Archive for the ‘Chavez’ Category

Pressuring Obama: International Actors Take Risks Amid Uncertainty

March 14, 2009

An international series of moves on the strategic map or chessborad is ongoing in an apparent effort to get the first move from America’s new president, Barack Obama.

Russia has orchestrated the closing of a key U.S. air base at Manas in Kyrgyzstan, China has seen fit to harass a U.S. naval vessel in the South China Sea and now Russia has failed to deny the possibility that Russian bombers could be based in Venezuela and or Cuba.

The problem with these moves is that it puts the president into a reactive rather than a proactive position and the incidents themselves lend themselves to escalation unintended and accidental.

When China wanted to send the “back-off” message to President George W. Bush early in his administration by harassing a U.S. Navy surveillance  aircrft using a Chinese PLA (Air Force) fighter, the aircaft collided, killing the Chinese pilot and leading to “detention” of the American aircrew.

One has to hope that the Obama Administration has made it perfectly clear to China and Russia that this kind of conduct is not helpful at the least and potentially very dangerous.

But no public mention of that effort has been made publically, which could mean other like Hugi Chavez in Venezuela get the wrong idea and take additional unnecassary risks and miscalcualtions we don’t need….
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“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD
/europe/03/14/russia.cuba.bombers/
index.html

***************

By DAVID NOWAK, Asssociated Press
.
MOSCOW – A Russian Air Force chief said Saturday that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has offered an island as a temporary base for strategic Russian bombers, the Interfax news agency reported.

The chief of staff of Russia‘s long range aviation, Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, also said Cuba could be used to base the aircraft, Interfax reported.

The Kremlin, however, said the situation was hypothetical.

“The military is speaking about technical possibilities, that’s all,” Alexei Pavlov, a Kremlin official, told The Associated Press. “If there will be a development of the situation, then we can comment,” he said.

Zhikharev said Chavez had offered “a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers,” the agency reported. “If there is a corresponding political decision, then the use of the island … by the Russian Air Force is possible.”

Interfax reported he said earlier that Cuba has air bases with four or five runways long enough for the huge bombers and could be used to host the long-range planes.

Two Russian bombers landed in Venezuela last year in what experts said was the first Western Hemisphere touchdown of Russian military craft since the end of the Cold War.

Cuba has never permanently hosted Russian or Soviet strategic aircraft. But Soviet short-range bombers often made stopovers there during the Cold War.

Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus.

Independent military analyst Alexander Golts said from a strategic point of view there was nothing for Russia to gain from basing long-range craft within relatively short range of U.S. shores.

“It has no military sense. The bombers don’t need any base. This is just a retaliatory gesture,” Golts said, saying Russia wanted to hit back after U.S. ships patrolled Black Sea waters.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090314/ap_on_r
e_eu/eu_russia_bombers_cuba;_ylt=AtFwh2Caa
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Y3ViYXZl

Related:
Obama Has Failed To Spell Out His Vision

Analysts: Russia outmaneuvered U.S. over air base

 Obama Could Lose Afghanistan, Pakistan

 Obama bans term “enemy combatant,” joins “terrorist” in unusable list

Obama Policy On Gitmo, Taliban, Afghanistan, Intel: As Stupid as It Gets

http://urdunews.wordpress.com/200
9/03/14/zardari-remains-firm-prot
ests-continue/

 Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

Obama: Troop move to Mexican border under consideration

China:
 Obama Backs-Off On Human Rights Issues: Economy is That Important

In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, one of two Russian ... 
In this photo released by the U.S. Navy, one of two Russian Tupolev 95 Bear long rang bomber aircraft is seen near the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Nimitz on Feb. 9, 2008, south of Japan. The Interfax news agency reported Saturday March 14, 2009 that a Russian Air Force chief says Russian strategic bombers may be based in Cuba. Russia resumed long-range bomber patrols in 2007 after a 15-year hiatus. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy)

Can Democracy Fail With Obama’s Socialist Help?

March 7, 2009

We heard Mike Huckabee mention French philospher Jean-Francois Revel on TV recently.  Ravel believed that in a democracy, people could vote themselves so many benefits that the nation-state would collapse in debt.

We mention this as President Obama plans to borrow money and create debt to reform health care; bailout all homehowners with difficult mortgages; bailout AIG, Ford, GM, Citi, and a host of others; pay unemplyment insurance; reform our energy industry to eliminate oil, gas and coal, and more….And he has promised 98% of Americans a tax cut while proposing to increase taxes on those that create the most jobs (and wealth).

Whoopi doesn’t like getting taxed out the wazoo.  And neither does anyone else….

Well, maybe Oprah doesn’t mind more taxes for her pal Barack….

