Chavez dares Obama to cut diplomatic relations after rejecting envoy

posted at 9:58 am on December 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Hugo Chavez went on national television to dare Barack Obama to cut diplomatic relations with Venezuela after Chavez rejected Obama’s choice to replace Ambassador Patrick Duddy, who left in July.  Chavez objected to comments made by nominee Larry Palmer that suggested that Chavez was sheltering Colombian rebels and Palmer’s criticism of the actions of the legislature, which gave Chavez 18 months of rule by decree in order to ignore the new National Assembly taking office next month, one with enough opposition to block Chavez’ proposals:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dared the United States to expel his ambassador or cut off diplomatic ties in retaliation for his rejection of Washington’s choice for ambassador to Caracas.

Tensions have been growing over Chavez’s refusal to accept American diplomat Larry Palmer and also over U.S. criticisms of a legislative offensive by the president’s congressional allies. Lawmakers have granted Chavez expanded powers to enact laws by decree for the next year and a half, a change that opponents condemn as antidemocratic.

Chavez has said he will not accept Palmer to be ambassador due to comments he made earlier this year suggesting that morale is low in Venezuela’s military and that he is concerned Colombian rebels are finding refuge in Venezuela. …

“If the government is going to expel our ambassador there, let them do it!,” Chavez said in a televised speech Tuesday night. “If they’re going to cut diplomatic relations, let them do it!”

“Now the U.S. government is threatening us that they’re going to take reprisals. Well, let them do whatever they want, but that man will not come,” Chavez said.

The Senate may be in position to defuse the standoff, if Harry Reid is inclined to do so.  Palmer has yet to be confirmed.  Obama could still insist that he will not back down from his nominee, putting the Senate in position to decline his confirmation due to the negative reception Palmer has received in the host country.  That would allow Obama to save some face while maintaining diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Overall, though, the situation has become a mild embarrassment for Obama.  During the presidential campaign, Obama insisted that he could change the nature of the relationship between the US and Venezuela by personally meeting “without preconditions” with Chavez, along with other tinpot dictators and lunatics like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong-il, among others.  It came as a piece from his insistence that George Bush had done serious damage to relations with allies and foes alike due to a lack of engagement, and that his “smart power” would restore that standing and dial down tensions around the world.

While Obama has never had the private meeting with Chavez that he pledged, he did get some face time with the Venezuelan strongman at the 2009 OAS meeting almost immediately after taking office.  A few months later, Obama sided with Chavez and the Castro brothers in Cuba during the Honduran crisis, in which former president Manuel Zelaya was arrested and then deported for preparing a Chavez-like grab at lifetime power.  None of this improved Chavez’  outlook on the US, nor did it turn Chavez away from his military partnership with Iran, which continues apace.

After this season of appeasement, Obama finds himself in the position of having even worse diplomatic relations with Venezuela than the Bush administration did, with Chavez daring him to cut ties or retreat on his choice of ambassador.  Those, unfortunately, have always been the wages of appeasement with petty dictators.


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Can we send Michelle Obama instead?

NotCoach on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

After this season of appeasement, Obama finds himself in the position of having even worse diplomatic relations with Venezuela than the Bush administration did, with Chavez daring him to cut ties or retreat on his choice of ambassador. Those, unfortunately, have always been the wages of appeasement with petty dictators.

*clears throat*……
…..

SMART POWER!!!!!

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

So what the heck is anyone waiting for?!!!!

Call his frigging bluff and cut off all ties with this moron Evil Clown dictator!

Maybe then the people of Venezuela will rise up against this goof!

pilamaye on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Crap, take Chavez up on his dare! Why should the Senate or Obama accommodate that Communist thug?

WannabeAnglican on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

The problem the US has is with “foreign oil” needs. We are dependent on “foreign oil” because the environmental whackos control domestic oil production policy and have controlled it for more than two decades. THAT, is why we are STILL dependent on “foreign oil”, and that is why Obowma will bow to Chavez.

belad on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Obama will bow to Fat Boy and they’ll trade leftist literature.

darwin-t on December 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

Obama insisted that he could change the nature of the relationship between the US and Venezuela by personally meeting “without preconditions” with Chavez

This was no grim meeting, either. Big smiles, warm, extended handshakes, gift exchange. Makes me shudder to think of it.

itsnotaboutme on December 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

…putting the Senate in position to decline his confirmation due to the negative reception Palmer has received in the host country. That would allow Obama to save some face while maintaining diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

Er? The US Senate will reject – or has the chance to reject – the nominee because Hugo Chavez attacked him?

