Chavez: American deal with Colombia means war

posted at 12:55 pm on November 9, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

One might be tempted to dismiss Hugo Chavez’ latest saber rattling as meaningless, another crazy statement from a lunatic bent on destroying the wealth of his nation in order to play Mini-Me to the Castro Brothers.  However, the move of troops to the Colombian border and the threats Chavez made this weekend of war do not reflect lunacy, but a bid to grab power and influence in Latin America at the expense of a weakened US.  He wants the US out of Colombia, and Chavez apparently believes he has an American President he can bully towards that goal:

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez yesterday ordered the country’s military to prepare for a possible armed conflict with Colombia, saying soldiers should be ready if the United States attempts to provoke a war between the South American neighbours.

Mr Chávez said Venezuela could end up going to war with Colombia as tensions between them rise, and he warned that if a conflict broke out “it could extend throughout the whole continent”.

“The best way to avoid war is preparing for it,” Mr Chávez told military officers during his weekly television and radio programme. Venezuela’s socialist leader has also cited a recent deal between Bogota and Washington giving US troops greater access to military bases as a threat to regional stability.

The Government of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez rejected what it called “threats of war from Venezuela’s government”, saying that it would protest at Mr Chávez’s comments to the Organization of American States and the UN Security Council.

It took America’s enemies a couple of years to take Jimmy Carter’s measure during the Cold War.  It has taken less than that for our enemies to take Barack Obama’s measure.  The US has had a military alliance with Colombia for years while Chavez has been in power, under both Democratic and Republican Presidents.  However, Chavez never made it a pretext for war until now, although he issued a similar threat last year without moving troops to the border.

Chavez hopes to bluff Obama out of Colombia and Latin America as a whole.  He has backed Colombian rebels for years now, especially the Communist insurgency FARC, which made the mistake of keeping the evidence, discovered in a Colombian raid.  He wants to dictate terms to Colombia in the short term and depose its elected government in favor of a socialist regime in the long term.  Chavez wants to make Venezuela into what Fidel Castro hoped Cuba would be: a world power intent on humbling the US in our hemisphere.  In order to do that, Chavez needs to chase the US out of Latin America altogether and leave a vacuum for Chavez to fill.

Until now, Chavez hasn’t found an American President he could bully into withdrawal.  The strange response to the Honduran crisis apparently has Chavez believing that Obama is particularly malleable, although it could also be that Chavez has taken the lesson from Obama’s handling of Iran.  It certainly shows that siding with leftists like Chavez, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, and the Castro brothers in Cuba in support of runaway leftist Manuel Zelaya didn’t endear the US to these martinets.  Instead, just like Carter’s feckless foreign policy, it has emboldened those who oppose the US and the agenda of freedom.

Chavez is certainly a nut, but there is a method to this madness, and Colombia should be very, very worried.

Update: I routinely misspell Colombia, and did it all over this post. Many thanks to those who alerted me to it.


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Who has Chavez been buying his military equipment from lately? And with what money? They guy can’t even afford to keep the water running in his own capital.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:46 PM

tina Turner? You know, methane.

bloggless on November 9, 2009 at 1:48 PM

A better question would be, what planet are you on?

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:45 PM

I bet he’s on Uranus.

ps. forgive me, I had to say it.

bloggless on November 9, 2009 at 1:49 PM

I hope Chávez isn’t bluffing. Colombia’s military is far superior and it’s got years of experience fighting the drug cartels, which are more ruthless than anything the Venezuelan army has ever encountered.

In short, Uribe will kick ass.

The only way Venezuela could prevail would be if we put troops on the ground to help Chávez, which is highly unlikely. Obama knows his left would come after him, and whatever independents that remain with him would jump ship as well.

And, personally, I’d far rather have Colombia controlling those oil reserves.

TXUS on November 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM

I don’t understand; we (the U.S.) are being so nice to everyone now!
yubley on November 9, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Obama most definitely is NOT nice to “everyone.”

Obama is nice to Zelaya. But he sure as Hell wasn’t nice to Honduras’ constitutionally elected government.

Obama is nice to Chavez. But there is no reason on earth to suspect that Obama will be nice to any peaceful neighbor Chavez decides to invade.