Oprah talks about President-elect Barack Obama.
Oprah won but I’m losing hope…

[Commentary]
Martin Kozlowski, WSJ

Ravel:

“… anarchy leads to despotism … despotism leads to anarchy …”

“Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself.”

“It is unlikely that we will ever be capable of building a world that is qualitatively better than we ourselves are.”

Democracy against Itself

“Strangely, it is always America that is described as degenerate and ‘fascist,’ while it is solely in Europe that actual dictatorships and totalitarian regimes spring up.” From Europe’s Anti-American Obsession. A similar statement can be found in his book Anti-Americanism, Encounter Books, 2004, p. 156 (paperback).

“A human group transforms itself into a crowd when it suddenly responds to a suggestion rather than to reasoning, to an image rather than to an idea, to an affirmation rather than to proof, to the repetition of a phrase rather than to arguments, to prestige rather than to competence”

**************

By Albert Mohler

“Democracy may, after all, turn out to have been a historical accident, a brief parenthesis that is closing before our eyes.” With those words, French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel sounded an alarm as the ramparts of democratic conviction were under attack by the political left. Revel, one of the most important conservative thinkers in France, saw European intellectuals and the political left in America undermining the very foundations of democracy.

“Democracy tends to ignore, even deny, threats to its existence because it loathes doing what is needed to counter them,” explained Revel. “It awakens only when the danger becomes deadly, imminent, evident. By then, either there is too little time left for it to save itself, or the price of survival has become crushingly high.”

To any insightful observer of the European scene in the early 1980s, Revel’s analysis was prophetic. Leftist intellectuals were pointing to the United States as the source of all oppression in the world, while praising the Soviet Union as the liberator of human kind. In How Democracies Perish, Revel aimed his sights at the self-destructive hypocrisies of liberal thought. As he knew, the very intellectuals who should have been supporting the United States were instead hoping for its downfall. “What we end up with in what is conventionally called Western society is a topsy-turvy situation in which those seeking to destroy democracy appear to be fighting for legitimate aims, while its defenders are pictured as repressive reactionaries.”

As Revel lamented, at times the democracies seemed to find strange comfort in calls for their own destruction. As he observed, “Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another is power is working to destroy it.” Were democracies doomed to self-destruct?

Jean-Francois Revel is well known as a shining light of reason in the French academy. Long a columnist, editor, and director of L’Express, Revel is also the author of a multi-volume history of philosophy. He sprang to Western attention with the publication of his controversial book, Without Marx or Jesus. Revel’s later volumes would include The Totalitarian Temptation and Democracy Against Itself.

Throughout his career, Revel has been known as a stalwart defender of democracy. He does not take this matter lightly, for he understands all too well that the basic structure of government determines the achievement or loss of human freedom within a society. In Democracy Against Itself, Revel argued that “every society which has worked more or less well, which achieved any sort of viability, and which produced civilizations men found tolerable, have been–or are–societies that in some sense are democratic.”

Of course, the alarm sounded by Revel in How Democracies Perish was overtaken by history with the fall of the Soviet Union and the remarkable events of 1989 and 1990. As Revel later reflected, the good news revealed in the fall of the Soviet Union was the fact that its internal weaknesses were even greater than the self-hatred of the secular left in Western democracies.

Now, twenty years after How Democracies Perish, Revel looks to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorists attacks and asks the fundamental question: Why do so many Europeans hate America?

This is not a question of merely academic interest. Revel senses that something fundamental is revealed in the way the European Left has responded to America’s status as the world’s only super power.

Revel is blunt. The ascendancy of the United States, set over against the relative decline of Europe, has given birth to an intense hatred in some European corridors. Most particularly, Revel locates the root of this poisonous anti-Americanism in France. As he comments, “It is in France that this loss–real or imaginary–of great-power status engenders the most bitterness.”

The virulent anti-Americanism that erupted on the streets of Europe in the aftermath of America’s military action in Afghanistan and Iraq did not emerge from a vacuum. Revel’s interest in anti-Americanism is rooted in his own experience as an French intellectual who actually visited the United States. When Revel first visited America in 1969, he discovered a land very different from what he expected. Having planned to write a book on the problems of the United States, Revel instead wrote a treatise criticizing the irrational anti-Americanism of the European Left. Now, he has done it again–and this new book may be even more important.

In Anti-Americanism, just released by Encounter Books, Revel considers this toxic pattern of European hatred towards the United States. He identifies one core issue as a sense of European loss. Revel cites Hubert Vedrine, the French minister of foreign affairs, who rejected the word “superpower”, and instead substituted a term of his own invention: “hyperpower.”