Ed, please tell me that was the bad leftover egg nog writing that.

SteveMG on December 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Can we send Michelle Obama instead?

NotCoach on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Venezuela would surrender for certain.

petefrt on December 29, 2010 at 10:08 AM

The only countries who take Obama seriously, are the ones who have to. The leaders of Great Britain, Israel and Japan– who have tied their countries to an enduring alliance with America based on mutual interests and values, only to discover that the latest fellow to sit behind the Oval Office desk no longer shares those values and couldn’t give less of a damn about American interests.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/opinion/opinion-opinion/obama-has-lost-the-world-26122010/

pseudonominus on December 29, 2010 at 10:08 AM

environmental whackos control domestic oil production policy and have controlled it for more than two decades. THAT, is why we are STILL dependent on “foreign oil”, and that is why Obowma will bow to Chavez.

belad on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Longer than that. It started with Milhous the First and his EPA

darwin-t on December 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM

pilamaye on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

+ One Trillion

Cindy Munford on December 29, 2010 at 10:09 AM

he did get some face time with the Venezuelan strongman

I wish people would stop using that phrase. What if Hugo reads HotAir & sees it?
“See? Americano thinks I’m el hombre!”
Can’t we call him evil clown instead?

itsnotaboutme on December 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM

The Senate may be in position to defuse the standoff, if Harry Reid is inclined to do so.

Umm, Ed, why EXACTLY do we want the U.S. to back down in this case?? Any attempt to “defuse” this situation is bad news for the U.S. No kow-towing to dictators.

But I guess that’s just how I roll.

HDFOB on December 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Obama finds himself in the position of having even worse diplomatic relations with Venezuela than the Bush administration did, with Chavez daring him to cut ties or retreat on his choice of ambassador. Those, unfortunately, have always been the wages of appeasement with petty dictators.

Chavez recognizes Barry for the spineless fool that he is.

What’s the over/under on when Barry’s nominee “voluntarily” withdraws his name from consideration for unspecified health reasons or so that he can spend more time with his family?

AZCoyote on December 29, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Do it. The United States does not negotiate with terrorists. And Hugo Chávez, my friends, is a terrorist.

steebo77 on December 29, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Palmer’s criticism of the actions of the legislature, which gave Chavez 18 months of rule by decree in order to ignore the new National Assembly taking office next month, one with enough opposition to block Chavez’ proposals:

Is ObaMao suffering from dictator envy?

Slowburn on December 29, 2010 at 10:12 AM

A despot like Chavez can smell a weak sister a mile away and he has Obam’s scent. Smart Power? You bet’chem Red Rider.

Herb on December 29, 2010 at 10:12 AM

SteveMG on December 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

HDFOB on December 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM

I’m not saying I endorse it, just that Reid has an opportunity to get Obama off the hook. Don’t be surprised if it happens.

Ed Morrissey on December 29, 2010 at 10:13 AM

After this season of appeasement, Obama finds himself in the position of having even worse diplomatic relations with Venezuela than the Bush administration did, with Chavez daring him to cut ties or retreat on his choice of ambassador. Those, unfortunately, have always been the wages of appeasement with petty dictators.

After Hugo finished with Obama, he didn’t even leave the money on the nightstand.

BobMbx on December 29, 2010 at 10:14 AM

I know we used to get a lot of oil from Venezuela but 7-11 stores stopped taking Venezuelan oil a year or more ago so have we cut back on importing oil from there?

Vince on December 29, 2010 at 10:16 AM

What’s this, a little tissy spat between bed partners?

Keemo on December 29, 2010 at 10:17 AM

This will Obama’s singular focus when he returns from vacation.

BobMbx on December 29, 2010 at 10:18 AM

SMART POWER!!!!!

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Yup. Our foreign policy has become a bad joke, and the clown prince is the laughingstock of the world.

hillbillyjim on December 29, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Obama will bow to Fat Boy and they’ll trade leftist literature.

darwin-t on December 29, 2010 at 10:05 AM

This is what will happen.

Tim Zank on December 29, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Crap, take Chavez up on his dare! Why should the Senate or Obama accommodate that Communist thug?

