Monday, March 03, 2008

Are We Safer?....

President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez directed in a radio address this weekend.... "Mr. Defense Minister, move 10 battalions to the border with Colombia for me, immediately--- tank battalions, deploy the air force.... we don't want war, but we aren't going to permit the U.S. empire, which is the master [of Colombia].... to come to divide us." (WashingtonPost)

As the military from leftist Ecuador and Venezuela deploy on their borders with Columbia, a U. S. ally, the tense crisis threatens to erupt into war.

The reason.... a raid by Colombia into Ecuador which killed a leader of the rebel leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) which has fought to overthrow the Colombian government for 40 years.

Colombia said its police and air force shot back at targets in Ecuador only after its forces came under fire from FARC rebels about a mile inside Ecuador.

Chavez warned "This is something very serious. This could be the start of a war in South America" and threatened to retaliate with Sukhois.... recently purchased Russian warplanes.

And... in the Middle East, Iranian's President Ahmadinejad is visiting Baghdad today and telling the U.S. to get out of Iraq and the region. (WashingtonPost)

During his two-day trip, Iran and Iraq will sign seven agreements on customs, transportation links, improving cooperation in industrial development, highlighting the new, closer relations between the former foes.

Since the U.S. overthrow of Saddam and the installation of a new U.S.-backed government, both Iraq and Iran are now run by Shiite majorities.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) decried our lack of focus on Afghanistan and nuclear-armed Pakistan. (NYTimes)

"Afghanistan is slipping toward failure. The Taliban is back, violence is up, drug production is booming and the Afghans are losing faith in their government"... Biden warned.

"If we should have had a surge anywhere, it is Afghanistan.... Afghanistan's fate is directly tied to Pakistan's future and America's security. When President Musharraf of Pakistan concluded that we were not serious about finishing the job in Afghanistan, he began to cut deals with extremists in his own country.

"As a result, the border area remains a freeway of fundamentalism: the Taliban and Al Qaeda find sanctuary in Pakistan, while Pakistani suicide bombers wreak havoc in Afghanistan."

The fruits of the Bush administration's Iraq-obsessed foreign policy.... deep unrest with the specter of war in our backyard, and an obscenely costly war in Iraq that has played into Iran's ambitions in that country while emboldening fundamentalism in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Heck of a job, Georgie.

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