Chavez knows that. And Columbia knows that.

logis on November 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM

“The best way to avoid war is preparing for it,”

Wow, I actually agree with Chavez on something.
To bad Obama doesn’t.

Count to 10 on November 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Will Sean Penn help Master Blaster in his war?

bloggless on November 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Wikipedia, which is nearly always correct on the facts, claims the Colombian army is nearly twice the size of Venezuala’s army. Plus, hasn’t the Colombian army been in a hot war with FARC for years and years while the Venezualans haven’t?

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=armed+forces+of+colombia&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=armed+forces+of+colombia&aq=f&oq=&aqi=

According to non-Wikipedia sources, Colombia’s armed forces totaled 158,000 in 2002, Venezuela’s 82,000 in 2006. Air Force is even (7,000 on each side), navy is a slight advantage to Venezuela (18,000 vs. 15,000), but infantry would definitely be in Colombia’s advantage.

Colombia also has a National Police Force of 104,600, vs. 23,000 for the Venezuelan National Guard. The Police Force might be tied up with the drug lords in the event of an open war against Venezuela.

Steve Z on November 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Sarkozy was right when he said the arrogance and naivite’ of the leader of the free world is a joke.

volsense on November 9, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Maybe Sarkozy will offer military assistance to Colombia after Obama turns down the request.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:54 PM

Can we throw in a coup?

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Here or in Venezuela?

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:55 PM

It’s the one where evidence and critical thinking trump ideology.
The Calibur on November 9, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Can you provide evidence that you have ever had relations with either concept?

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:56 PM

***
SHOOT THE PARROT!!! Quick–he’s the brains of the operation.
***
John Bibb
***

rocketman on November 9, 2009 at 1:38 PM

I think that’s the funniest line all day! Well done.

Subsunk

Subsunk on November 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM

I hope Hugo doesn’t try this with Barry or we may be in for trouble. Wink. (;^)

Kurt Cobain’s widow Courtney Love has set her sights on a controversial new beau – Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

The pair met at a New York screening of Oliver Stone’s new documentary South of the Border last week after Love caught the leader checking her out from across the room.

She admits she’s smitten, and believes a romance could be a possibility.

She tells the New York Daily News, “It was the third wink that sold me. He’s a sexy dawg. He invited me to visit his country and I’d like to go. I’ll rock Caracas.”

bloggless on November 9, 2009 at 1:35 PM

Is this true? Is Courtney Hole involved with this man?

Jerricho68 on November 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM

I wonder if the Mayans saw Obama coming, and 2012 really is the end? UGH!!!

capejasmine on November 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Sure, such a conflict would probably be very bad for Chavez, but who might benefit? Oil prices would probably rise, especially if wasn’t confined just to their border. That has to benefit Chavez’s new friends in Iran. Russia wouldn’t be too unhappy either.

justsalt on November 9, 2009 at 1:58 PM

The Police Force might be tied up with the drug lords in the event of an open war against Venezuela.

Steve Z on November 9, 2009 at 1:51 PM

Chavez has to keep a substantial portion of his troops at home as well. The keep the population from trying to overthrow him again.

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Who’s getting ready to over reach?

Dr Evil on November 9, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Obama will support, train and finance a war of liberty in Venezuela.

oops, there goes the alarm. Time to wake up.

R Square on November 9, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Gawd..where is the Hebrew mind/death ray thingy when you need it the most

JJKRN on November 9, 2009 at 2:03 PM

The only way Venezuela could prevail would be if we put troops on the ground to help Chávez, which is highly unlikely. Obama knows his left would come after him, and whatever independents that remain with him would jump ship as well.

And, personally, I’d far rather have Colombia controlling those oil reserves.

TXUS on November 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Yes, but now they Colombian military would have to fight the drug cartels AND the Venezuelan military, plus any of Chavez’s allies who want in. It could be bad for Uribe if Chavez is not bluffing. Chavez might be evil, but he is not stupid. He does not engage in force unless he is absolutely certain he will prevail, and in Venezuela, he has been much more right than wrong in his presumptions.

uknowmorethanme on November 9, 2009 at 2:04 PM

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:56 PM

I could but I’ll just refer you to a post a few above from this one. Steve Z has done some independent research that suggests the Columbian military would have a hay day defending against Venezuela, especially with U.S. military backing.