WannabeAnglican on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Sean Penn and several other socialist followers of this administration have had private meetings with Chavez for good reason. He is not a communist thug in their eyes, not at all. I don’t claim to know what went on in those meetings, but we have also had Democrat politicians meet with Chavez in private over the past 3-4 years. Democrats have had private meetings on our dime with thug dictatorships in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, as well as others. All while our media made believe that these meetings were not taking place; never asking any questions…

Keemo on December 29, 2010 at 10:22 AM

This is all manufactured theater for the continued employment of the army of bureaucrats at the Ministry of Information. It gives them something to write/talk about, breathless concerned about the great difficulties our Beloved Leader must deal with.

Chavez will continue to buy Russian weapons, bring in Iranian ‘advisers’, build missile bases, make a big public deal about training covert agents to infiltrate and destabilize his enemies. Other leaders in South and Central America will look around wondering WTH is going on, while Obama tightens his grip on our throats.

Everything is going to plan, on time, on track, and no one can stop any of it.

Skandia Recluse on December 29, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I’m not saying I endorse it, just that Reid has an opportunity to get Obama off the hook. Don’t be surprised if it happens

Ed, no it didn’t read as if you endorsed it but it made little sense.

I guess Reid can give Obama an out by asking that the nominee withdraw his name.

In which case, the nominee will be the one giving him an out. Yeah, I can see that happening; Palmer withdrawing his name.

SteveMG on December 29, 2010 at 10:23 AM

What difference would it make if he did. Chavez never listens to anything but the voices in his own head anyway.

jeanie on December 29, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Crap, take Chavez up on his dare! Why should the Senate or Obama accommodate that Communist thug?

WannabeAnglican on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Something about ‘like minds’.

Harry S on December 29, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Oh come on, they all love us now, even Chavez. Can’t you feel the love? They’ll all respect us in the morning too.

Drained Brain on December 29, 2010 at 10:24 AM

I have friends who tell me that Obama won’t like getting bitch slapped by the likes of Putin and Chavez, however after watching Obama attempt to throw a baseball, I’m convinced Obama likes getting bitch slapped by men…

Keemo on December 29, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Do it. The United States does not negotiate with terrorists. And Hugo Chávez, my friends, is a terrorist.

steebo77 on December 29, 2010 at 10:11 AM

I agree.

Ojesus needs to man up and show this tin-horn turd that the United States is not impotent. Sink a couple of ships just for the hell of it and then get serious. Tell Hugo that we’ve got a cruise missile or a hellfire with his name on it. Now that would be smart power.

Not holding my breath, though.

hillbillyjim on December 29, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Thugs like Chavez understand one thing—force. He needs someone to fly south, put a finger in his chest, stare him in the eye and make his frijole eatin’ mouth quiver. A guy like John Bolton would do that.

ted c on December 29, 2010 at 10:30 AM

The hidden story here is the parallel between the two national leaders’ approaches to the adverse electoral results both suffered. Chavez has managed to get a lame duck National Assembly to grant him the power openly to ignore the voice of the Venezuelan people. Obama managed to get a lame duck Congress to jam through one last huge slug of spending the American people had clearly voted against, then furtively to continue ignoring our voice by having Executive branch agencies simply make rules and write regulations directly in cantravention thereof.

The incident itself just shows how little negotiating skill Obama has. Just as Jimmy Carter showed his lack of skill by announcing he would not leave the White House until Iran released the hostages in 1979, Obama showed his in the “meet with no pre-conditions” statement. My Dad would always say there’s always one pigeon at the poker table –if you don’t know who it is…IT’S YOU! Obama should think about that.

JPlunket on December 29, 2010 at 10:31 AM

At this moment, Obama and his inner circle are meeting in Hawaii to discuss this very issue. Unnamed sources close to the president indicate that the president has ordered additional supplies of KY jelly be obtained just in case diplomatic entreaties fail. The president then adjourned the meeting and retired to the gym for some deep bowing exercises.

turfmann on December 29, 2010 at 10:32 AM

A classic case of the bully and the eunuch. I wonder who wins. The leader of the “free” world is a laughingstock on the world stage.

volsense on December 29, 2010 at 10:34 AM

The problem the US has is with “foreign oil” needs. We are dependent on “foreign oil” because the environmental whackos control domestic oil production policy and have controlled it for more than two decades. THAT, is why we are STILL dependent on “foreign oil”, and that is why Obowma will bow to Chavez.

belad on December 29, 2010 at 10:04 AM

I believe the US has the only refineries capable of refining Venezuela’s crude. Cut off ties, and refuse the petroleum. That’ll sink the thug right quick.

rbj on December 29, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Count it!

ladyingray on December 29, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, the Workers’ Party government of Brazil, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Russia – today’s “Axis of Evil.”

steebo77 on December 29, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Whatever Obama’s specific response, cooked up by the lefties at State, it seems rather likely to be consistent with the response to the Honduras situation in June 2009: bow to the dictator and cave pre-emptively, on the childish premise that if we just quit being so “mean” and do something “nice”, he’ll return the favor.

