Saturday, August 4, 2007

Fortified Streets

By chance, I walked past the US Embassy Friday. Like all American Embassies, it was very institutional, a walled fortress.
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Most other countries have very inviting embassies, usually more like mansions, like the Egyptian embassy, across the park from the American:
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One thing was particularly weird. It is located at a major intersection that has evolved into a multi-level roundabout. The main road goes underneath. If you need to turn from the bigger road onto the smaller, you take an exit and go around the roundabout. The embassy is located right on this exit, which is now closed to traffic with a guard house and gate, so no one can make this turn anymore. At some point, (after 9/11?) the US government must have told Ecuador that they had close the road for "security." Of course you comply with the Americans, even if it's a permanent inconvenience. I kind of doubt the US would allow Ecuador to close the DC streets around its embassy.

Two blocks later I walked past the "Tribunal Constitucional," a big office tower and noted its level of security.
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You could drive right by it. No wall, no barricades. There were half a dozen guards standing around in front of the building, but in a country where every apartment building and fancy clothing store has its own armed guard, that isn't so much. While hospitals are behind fences, and the nicer houses are walled with broken glass protruding from the top, the government buildings I've seen are pretty "exposed."

What do we, America, have to do not to have our interests in danger of being bombed in every country on earth? Maybe we should look to the many countries that don't worry about security the way we do. What are they doing differently?

1 comment:

SLC said...

"I kind of doubt the US would allow Ecuador to close the DC streets around its embassy."

haha! I doubt it too. Keep up the blogs.