As Revel notes, since the Greek prefix “hyper” has exactly the same meaning as the Latin “super,” Mr. Vedrine is merely seeking to score political capital in his own nation and in the larger European neighborhood. As Vedrine stated, “We cannot except a politically unipolar and culturally homogenized world, any more than the unilateralism of the single hyperpower.” Exactly what Mr. Vedrine meant by this, no one seems to know. Nevertheless, it is an example of French hyperventilation posing as foreign policy.

Revel sees the problem as much worse than hyperbole. If America is dominant, Revel asks, then why is this so? He will not allow Europeans off the hook. “Europeans in particular should force themselves to examine how they have contributed to that preponderance. It was they, after all, who made the twenty century the darkest in history; it was they who brought about the two unprecedented cataclysms of the World Wars; and it was they who invented and put into place the two most criminal regimes ever inflicted on the human race–pinnacles of evil and imbecility achieved in a space of less than thirty years.”

The United States is far from perfect, Revel acknowledges. Nevertheless, he suggests that any criticisms should be directed at real problems, and should not take the form of irrational rantings.

According to Revel, the European Left enjoys its fantasy of America as “the worst society that ever was.” According to this cartoon of reality, America is a society that is entirely under the control of money-grubbing plutocrats. Everything is for sale and the entire culture has been commodified. The problem is not just George W. Bush, for the European Left is convinced that every recent American president “has been in the pockets of the oil companies, the military-industrial complex, the agricultural lobby or the financial manipulators of Wall Street.” But, in the French view, George W. Bush is just the worst of the lot–at least as yet.

The European Left is also convinced that America is primarily marked by poverty. As Revel describes the Leftist fantasy: “Hordes of famished indigents are everywhere, while luxurious chauffeured limousines with darkened windows glide through the urban wilderness.” These same thinkers are convinced that violence reigns throughout the United States, and that gunshots commonly ring through even the most peaceable neighborhoods. As Revel acknowledges, European rants about America’s lax gun laws would have more credibility if the same weapons were not easily available for purchase through the black market in virtually every European city.

If this picture of America is true, the pattern of immigration from Europe to the United States throughout the twentieth century was absolutely irrational. “If the picture of American society drawn everyday by the European press is accurate, then we must believe that those tens of millions of immigrants from all parts of the world, and especially those who came from Europe between 1850 and 1924, were all deluded fools. Otherwise, why did they insist on staying in the American capitalist jungle with all its evils and not return to the lands of peace, plenty, and liberty they came from? Lost in a hellish cultural wasteland, why at least didn’t they write to their families and relations basking in the paradises of Ukraine, Calabria and Greece warning them not to come to America?” Clearly, Revel does not mince words.

This virulent anti-Americanism is not a matter of mere sociological interest. As Revel understands, this explains why the United Nations Security Council has become so ineffectual and why the United States has been forced to act unilaterally. As he explains, “Europeans’ voluntary blindness with regard to these radical changes renders any American attempts at dialogue fruitless; as a result, America has no other option but to make unilateral decisions. How can you discuss a problem with people who deny its very existence?”

Jean-Francois Revel is a brave man who has lived through some of the most tumultuous decades of human history. Though a realist, he is not without hope. He has sounded the alarm more than once, only to have the Left ignore his cries. Anti-Americanism is Revel’s latest attempt to call the trendsetting intellectuals of Europe back to sanity. Good luck, Professor Revel. This is no easy task.

Revel’s prescient warning to the European Left should also serve to educate thoughtful Americans about the challenge we face in Europe, which may be as daunting a challenge as that posed by Islamic terrorism. Something sick lies at the heart of Western civilization. The democracies that will surely perish will be those who cannot tell the difference between good and evil, survival and ruin, freedom and tyranny. Or, perhaps more to the point, the greatest danger faced by democracy are those who deny that there is any real difference after all.

Ravel from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-
Fran%C3%A7ois_Revel

Ravel’s book:
“How Democracies Perish”
http://www.amazon.com/How-Democracies-
Perish-Jean-Francois-Revel/dp/0060970111

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That brings us to the first weeks of the Obama administration, set against the background of a scary and steadily deepening global economic crisis. Last month, in his first address to Congress, Obama warned the country that fixing the huge problems in the financial markets and housing and auto industries would require a historic effort. “None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy,” he said. “But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary to move this country forward.”

Minutes later, Obama spelled out what he proposes this to mean for 98 percent of Americans: “You will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut . . . and these checks are on the way.”

So much for summoning the country to sacrifice. Obama has been no more willing to ask average Americans to pitch in, even once the recession is over, than Bush.

See:
George W. Obama?

Related:
 Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Stock Market

NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Obama’s First Weeks: Economic Disaster, Socialist Agenda, Congressional Pork, Limbaugh Attacked, and “We Won”

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/06/the-going-galt-phenom-spreads/

Oprah’s Literary Liars Club: Who Is Responsible?