The world is a bad neighborhood –Obama just doesn’t get that.

JPlunket on December 29, 2010 at 10:40 AM

Er? The US Senate will reject – or has the chance to reject – the nominee because Hugo Chavez attacked him?

Ed, please tell me that was the bad leftover egg nog writing that.

SteveMG on December 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

The problem is, that is precisely what’s going to happen. Reid is safe for another 6 years, and Obama needs some anti-Marxist “cred” (as false as it would be) in order to get re-elected in 2012.

steveegg on December 29, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Has Obama given Chavez a bow? Maybe thats what he is really upset about, every one else has gotten a bow but him.

tommer74 on December 29, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Is there no mutual adulation between thug marxists anymore?

44Magnum on December 29, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Chavez recognizes Barry for the spineless fool that he is.

AZCoyote on December 29, 2010 at 10:11 AM

Oh, Obama can act “tough” if he wants to….by sending in the brave men and women of the US military….because it is they who are not in reality “spineless fools”.

pseudonominus on December 29, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Is there no mutual adulation between thug marxists anymore?

44Magnum on December 29, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Dictators make no allowances for sharing the spotlight. Take Stalin for example. And Che really fled Cuba before Castro got around to murdering him.

NotCoach on December 29, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I guess somebody is angry they won’t get any new pics of 0bama’s boy chest.

cntrlfrk on December 29, 2010 at 10:51 AM

The problem is, that is precisely what’s going to happen
Yeah but I don’t see the full Senate rejecting the nominee. Which is what I thought Ed was suggesting (not advocating but suggesting).

More likely, the nominee will quietly withdraw his name and Obama will nominate another person.

Same result; different process.

SteveMG on December 29, 2010 at 10:56 AM

I double dare you Mr. President! Do it.

scalleywag on December 29, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Can our new rail gun reach Venezuela from, say, Texas?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on December 29, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Is there no mutual adulation between thug marxists anymore?

44Magnum on December 29, 2010 at 10:46 AM

There is only one Lord of the Ring Hopeandchange, only one who can bend it to his will. And he does not share power.

BobMbx on December 29, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Dictators make no allowances for sharing the spotlight. Take Stalin for example. And Che really fled Cuba before Castro got around to murdering him.

NotCoach on December 29, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I guess another way to say it is..
“There is no honor among thieves.”

44Magnum on December 29, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Dictators make no allowances for sharing the spotlight. Take Stalin for example. And Che really fled Cuba before Castro got around to murdering him.

NotCoach on December 29, 2010 at 10:50 AM

I guess another way of saying it would be..
“There is no honor among thieves.”

44Magnum on December 29, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Sortof a duplicate. Sorry.

44Magnum on December 29, 2010 at 11:13 AM

I don’t remember where, but I recently read an article describing how Obama had become an utter irrelevance to foreign leaders – saying how they invite him to parties like a B-list celebrity to jabber about Global Warming Or Something, and then brush him off when it’s time to talk among themselves about real politics.

Chavez’s statements are – as always – inane and idiotic. But the fact that he feels comfortable giving out ultimatums so freely says volumes.

logis on December 29, 2010 at 11:23 AM

The Left is convinced that they can reach dictators through their own rational self-interest. Conservatives in their view dismiss tyrants as crazy and overreact to their provocations.

They keep forgetting that Chavez and his ilk have spent their political lives surrounded by yes-men over whom they have the power of life and death. Tyrants all think they are mothafreakin’ Napoleon and Albert Einstein all rolled in one. Dictators have rational self-interests, but after decades in the reality-distortion field, they don’t place those lines anywhere near where an objective observer would put them.

