Thursday, September 17, 2009

Clinton gets it all wrong (again)

A few days ago, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her concern at Venezuela's ostensible militarization. In the course of a press conference with Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez, Clinton hypothesized that Venezuela's plan to purchase defensive armaments from Russia could trigger a 'regional arms race' after she repeated the lie that Venezuela spends more than any other country in South America on the military.

We've heard this before, numerous times in fact, throughout the Bush years. Just to be clear:



Not to mention that the moral concerns of the US in terms of military spending is the definition of hypocrisy:



But even more confusing, if we want to be naïve about this for a moment, is that the only country on the South American continent to recently engage in belligerent activities against its neighbors is not Venezuela, but rather Colombia, the US's closes ally in the region. In March of 2008 Colombia violated Ecuadoran sovereignty in order to assassinate Raúl Reyes, the spokesman of the FARC's (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).

Tellingly enough, Clinton did not speculate why it might be that Venezuela thinks it might need to boost its defensive capacities.

Talks broke down today in Quito, Ecuador, as Latin American foreign ministers and military officials met to respond to plans to install a number of US military bases in Colombia. While the talks were able to produce a series of agreements on transparency and mutual non-aggression, Colombia blocked any proposal that might prevent the US plans from being carried out. The United States has been particularly short on friends in the region since the infamously rocky Bush years. Most notably in this particular arena, Ecuador and Paraguay have either ejected or refused to renew contracts that allow US military personnel to be based in their national territory. As a result, the US would have to disproportionately rely on it recently recommissioned 4th fleet which operates in the Caribbean, and whose military exercises near the Dutch colony of Curaçao -- only a few miles off the northern coast of Venezuela -- has been cause for alarm throughout the region.

Hat tip to Inka Cola news on the righteous graphage.