I realize a lot of people have been following the Perils of Palin as she tries to get her foot out of her mouth, or her head out of her butt, or her hand out of the cookie jar...BUT... something is happening that really deserves some adult attention. I'm not talking about the chaos descending on Pakistan. That's all the way over on the other side of the globe. I'm talking about a storm brewing much closer to home.
Venezuela and Bolivia have both thrown the US ambassadors out of their countries. Oh... and by the way... long-range Russian bombers just landed in Venezuela.
Do I have your attention now? I hope so. digg it and jump...
I'm not going to bother translating this YouTube clip in detail. Suffice to say the guy who controls about 10% of America's imported oil called the US "shitty Yankees" and told us to "go to hell a hundred times." That is not new. What is new is he very publicly gave the US ambassador 72 hours to "get the hell out." He has already recalled his ambassador and declared Venezuela will not be sending a new one until there is a new government in the US. To put that in plain English, Venezuela is on its way to severing diplomatic ties with the US.
This is barely noticed in the US press. If you don't speak Spanish, you can follow this link to BBC. Both Venezuela and Bolivia are declaring the US is conspiring with rightwing elements trying to overthrow their governments. They are not alone. Argentina, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Paraguay have all lined up in solidarity with them. I expect Brazil will soon join them. This has the potential to spread.
You think oil is expensive now? Wait until we have to start finding a replacement for 10-15% of America's imported oil. Oh... and another thing. You will be surprised to learn that last winter, Chavez -- through the government controlled Citgo Petroleum Company -- subsidized heating oil costs for low income AMERICANS in New Hampshire, Massachussetts, and Maine. It was reported here in a dismissive way "as efforts to embarrass the Bush administration." But the fact is, many states accepted the subsidies worth millions of dollars. This winter they may have to do without.
You think we can just stroll down there to kick their ass and take their gas? Venezuela has strategic alliances with China AND Russia. What a concept -- allies. And they are not merely economic ties. Russians and Venezuelans are having joint military exercises in the Caribbean. This is a direct response to this administration's decision to place anti-missile defense systems along Russia's borders.
Russia is also dispatching a nuclear cruiser and other warships and planes to the Caribbean for the joint exercises with Venezuela, seen as a direct rebuff to the United States in the first such deployment since the Cold War
If you still think this isn't a big deal, I suggest you put aside any lingering prejudices you may have picked up from the US media about the little brown people south of the border for a moment and consider this historical fact: Napoleon's army did not suffer its first defeat at Waterloo. Their first defeat was in the tiny island of Haiti. Napoleon's inability to maintain his empire in the New World forced him to divest and sell off huge tracts of land at bargain rates to subsidize his wars closer to home. Jefferson, proving the pen was mightier than the sword, used what became known as the Louisiana Purchase to double the size of the United States without firing a shot.
The shoe is on the other foot now. The only question is what will it cost us to get out of this mess and who is most qualified (yeah... now it matters) to do it? Make no mistake. This is not a game. What we are seeing here are chickens coming home to roost. This is a direct response to the Bush Doctrine. Palin may not know what it is, and the Washington Post may want to pretend her ignorance is "understandable" because there are so many versions. But Dan Froomkin makes a valid point when he notes that all the versions have one thing in common: "they are all...inoperative."
Who knew the failure of the Bush Doctrine would mean the death of the Monroe Doctrine and the Truman Corollary? Talk about massive failure. Good thing Republicans are so strong on foreign policy, otherwise we might wake up one morning to learn "all your base are belong to us."
All of a sudden it ain't so funny that Palin's claim to experience is "We can see Russia from here!" Forget about going to war with Russia over Georgia. What do you do now that Russian long-range bombers are within range of Cuba? I realize Dana Perino may not know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was, McCain has forgotten, and Palin doesn't care... but someone better wake the hell up.
Before anyone starts the "this will be good for McCain" meme, let me point something out here: McCain is advocating the exact same policies that got us into this jackpot in the first place! The Bush Doctrine has not made us safer, nor has it cowed the world into submission. Quite the opposite. The radical shift in US foreign policy has taken countries that are traditionally at each other's throats and pushed them into each other's arms. This has been going on for years in Asia. Now it is happening closer to home. The fact Chavez can do this and garner international support raises real questions about US leadership. What kind of message does that send around the world to anyone who thinks the US is going to stand up for them?
The bottom line is the Bush Doctrine is a bankrupt policy, yet McCain continues to support it. Following McCain on this one raises an important question: Who's the bigger fool? The fool who runs off a cliff, or the fool who follows him?