Not to mention, I doubt Chavez would prefer living in a cave for the rest of his life when he could just be Socialist King Of Venezuela Forever and Ever Amen.

Of course you could always try a counter argument as opposed to attacking my credibility. Good luck with that.

The Calibur on November 9, 2009 at 2:05 PM

So glad to see that “smart power” working so well.

/sarc

rockmom on November 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM

The Police Force might be tied up with the drug lords in the event of an open war against Venezuela
//

Infantry doesn’t matter in this case. Venezuela has been arming up from China and Russia. Columbia has been arming up from the US. I always thought the the third World War would start in the Middle East, am I wrong?

Chavez is probably bluffing at this point, but I’d take that with a grain of salt.

uknowmorethanme on November 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Is this true? Is Courtney Hole involved with this man?

Jerricho68 on November 9, 2009 at 1:57 PM

According to this it is: http://www.starpulse.com/news/index.php/2009/09/28/courtney_love_thinks_hugo_chavez_is_a_se

Of course, Mrs. Chavez ain’t gonna like it:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CSUPQ7EpU_4/SNjgoEiNXJI/AAAAAAAAbys/6EO3DFnbnCw/S1600-R/Venezuelan_President_Hugo_Chavez_greets__Iranian_President_Mahmoud_Ahmadinejad.jpg

bloggless on November 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM

OK, serious question. Is the bird wearing a hat, too?

bloggless on November 9, 2009 at 2:13 PM

The Calibur on November 9, 2009 at 2:05 PM

Except that you are betting that Chavez will be rational about this…

History is inundated with Leaders starting unwinnable wars.

Romeo13 on November 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Something about this guy screams Frustrated Luchador.

Christien on November 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

Romeo13 on November 9, 2009 at 2:14 PM

No necessarily. At best, Chavez will be rational. At worst, he’ll be completely pwnt. Either way, nothing to get red alert worried about.

Also, insert “unwinnable” wars George Bush jab here.

The Calibur on November 9, 2009 at 2:17 PM

uknowmorethanme on November 9, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Yes, the Colombian military would have to fight both Venezuela and the cartels, but Chávez has his own second front. He doesn’t have the support of the people and has to use a good portion of his troops just to prevent an uprising.

That situation will only be exacerbated if he actually engages in a war, and I hear there’s a number of his Generals looking for an opportunity to turn on him.

As to allies willing to put troops on the ground to help Chávez, I just don’t see any serious players in the mix.

TXUS on November 9, 2009 at 2:19 PM

MarkTheGreat on November 9, 2009 at 1:55 PM

Let’s start with Hugo and hope someone else buys a clue.

Cindy Munford on November 9, 2009 at 2:21 PM

What would happen if Chavez decides to really snooker Ecuador and their commie leader decides to go all in as well? I’m sure Colombia can handle Venezuala, but a two front war? Or is Ecuador nothing to worry about? And Colombia would have internal lines of communication, after all….

Vanceone on November 9, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Colombia would also have to worry about Venezuala’s ally Equador on it’s sothern border.

LCT688 on November 9, 2009 at 2:45 PM

Everyone is assuming that, in the event of war, the US would help the Colombians. I doubt it. If Mr. Obama’s government got involved, it would probably be on the side of Venezuela.

lonesomecharlie on November 9, 2009 at 2:46 PM

“taking Obama’s measure” I’m guessing 2, maybe 3mm tops!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on November 9, 2009 at 2:48 PM

TXUS on November 9, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Hmmm… anyone know anything about Columbias arms industrys??? ie, do they have any? I know Venezuela has its own arms factories.

“IF” Chavez could manage to start a two front war, and keep Columbia from supply… he “may” stand a chance…

Just gaming out the possibilities…

Romeo13 on November 9, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Colombia’s military is far superior and it’s got years of experience fighting the drug cartels, which are more ruthless than anything the Venezuelan army has ever encountered.

TXUS on November 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Not that I disagree, but a little Googling shows that Venezuela has a significantly superior air force to Columbia. Venezuela has F-16s, SU-30s, and a bunch of support aircraft. Columbia’s main tactical aircraft appear to be the A-37 Dragonfly and UH-1s. Based on that I’d be really concerned for Columbia.

