Saturday, August 12, 2006

Once-over of ominous outlook...

Nuclear Threat InitiativeAre we heading for a 'real war'? ...with the UN resolution signed, hopefully not. This is my third post today! ...and all about Hugo Chavez the love me/hate me Venezuelan President. The first two re Orinoco OilandOpposition Options were national (to Venezuela obviously!), this one is international and, as the title of the post and the first sentence suggest, it's serious. There's lots more...

I'm a bit concerned: he's getting worse and he's getting dangerous. The clowning is taking many twists and turns that should have us starting to worry about where this is all leading. This letter and Chavez's genocide comments only add to that worry. There wasn't much condemnation of Chavez's very untrue and ridiculous comment but ironically GWB's comment re Islamic–Fascists gets immediate reports from offended Muslims condemning what is essentially true!Little surprise then that last week saw tit-for-tat envoys/ambassadors being recalled.

Back in May when Chavez came to London Red Ken said this: "For many years people have demanded that social progress and democracy go hand in hand, and that is exactly what is now taking place in Venezuela." And I have tended to agree with the way he is sowing the oil. However I stressed that his clowning on the international stage was tedious and unnecessary; now it is becoming more threatening.


First we had the 'mad' Mercosur Summit (from The Economist) where Bolivia was invited to join [Evo Morale's] voice would strengthen the stridently anti-American chorus led by Mr Chávez. Mercosur is becoming an anti-imperialist "political block", says Pedro da Motta Veiga, a trade consultant in Rio de Janeiro. It may now split between a pragmatic camp, led by Brazil, and Mr Chávez's ideological one.
While the world was focused on the tragic events taking place in Lebanon and northern Israel, something very disturbing happened in South America last week.

MERCOSUR: ¿Se Han Vuelto Locos? (Spanish version) So, have the Mercosur countries all gone bananas? Yes. So says Alvaro Vargas Llosa Special to washingtonpost.com (same, in English)Forget the fact that Chavez is offering to supply natural gas to the Southern Cone countries through a 5,000-mile pipeline. What are really driving these countries are an inferiority complex, ideological adultery and an economic misconception. Not only that but...

Adding insult to the injury, Mercosur invited Fidel Castro to the summit and signed a "trade" deal with him that was more political than commercial.

This summit performance was followed by Mr. C’s embarking on a two-week world tour: Chavez wants to become a world power broker as a member of the Security Council. The seat would also make him the voice of Latin America at the U.N., naturally the USA favours the Guatemalan bid; his world tour to gather allies for a geopolitical counterbalance to the U.S.
First however, he went to Russia to buy arms, a Weapons Deal Represents Kremlin's Assertiveness to Counter U.S. Influence says the Wall Street Journal. "The arms deal appears to be a move by Mr. Chávez to keep his military commanders fat and happy as he vies for regional leadership in Latin America. During his presidency, the Venezuelan navy and air force in particular have been starved for new equipment because Mr. Chávez doesn't trust the officers in those services."...'nuff' said!
"Moscow sees little prospect for a military or strategic alliance with Mr. Chávez, but the timing of his visit was meant to send a message to Washington,"...basically if the US can be best buddies with Georgia we can do the same with Chavez...it’s all a game. Also these arms deals don’t threaten the USA directly (militarily) but they will play some part - a negative influence? - in the balance of the region, "particularly since, as the State Department has observed, the weapons exceed Venezuela's defensive needs."
His visit also took him to Belarus where the EU have extended sanctions but where Hugo says:
"Belarus is a model of a social state, which we are also building,"
And he is perfectly happy to express his wishes for a pact against the US. "The number of countries in the world which resist the forces of dictatorship is growing," said Lukashenko, standing alongside him [Chavez] at the military academy"...'resist the forces of dictatorship'...oh the irony! The Washigton Times Editorial on July 28 (Chavez, Putin and Tehran) put it very well (hehehe):
"That Mr. Chavez made a new friend in Alexander Lukashenko means only that the isolated Belarussian dictator may now count his friends with two fingers instead of one."
More from that editorial later. All that said possibly the most worrying is the Iranian connection. Not that being there is bad in itself (no problem there, been a few times myself) or even trading/ increasing trade between the two countries... in his recent visit he was on about anti-imperialism (no change there then) but Chavez also said this:
"We will stand beside Iran in every time and occasion and under every circumstance,"

When Chavez and the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with the 'supreme leader' Ayatollah Khamenei the Ayatollah said "Today all the Arab and Muslim nations are supporting Hezbollah. Since it is resisting America and the Zionist regime, the leader of Hezbollah has become the people's favourite person all over the world," Remember here that recently Iranian troops were among the Hezbollah combat dead...in fact remember also that Iranian engineers were at the missile launch in North Korea. On the tour [Chavez] had "originally intended to visit North Korea as part of his global whistle-stop tour but Venezuela's National Assembly did not ratify a stop off in Pyongyang on this occasion. "I'm relieved he's not going to North Korea this time," a Venezuelan official said. "The timing would have been difficult given that North Korea is in the spotlight of the international community." Back to Iran...and as Iranmania.com tells us:
Referring to President Chavez stances on the world issues, Ayatollah Khamenei said they reminded the stances of Simon Bolivar, the Latin American Revolutionary figure. President Chavez, for his part, by expressing pleasure over his new visit to Iran, called Bolivarian revolution of Venezuela as a brother of the Islamic revolution in Iran. He emphasized the necessity of consolidation among countries with the same stance and opposed to the US policies and pointed out that such countries should expand their cooperation and increase their ability and potentials and never be frightened by the US threats.
Simon Bolivar?!! What an insult to that great man and all those South Americans whom he helped liberate. Back to that Washigton Times Editorial “Chavez, Putin and Tehran”

Mr. Chavez's relationship with Tehran... "is more threatening. The two regimes have previously discussed joint military exercises. Mr. Chavez has been vocal in his support of the Iranian nuclear program, and the two countries have reached several agreements, including one that would allow Iran access to known Venezuelan uranium deposits."
"The majority of Mr. Chavez's antics are innocuous. For as much as the populist president lambastes America, his regional influence, as well as domestic power, ultimately derives from oil, and the United States is Venezuela's largest export market. Washington is right not to let him become the focus of policy in South America, but the worrisome nature of his dealings requires continued scrutiny."
This point about the US being the largest export market should be more worrying, perhaps it is but being played down. Recent developments, do however, point to the fact that Venezuela is rapidly and efficiently expanding its international relations and influence in the energy sector. If a pipeline heading west from Venezuela is constructed, could China become the new large consumer of Venezuelan oil? This last from the mining section of South Africa’s Business Day – with interesting news, towards the end of the article, of Chavez’s visit to Vietnam and Mali (one of the more understandable trades) – Oil for gold...more 'sowing the oil'...at least in a good way this time!

12 comments:

Augustus said...

I think the only thing you can say about this Span is that Chavez has to be odds on for a mysterious helicopter crash. The west (and by that I mean...) will not allow him to gain to much influence.

As for a broader issue of a wider war I think that is possible but I'm more concerend with the war we are fighting on the hoime front against radicals of Islam and the left. The latter have had a good few weeks with the Israel/Lebanon mess. For the first time in a couple of decades they smell blood - quite literally - and are exploiting it ruthlessly (see Asad Rehman's disgraceful using of the JCDM family).

I have been listening to George Galloway on talksport for a few months and have been highly impressed with his even handedness on a range of issues. That went out the door with the Israel Hezbollah deal. He has been rabid to the point of insanity on several occasions. I still listen but I have my doubts about when the real GG is broadcasting and when the media friendly "I love you all" George is on air. It's almost Jekyll & Hyde some nights. The left are on the march and they are foresquare behind the jihadists. Now that's scary. It looks like Chavez is there too.

Span Ows said...

Hi Augustus, i suspect you're right re your first sentence; trouble is Chavez has spent years building up the false stories of invasion, and plots to kill him etc then when it does happen (ooops, I said when) they'll all say "he was right" :-)

I have no time for Galloway but am sure he can wax lyrical on any number of issues and seem as charming as a cobra.

Why do these young Pakistani/Muslims want to kill hundreds of innocent people? Insanity, warped fervour...whatever, all I know is it's not normal and they're sick in the head the same as any rabid, schizo, axe-murderer.

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

To answer your last sentence Span:

Young people are idealistic, full of passion and fervour and are not prepared to wait. Don't you remember Span?

Young people have always been willing to fight for their 'cause' no matter how misguided or silly that 'cause' may be or have been. WW1, The Russian Revolution, The Spanish Civil War, Bader-Meinhoff, Northern Ireland, International Marxism in the 60's and 70's (oh what jolly radicals we are) and so on. Some causes were national and international causes, some of the right and some of the left, some very individualistic. Whoever, whatever was in charge, young people find something to channel their energy and passion.

