappear 
because of the disarming of the country's army, intelligence and diplomatic 
segments of government.

Speaking at the season's first business breakfast at the University of 
Maine at Presque Isle, Thomas D. Boyatt said that the Cold War between the 
U.S.S.R and the United States kept things very simple with their nuclear 
arsenals pointed at each other.

"The two superpowers kept order," said Boyatt, ambassador to Colombia from 
1980 to 1983.

Now with the Soviet Union a country of the past and the United States in 
"retreat," he said the order and influence associated with those two 
countries, is gone.

Boyatt is the first speaker at the university under the Woodrow Wilson 
Visiting Fellows Program.

In addition to speaking to businesspeople, Boyatt was scheduled to address 
several UMPI classes this week and deliver a public lecture on the United 
States and Europe in the 20th Century at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at the 
Campus Center.

During his talk on Tuesday, Boyatt, who has been in businesses for himself 
the last 15 years, said he believes that free trade and prosperity foster 

"Countries won't go to war because they trade together," said Boyatt.

The former ambassador compared today's economic climate with that of the 
world 200 years ago when Great Britain's influence was felt internationally.

With the sudden paradigm shift caused by the advent of steam power and 
electricity, wealth increased.

Ideas and capital moved around the globe at a speed previously unknown, 
Boyatt said. Governments were weak, with commercial companies running the 
economic expansion.

But toward the end of the 1800s, governments became stronger and made 
alliances with other political entities. Then came World War I, ending 
Europe's role as a major player in global events, said Boyatt.

In today's society, there's another paradigm shift with the coming of 
computers and the Internet.

"It has changed things forever," said Boyatt. "The world is never going to 
be the same."

The superpower today is the United States, but governments again are weak.

Business is the energy behind the Internet's expansion, and revenue is 
moving around at the speed of the light, said the ambassador.

"The world is much more efficiently run that it ever has," said Boyatt.

But the former diplomat is worried that it won't last.

"Out there somewhere is an 800-pound gorilla," said Boyatt, speculating 
that there is a force that will disrupt the current peace and prosperity.

It may be militant Islam, Japan or China, he said.

"I hate to see us make the same mistakes [that resulted in World War I]."

The ambassador also said more corruption exists in governments than in 
multinational corporations.

"Corruption is inefficient and just adds all to the cost [of doing 
business]," said Boyatt.

Free-market economies, he said, help keep the peace. "Rarely do democracies 
attack each other," said Boyatt.

Trade with Cuba, he said, should be opened up, which could hasten Castro's 
downfall. "Castro is an anachronism," said the ambassador. "He just doesn't 
matter anymore. On the world stage, he's irrelevant."

Boyatt said he is leaning toward legalizing the use of such drugs as 
marijuana and cocaine.

Curbing the illegal drug trade will only be successful if the demand goes 
away, regardless of government efforts, he said.

"Governments do something because they need to do something, not because 
they think it will work," said Boyatt. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake