Friday, September 12, 2008

U.S. in Diplomatic Row with Bolivia & Venezuela

There have been violent clashes between and pro and anti-government factions in Bolivia in recent days. Bolivian President Evo Morales wants to alter the constitution to centralize power and nationalize industry. Morales has blamed the U.S. for inciting anti-government violence and asked the U.S. Ambassador to leave the country.

In a show of solidarity, Morales' mentor Hugo Chavez has also asked the U.S. Ambassador to leave the country. The U.S., in turn, has asked the Bolivian and Venezulean Ambassadors to go home. It is, of course, worth noting that Venezuela gleefully received two Russian bombers last week. It is also worth remembering that the people of Venezuela rejected Chavez's efforts to centralize power and effectively make him President for Life. Now Chavez is trying to play the anti-American card. It doesn't hurt him to have Russia given its differences with us on Georgia. This has all the makings of a worldwide conflict between freedom and servitude.

In this respect, the choice between McCain and Obama couldn't be clearer. Obama wants to talk with Chavez and Morales and reason with them. Reasoning with Chavez and Morales is like reasoning with a crocodile with sharp teeth. McCain will talk to Chavez and Morales but only to lay down the law. We can ill afford to legitimize buffoons and Obama's approach will do precisely that.

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