The only difference between then and now is that to make headlines and therefore to have some chance of changing things the way you want them to be changed, you have to be truly global, truly sensational, truly horrendous and truly more vile than anything that went before. Hence, you have to kill yourself and you have to kill a lot more people. No more Mr Nice Guy terrorist if there was in fact such a thing.

I grew up largely in the 70's therefore my passion and ideals were channelled in the 80's through CND, Greenham Commom and socialist politics. I thought I was a true radical. I wasn't but you couldn't have told me that at the time.

It is such a pity that all that passion and idealism cannot be channelled into more positive things but then that's another argument all together.

Augustus said...

I think to some extent you can draw a parallel with the religious cults you see sometimes who go off into the middle of Guatamala or Colorado and kill themselves.

These people have an anger borne of a notion of the ummah or the creation of a caliphate and are manipulated by extremely clever men to their own ends. I'm sure many of us held radial views as a youth. I know I did. Some I have kept, others I have discarded. Its a sign of having a working brain to be radical in some ways. The Bush/Blair adventure has played into the hands of the manipulators who taste victory and the possibility for the first time in 600 years that Islam can spread back to Europe and take root.

Every politician that pays lip service and tries to separate the mainstream muslim from the radical muslim miss the point. There are leaders and there are followers in the world. Moderates rarely seize power. They, by their action or inaction allow radicals to do so. You can trace that across history and across continents from Cambodia to Germany and back again. By saying to moderate Islam "please help" we fail to underline to them the scale of the problem. Someone, somewhere needs to tell them that if they value their place in western society, as many do, they need to get their fingers out and start to combat this cancer from within or Islam may not survive in the west much longer. Frankly I don't care either way. Stay and be happy or go and be miserable somewhere else. Some of the families of the July 7th bombers have had to return to Pakistan. If there are many more suicide bombings - and there will be - the voluntary clamour to go back to the sub-continent maybe as great as that now to escape it. Bad guests often know when they have overstayed their welcome. The radicals will destroy the lives of many decent hard working muslim families unless they're tackled. In all honesty, after reading the letter sent to Blair today by moderate muslims (it's on my blog) I'm fast getting to not care.

Augustus said...

"Radial" views are not the local politics of Tyre by the way. Speed typing it not my foreskin. :-)

Curmy said...

Augustus, I'd no idea some of the 7/7 families had returned to Pakistan.
I watch these militants being interviewed, and I shout at the TV, "For goodness sake ask the blighter some tough questions, and stop pussy footing around"

Span Ows said...

Mags, that's all very true but my last sentence still stands: there's radical and there's bonkers.

Aug, thanks for all the input - 'that letter' is on the MB, I posted a couple of replies and will post agian today because Bukabar of all people seems to have lost it. I'll go and read your blog now.

Curmy, thanks...by the way, I hope you read the post and aren't just reading the comments! Lot of time went into it! :-)

Curmy said...

Yes dear Span, I did read the whole post, and it's a very worrying situation.

Span Ows said...

Glad to hear that curmy :-) 'Dear'...I like that, I won't complain like Gavin did!

As Augustus said I really do suspect that Chavez will not die a natural death but of course it will all get blamed on the US even if they're 100% innocent.

I'll be there again in Oct/November so i can post re the election build-up.

The Great Gildersleeve said...

I think I heard of some of these problems over a year ago reported on Up All Night on Radio 5, some stories are dealt with in detail but those tend to be stuck away in the wee small hours between 1am-5am.

I have said being close to Europe that a lot of European news is neglected over here unless its about politics and the European Parliament.

You get a couple of minutes of what is called Ero News on a Lunchtime and that is usually hurried so South America has little if any chance of being mentioned.

There was an earth quake in Mexico a few days ago but the amount of times it was mentioned, I could've missed it.

Of course the news will be reported differently in Spain and they'll have their own take on stories happening in Spain and across the world but I bet over there you find an emphisis on news from countries that are Spanish speaking so probably this story has received more coverage than here.

Curmy said...

I don't know why, Span, I don't like being addressed as just "Dear" or " Love", but "dear Curmy", just sounds friendly.
Hope I havn't offended/ patronised you !

Span Ows said...

I don't watch or listen to the news Gidy well a bit) I read it all, be it in various papers or various sources online - my links will give a taste of those sites I use. Ein news is just a collection of thousands upon thousands of stories from the whole world covering all topics.

In Mexico city they were all out in the streets when the towers starting wobbling but that is common in Mexico.

"so probably this story has received more coverage than here"...this is MY story Gildy! Piecing together news from various dates and countries...I'm sure the CIA are onto it by now though ;-)

Dearest curmy, how could I possibly take offence! (awright luv?) :-)