Chavez responded by referring to Bush as the devil no fewer than eight times during his 2006 U.N. address. This year, Chavez complimented but also chided Obama for saying one thing and doing another. There may be two Obamas, he said. And more than a few Americans thought he might have a point.

One Obama is loquacious and inspiring. The other seems somewhat removed from threatening realities and people who don’t share our appreciation for visionary rhetoric. Some folks simply aren’t talk-able. Some nations — no matter how well-intentioned, sincere and earnest we are — just aren’t that into us.

Chavez and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, brothers in their own declared “axis of unity,” are cases in point. United in their animus toward the U.S., they’ve become so close they’re practically exchanging jewelry. Better than that, they’re building financial partnerships that may make sanctions irrelevant and, in a “Memorandum of Understanding,” have promised each other military support and cooperation.