Disclaimer: This is based on 5 whole minutes of Google intelligence gathering, and whether Venezuela has a clue how to use air power.

ZenDraken on November 9, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Let’s send in a team to kill his parrot or whatever it is…………..

ultracon on November 9, 2009 at 2:57 PM

Can’t have a war in South America without talking about the 800 pound gorilla down there…

Brazil.

Toss into the mix the extreme lack of “bloodied” soldiers in Venezuela, who are about equivalent to the smartly trained and led Iraqi forces of 1990 and 2003 (who, btw, were armed with some pretty good Soviet gear, which lasted all of about 8 hours).

Give Colombia some good intel, a few ELINT assets and a Patriot battery….Chavez will be defanged in about oh….overnight.

BobMbx on November 9, 2009 at 3:05 PM

“The empire is more threatening than ever,” the former paratrooper warned. “Don’t make a mistake, Mr Obama, by ordering an attack against Venezuela by way of Colombia.” Such a war would set the whole continent alight, he cautioned.

Have any of Chavez’s friends spoken up in public asking him to keep them out of it?

journeyintothewhirlwind on November 9, 2009 at 3:08 PM

I’m voting for Obama because I want a world without war.

El_Terrible on November 9, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Chavez has some air assets on paper… so did Iraq. Question: maintenance. Training. And it still took the US third army to take out Hitler, not the thousand bombers over Dusseldorf. Not much has changed…. air power can do wonders, but short of nukes it can’t occupy ground.

Vanceone on November 9, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Chavez just wants free coke.

Daggett on November 9, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Send him an explosive laden Sprite.

jimmy2shoes on November 9, 2009 at 3:33 PM

Brazil has rocket launchers that rival our own.

Jerricho68 on November 9, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Just a couple of quick comments about the Colombia/Venezuela situation.

The first is that, although Chavez may be angling to get the US out of South America, he has two other matters on his plate as well.

The first is that his domestic popularity is dropping like a stone. This is probably because they can’t keep the lights on or provide basic consumer goods to Venezuelans…cooking oil, milk, eggs etc are all in short supply. One big reason is that Colombia is a bit of a “bread-basket” and supplies a lot of these things to Venezuela…as Chavez has cut imports, the food supply has gone down (btw chack out the rate of inflation in Venezuela). He probably thinks a little conflict with Colombia will boost his popularity (a la the Argentine junta that invaded the Falklands/Malvinas). This is unlikely because the Venezuelan and Colombian people actually like each other.

The second issue Chavez has is territorial. If you look on a map, at the north coast of Colombia you will notice that Colombian territory includes the north side of the Gulf of Venezuela. This is a desert area called La Guajira (it is extremely beautiful, by the way, for anyone wanting a nature vacation). It is a strategic area because it is on one side of the access from Lake Maracaibo to the sea…Lake Maracaibo is where a lot of Venezuelan oil fields are. The Venezuelan Miliary regularly carries out war games about taking this territory. There is suspicion that Chavez has, for a number of years, been angling for a way to occupy this territory.

The relative strength of the Colombian and Venezuelan militaries should make improbable any armed conflict. Colombia’s armed forces number up to 400,000 when you include all branches. Further, because they have a form of national service, there are thousands of trained Colombians not presently in the armed forces who could be called up.

The professionalism of the Colombian armed forces is a big advantage. Although a lot of the 400,000 are conscripts doing their national service (or social service as they call it), there is a large core of professional soldiers who are well trained and experienced. The Venezuelans, on the other hand, are a corrupt barracks army.

The best example came last year when Chavez was rattling the sabre. He threatened to send troops to the border and in fact dispatched some armoured units…it was a fiasco. They have no knowledge of logistics. This is the other big advantage of the Colombians…they have great experience in getting from Point A to Point Z and anywhere in between. They get artillery pieces into mountainous jungles. On a moment’s notice they can land a company of jungle troops into a jungle or a desert. At Night. Silently. And effectively.