Sekhmet on December 29, 2010 at 11:33 AM

The situation is not a mild embarrassment for Obama. His nominee (Palmer) has said the right things from the standpoint of the United States. If the Senate declines to confirm him, then Chavez wins. I say let Obama keep Palmer as the nominee, let the Senate confirm him, and then it’s Chavez’ move. He can either accept the credentials of the Ambassador the United States sends, or not, as is his supreme will — at least at the moment. If he chooses not to accept the Ambassador, then it is Chavez who has broken relations, not Obama.

unclesmrgol on December 29, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Shame we don’t have another Reagan in office… be nice to have someone say “I have signed the order to cut off all diplomatic relationships with Chavez… the Missiles delivering the note to him are on their way as we speak”

Razgriez on December 29, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Quick! Which one is the National Socialist in that picture?

Fake8 on December 29, 2010 at 11:54 AM

One thing for sure, the man in the White House will be TOO SCARED to respond.

That’s the real Obama.

TheAlamos on December 29, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Quick! Which one is the National Socialist in that picture?

Fake8 on December 29, 2010 at 11:54 AM

You mean “two”. One is a scary dictator … the other is “scared” dictator.

TheAlamos on December 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm. The host nation disapproves of the proposed Ambassador, there is only one diplomatic solution that all nations recognize, offer another. Or say nothing and send no one.

The Evil Clown is tail tugging like a four year old. Best ignored.

BL@KBIRD on December 29, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Quick! Which one is the National Socialist in that picture?

Fake8 on December 29, 2010 at 11:54 AM

You mean “two”. One is a scary dictator … the other is “scared” dictator.

TheAlamos on December 29, 2010 at 12:01 PM

What’s the biggest difference between Chavez and Obama?

About 150 lbs.

Fake8 on December 29, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Chavez’s statements are – as always – inane and idiotic.

But the fact that he feels comfortable giving out ultimatums so freely says volumes.

logis on December 29, 2010 at 11:23 AM

I know he won’t but obambi should tell chavez to pound sand.

VegasRick on December 29, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Chavez’s treatment of Obama following the OAS meeting mirrors that of Nikita Khrushchev, in how he treated John F. Kennedy in the wake of their meeting in Vienna in 1961.

Khrushchev saw Kennedy as inexperienced and weak, and thought his bluster could make Kennedy back down when push came to shove, which led to the Cuban Missile Crisis 18 months later. Chavez is probing Obama in the same way with this latest gambit, and is already in talks to buy medium-ranged missiles from Iran. Obama needs to take this challenge seriously, or he could be faced with his own missile crisis during the 2012 campaign (which would actually be closer to Carter’s Iranian hostage crisis situation in the 1980 election).

jon1979 on December 29, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Looks like our “beloved intellectual” O’bummer is trying to get the Venezuelan street thug to pull his finger.

Hey, it always works with Biden!

Lucky for -0- the dictator was in a good mood, or he might have found that finger in an unspeakable place…

Sweet_Thang on December 29, 2010 at 12:48 PM

I know we used to get a lot of oil from Venezuela but 7-11 stores stopped taking Venezuelan oil a year or more ago so have we cut back on importing oil from there?

Vince on December 29, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Citgo

TexasDan on December 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Obama insisted that he could change the nature of the relationship between the US and Venezuela by personally meeting “without preconditions” with Chavez

This was no grim meeting, either. Big smiles, warm, extended handshakes, gift exchange. Makes me shudder to think of it.

itsnotaboutme on December 29, 2010 at 10:07 AM

Right you are, itsnot, it was a good old fashion soul shake and they damn near kissed on the mouth. See here.

Mason on December 29, 2010 at 1:13 PM

I’m sure The One will pen a short diplomatic note, begging for forgiveness.

Wouldn’t want to upset a tin-pot dictator.

GarandFan on December 29, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Epic misunderestimation of his diplomatic prowess AKA “Smart Power”. More like “Dumas” Power.

AH_C on December 29, 2010 at 2:14 PM

Let’s save some lives by putting this person in prison, now!

Hening on December 29, 2010 at 3:16 PM

Ok. Let’s be honest here. This is not about diplomats or oil. From the first touch when he gave Obama his favorite book to read this has been about who is going to be on top when this firey Latin courtship is consumated. Everyone knows Chavez is gay and Obama swings both ways. My money is on Chavez. They’d make a cute-a-hell couple if they weren’t both suffering from the same kind of narcism.

BrideOfRove on December 29, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Never. Gonna. Happen. And The Evil Clown knows it. President Mom Jeans would rather be Chavez’ blow-up doll than do anything that might piss off the commie bastard.

Dopenstrange on December 29, 2010 at 6:04 PM

Son of a ……

He did it…..

Skandia Recluse on December 29, 2010 at 11:40 PM