Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Threat to U.S. security could be right under our nose

     If anyone thought they had heard the last of Hugo Chavez, they are no doubt incorrect.  Chavez is making waves yet again in international security waters.  Upon his recent trips to China and his new BFF, Russia, Chavez has signed a billion dollar loan to purchase $4.4 billion worth of weapons from Russia.  Some analysts view this as a message to the U.S. that Russia has a "welcome mat" in Latin America, making Russia an even bigger threat to U.S. security.  However, others, such as Admiral Michael Mullens, dismiss the actions, reporting that they have little effect to U.S. security at this time.  So who is correct?  I propose taking a closer look at the events ensuing in Latin America, leading to the realization that Chavez is only one part of a critical equation that may threaten U.S. security.

     As stated above, Chavez has had increased relations with both China and Russia, and has purchased Russian weapons.  However, in addition, he has traveled to Iran to no doubt try to strengthen relations with a prominent U.S. security threat.  While Chavez is working on Venezuela's relations with Iran, Bolivia is doing the same.

          Bolivian President Morales has traveled to Tehran to meet with Iranian President Ahmadinejad on several occasions, only make their alliance stronger.  Unlike Chavez's talks with Iran, Morales' talks have had significant consequences.  Most importantly perhaps, is the transfer of Bolivia's only Middle Eastern embassy to Tehran from Cairo.  In addition, the talks have led to an investment of over one billion dollars to Bolivia's natural gas industry from Iran.  What kind of implications does this warrant for the U.S.?

     If relations with Latin American countries were perfect, these talks between Iran, Venezuela, and Bolivia would already be unnerving - no one wants their enemy making friends with the backyard neighbors.  However, U.S. relations with Latin American countries have historically been on shaky ground.  Currently, the only strong alliances the U.S. has in Latin America are with Mexico, Costa Rica, and Colombia due to the five billion dollar per year aid the country receives to combat the illegal narcotic trade.  Other moderate alliances, if you choose to refer to them as so, are with moderate left wing countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.  However, there are many far left wing countries that the U.S. does not have great relations with.  These include Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador.  The numbers are not looking good for the U.S.

     With numbers working against the U.S., Iran, Russia, and China's involvement in Latin America could have severe implications for U.S. security.  Although Russia and China have had previous dealings in Latin America, Iran's involvement is fairly new.  With tensions ever increasing with Iran, and Iran's relations with Latin American countries only strengthening, the U.S. could be treading into very dangerous waters.

Beatriz Lecumberri, "Chavez Defies U.S. by Dealing with Russia, China," Defense News.


Anonymous said...

Imagine that... talking to Iran. Anyone who does this must be a security threat to the US!!eleventy. Oh, wait, the Barrack Hussein Messiah wants to do this? And you support the Messiah? Shockers. And such.

OMARCOMIN! said...

Who's the incoherent anonymous commenter suddenly all over the blog?

Anyway...how is Iranian/Russian influence in Latin America that much of a threat to the US? Yeah, I frown on violations of the Monroe Doctrine as much as the next chap, but Russia floating a rickety boat over to Caracas isn't really going to keep me up at night.

Chavez is a tool but an elected tool. The US probably shouldn't have motivated this sort of weapon seeking behavior by tacitly supporting the overthrow of a democratically elected leader.


Researcher said...

I'm with Omarcomin! Russia's military is a joke, Iran is a regional power (if that), Bolivia is a mess, and Chavez is all talk. The only power that could even hope to rival us in the upcoming years is China. And they're NOT part of this arrangement. (In fact, Chinese-Russian tensions over Georgia are becoming apparent.)

Anonymous said...

Yuppers, Researcher, the Russian military is a joke: those nukes sure are freakin hilarious. And, wrt Iran (channeling the Messiah) -- it's such a tiny country. Heh.