The Colombians are no offensive threat to Venezuela…it is worth noting that although they have acquired some re-furbished Kfirs, the newest and most modern aircraft in their airforce are Super Tucanos…propellor driven. They are, however, a mortal defensive threat to Venezuela and, unless he is allowing hubris to overcome his judgement (uh oh) Chavez will rattle his sabre and nothing else.

Blaise on November 9, 2009 at 4:24 PM

logis on November 9, 2009 at 1:50 PM

Nit to mention the short shrift Obama has inflicted on Brown and the “not-so-special relationship with britain. Or say the abandonment of the Czechs & Poles. Actually just about anyone who yearns for freedom from oppression can expect a cold shoulder from the Obama administration, From Iran to Myanmar.

Obama cozies up with dictators the world over and provides cover suppression of dissidents. It harkens to mind ye old adage, birds of a feather….

If it walks like a Mussolini, ands it talks like a Lenin, it is probably an Obama.

Archimedes on November 9, 2009 at 5:40 PM

Columbia says: “Come get some, Gordo.”

mojo on November 9, 2009 at 5:48 PM

Someone tell the guy in this threads picture, that he’s dressing a tad gay.

Jeff from WI on November 9, 2009 at 5:53 PM

He wants the US out of Colombia, and Chavez apparently believes he has an American President he can bully towards that goal:

And he is probably right too.

MikeA on November 9, 2009 at 6:02 PM

That pic of Chavez…I recall Mussolini making a speech, and having that same smirk on his face…nodding as his sheeple cheered.
We all know how that ended. Chavez should take note.

Army Brat on November 9, 2009 at 6:16 PM

As much as I know Obama to be the worst president in our history, I don’t think even he would do nothing if Columbia was attacked by the evil clown.

He wouldn’t do enough, but he wouldn’t do nothing. Therefore, Columbia is probably not too worried.

Grafted on November 9, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Anybody else think what Chavez wants more than anything else is control of the Panama Canal?

He’s basically got 3 years (and copious amounts of Russian arms) to plow through Colombia, why does anyone think he’d stop there?

There’s nothing of strategic importance to be had in Colombia, rather, across their northern border lies a strategic asset he could use to squeeze the nuts of the rest of the world, particularly the US.

Uggo The Dwarf has oil, and that makes for a run of the mill Third World strongman, but possession, or at least the installation of a puppet regime he can easily bully into co-operation on matters of usage; who’s ships go through and who’s don’t, while taking a cut of Canal revenues as protection money, would give him affective control over a major global commercial asset, not to mention a major U.S. strategic asset.

Elections have consequences…

SuperCool on November 9, 2009 at 6:37 PM

Cant we all just get along.

mmmmmmm…..NO!

faol on November 9, 2009 at 6:47 PM

Commander of the advance units headed to Colombian border to El Presidente:

“Presidente, may we have the bullets for our rifles now AND the gas masks? The Columbians, they are getting very close and the smell of sulfur from your big fat butt is quite overwhelming …”
.
Seriously, why does El Presidente think that wearing multi-colored scarves, a beret, and a parrot are folk hero attire?

ExpressoBold on November 9, 2009 at 7:20 PM

Why is this tinpot trying to talk us into a war. He know O won’t take him seriously, and he comes off looking like a tough guy. Macho is as macho does.

Kissmygrits on November 9, 2009 at 7:40 PM

I would be interested to know exactly what is going on politically there.
Tyrants will quite often, point to some outside threat to divert attention from some skeleton flopping out of the closet. Perhaps as was said, he wants to look like a badass…take a ride with his head stickin’ out of a tank or sit at the controls of some weapon or other whilst the photogs photog.
There is an excellent article at the Caracas Chronicles
http://www.caracaschronicles.com/ from the Venezuelans point of view. One of the few outlets that has not sold out to the tyrant in chief. I mean Chavez. Can’t believe I had to clarify that…
“The only plausible reason to take the President (Chavez) seriously is if the government expected Colombia to invade Venezuela. But really, does anyone outside the Kool-Aid drinking left believe Colombia (and the US) are going to invade Venezuela any time soon?

Think of the headlines – Nobel Peace Prize-winning US President launches invasion of Venezuela. Makes perfect sense, right?

The only question that remains is why The Fat Warmonger in the Palace would be talking about this.”
Ouch..

Army Brat on November 9, 2009 at 8:55 PM

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