The Admiral was not a man to believe in coincidences. He was certain they happened, but in an abstract sort of way, the way one is aware that somewhere someone will win the lottery. It will happen, but almost certainly never to you.
“The price of grain is down in the Americas,” he mused to no one.
He was alone in his carriage of course, but the thought came aloud unbidden.
“Grain is down and tensions are high in the Americas,” He said to the empty seat across from him. He imagined himself seated there, retorting, “so what?”
“Low prices on food means surplus; means more spending money; means happier people. Happy people don’t start wars on a whim. So why the trouble at the border?” the Admiral explained, (still to no one).
“Best reports say armed Spanish farmers crossed the border first. The most likely culprit is racism,” his invisible double replied, “The oldest excuse. The Spaniards have always resented the resurgent Inca, and blamed them for Bolivar’s success. Seems simple enough to me.”
“Farmers?” the Admiral was frowned, “Racism maybe, but racism as a rallying cry for something more mundane. A farmer is the only man to resent a surplus of his crop. Lower prices means a thinner margin. Thinner margins makes a man resent his competition. Hatred born of sour grapes but justified by racism. All the more ridiculous given the Inca don’t grow the same staples as the Spanish for the most part.”
“And yet that Spanish Admiral,” the ghost mused.
“And yet the Spanish Admiral. This could get out of hand very quickly if cooler heads don’t prevail,” the Admiral tapped his cane on the floor of the carriage as this thought.
“Our operation in Panama will help, no doubt,” the empty seat said reassuringly.
“Forestalling the inevitable, I fear,” the Admiral frowned, “The peace in the Americas was never built to last. Stop gap after stop gap, but the Inca and Spanish are destined to fight the next great war over some damn stupid thing in Colombia.”