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/330
01_Chavez_to_Obama-_Ally_With_Us_on
_the_Path_to_Socialism

Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

March 7, 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez comments on U.S. President Barack Obama and the state of the U.S. economy. He made the remarks today on Venezuelan state television.

“It’s regrettable the crisis that the U.S. is living through. Millions of workers are being left in the street, thousands of companies are closing, in the U.S. there isn’t a single new infrastructure project. Go look for a highway there, the country has gone bust.”

“Now President Obama arrived with some announcements, hopefully, but the capitalist model and its perverse values have failed.”

“I recommend to Obama — they’re criticizing him because they say he’s moving towards socialism — come Obama, ally with us on the path to socialism, it’s the only road.”

“Imagine a socialist revolution in the U.S. Nothing is impossible.”

By Dan Cancel, Bloomberg

Iran Ducks UN With Venezuela, Missiles, Terrorists, Syria

December 22, 2008

Iran is using its warm relations with Venezuela to dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.
Citing US and other Western intelligence agencies, La Stampa said Iran is using aircraft from Venezuelan airline Conviasa to transport computers and engine components to Syria for use in missiles.

The material comes from Iranian industrial group Shahid Bagheri, listed in the annex of UN Security Council Resolution 1737, adopted in December 2006, for involvement in Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

AFP

In a file picture from 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ... 
In a file picture from 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (front) and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listen to their national anthems during a welcoming ceremony in Tehran. Iran is using its warm relations with Venezuela to dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.(AFP/File/Behrouz Mehri)

The resolution instructed all nations to “prevent the supply, sale or transfer” of all material or technology that could be used for Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme and the development of weapons to carry nuclear warheads.

Syria is a close ally of Iran in the Middle East, with the two nations having signed a military cooperation pact in June 2006.

In return for providing aircraft, Iran has made available to Caracas members of its Revolution Guards and the elite Al-Quds unit to train and reinforce the Venezuelan police and secret services, La Stampa reported.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081221/wl_mideas
t_afp/italyirannuclearunvenezuela_081221195421

Foes ready to test Obama overseas

December 13, 2008

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev chose the day after Barack Obama‘s election victory to brandish a threat of ballistic missiles. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said of the president-elect: “I hope he doesn’t end up being one more imperialist.”

As for Al-Qaida, it likened Barack Obama to a favored slave doing his master’s bidding.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, greets former U.S. ... 
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, greets former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, left, during a meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Friday, Dec. 12, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)

Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, predicted the new president would quickly be tested by a dangerous world. That test might come from anywhere, but attention has focused on North Korea, Iran, Russia and Venezuela, and the al-Qaida terror group.

By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Writer

Obama’s Republican opponent, John McCain, called him too inexperienced to be president. So did Hillary Clinton, now his choice for secretary of state. Since his election, Obama has filled his national security team with centrists and relative hawks — a possible warning not to underestimate him.

“What Obama absolutely must prove early on in his administration is that he cannot be played for a patsy, that he has the strength … and that he understands his no. 1 duty is as commander in chief and protector of the United States,” said Robin Niblett, the director of Chatham House, the London-based think tank.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081213/ap_on_
re_eu/eu_obama_s_adversaries

Silver Lining Of Lower Oil Prices: Loudmouths Quieted (For a While…)

December 6, 2008

Inside every recession there’s a silver lining and in this one it’s falling oil prices, down from $147 a barrel in July to $48 this week and maybe headed toward $40.

And inside falling oil prices there’s another silver lining: It shuts up people like Iranian President Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad. Oh, he’s still ranting away in Tehran but he lacks that old anti-U.S. fire and focus. For one thing, he is in danger of losing his job.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has congratulated President-elect Barack Obama. Formal diplomatic relations were cut in 1979.
Above: Iran’s Ahmadinejad.  Photo by Getty Images

By Dale McFeathers
The Washington Times

He looked like a genius in July but now that oil revenues have slackened Iranians can see what a shambles he has made of the economy. Unemployment is high, inflation even higher and Mr. Ahmadinejad, having squandered the oil revenues when times were good, is forced to consider cutting spending and raising taxes, which should make his real popular with the bazaar crowd. He is up for re-election in June, and without oil money to throw around and the United States to kick around he may face a second career driving a cab.

Another silver lining is that Russia, also overly dependent on oil revenues, has become notably less grandiose along with its new best friend in Latin America, Venezuelan blowhard Hugo Chavez.

In Moscow, work has stopped on what was to be Europe’s largest and tallest — 1,968 feet – office building. The Associated Press quoted the developer as saying that because of the credit crisis there was no money to pay for the building and no demand from tenants to fill it. That’ll do it to you.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/06/recessions-silver-lining/

An oil pump works away at sunset Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, in the ... 
(AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)