Monday, January 3, 2011

A Falling-Out Among Thieves

Former BFFs Hugo Chavez and Barack Obama have just had a lovers' spat. It seems that Obama had appointed another one of his diplomatic geniuses as ambassador to Venezuela and Hugo "Boss" Chavez didn't like him. Appointee Larry Palmer is a typical Obama hack, but he also shares a trait common among all Obama State Department picks in that he has foot-in-mouth disease. Palmer suggested that the Chavez regime might be less than perfect.

In fact, Palmer's exact words were: "Morale in the Venezuelan military is low, and the Colombian rebels are easily finding refuge in Venezuela." He also suggested that there was solid information that the US Treasury Department had identified three members of Chavez's inside cadre as helping Colombian drug-terrorists by supplying them with arms and assisting in their trafficking operations. Palmer spoke truth to power, he just picked the wrong power to tell the truth to.

So Chavez said he would reject Obama's appointee. Obama said "I dare you, and if you do, I'll expel your ambassador." Chavez replied: "I double dare you." To which Obama replied: "Lookee here, I double-dog dare you." This was a very high-tone diplomatic exchange.

The official State Deparment announcement following the yanking of the two ambassadors was: "We believe it's in our national interest to have an ambassador in Caracas so that we can candidly express our views and engage with the government of Venezuela." It seems to me that doing so was Palmer's big mistake. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: "There are tensions in the relationship, and it's precisely because of that that we feel it's important to have appropriate diplomatic relations." And where would this country be without this great nation of ours?

So the socialist-by-choice in Venezuela has told the socialist-in-denial in America that his nation will not accept any ambassador in whose presence there has been heard a discouraging word. What a shame. Just a year-and-a-half ago the two were hugging each other enthusiastically at the international socialist conference for the western hemisphere. Part of the problem is that Chavez is within inches of succeeding in eliminating all political opposition, squelching speech entirely, and ruling by diktat. So there might be some jealousy involved. Obama has been trying to do the same thing, and has failed miserably, facing a fairly hostile Republican House when Congress returns next week. And speech is still allowed in America, though most of the press are in lockstep with the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Chavez is about to succeed in passing serious restrictions on the internet, barring messages that "disrespect public authorities, incite or promote hatred or crimes, or could create anxiety in the citizenry or alter public order." Since Obama has the same goal, perhaps there is hope for change in the seeming diplomatic impasse. The two leaders could conduct some private diplomacy, instruct each other on how to squelch dissent, then give each other big hugs as they reinstate their mutual ambassadors. All Obama has to promise is that no American ambassador to Venezuela will ever again slip and tell the truth. Peace for our time.


Tennessee Jed said...

Happy New Year, Hawk. Reading your post reminds me that I much prefer Condoleeza Rice and John Bolton than the Bamster when it comes to dealing with rogue regimes. I bet that Richard Dreyfus is one happy camper, though.

rlaWTX said...

"We believe it's in our national interest to have an ambassador in Caracas so that we can candidly express our views and engage with the government of Venezuela." "There are tensions in the relationship, and it's precisely because of that that we feel it's important to have appropriate diplomatic relations."

There are buckets of sarcasm and irony-alerts flashing in these 2 lines alone. And that's without any commentary!

I read the article about Bolton on NRO this morning... he's such a breath of fresh air. If he runs for Pres, it'll start some conversations at least...

Happy new year to all - although it's feeling a lot like last year to me...

Unknown said...

Tennessee: I miss them both. Particularly John Bolton. The left hated everything about him, right down to the fact that he "didn't look like all the previous ambassadors." That alone made him eminently qualified to take on the bad guys. He looks like a graying Wyatt Earp, and the UN was the OK Corral.

Unknown said...

rlaWTX: Bolton is one of my favorite "demonized others" for the left. I would have to say that I am at best cautiously optimistic about the new year. In my lifetime I have never seen so much go so wrong so quickly, and it won't be an easy task even if we had won both houses of Congress with substantial conservative majorities in each. It's going to be a very tough year. I still have my faith in America and Americans, but it's really going to get tested in the coming months.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, that last paragraph of yours, mentioning the crackdown on Internet criticism of government officials, brought to mind what I hate most about the Left: in cases such as this, they suppress a basic freedom, that of speech and/or the press, and manage to sanctimoniously assert that they're making sure everyone plays nice and stays civil! At what point did we decide that not hurting other people's feelings (as long as they're not white male Christians) is more important than having a truthful debate and preserving our liberties? I'm sorry, I thought I'd left the campus dormitory and its weekly garbage about "tolerance" and "diversity."

Obviously, this isn't what Chavez is after; it's a power grab pure and simple. It's the ones who are so willing to swallow this justification hook, line, and sinker who have me so irked.

rlaWTX said...

Lawhawk, thanks for the optimism re-boot!
But I must admit that my grumpiness is personal rather than political... I have a job where each month starts the same and each week has a similar make-up. Except for the details (of which there is a plethora) time tends to "feel" repetitive. A new year just brings more AARG to the regular monthly tasks (close out the year instead of just the month, etc)... And then add that today's details include everyone being out sick... harumph.
(I like my job. Love the people I work with, but today is just harumphy.)

Unknown said...

T_Rav: It all started with the political-correctness movement of the 70s. Once the leftists in government figured out they could translate "give no offense" into hate speech statutes and hate crimes, it became a clarion call for more government, more government. Once the government controls the speech, it can determine who can and cannot be offended. You can shout "Jew" in a crowded theater, but don't shout "Muslim" at Ground Zero.

The only difference between Chavez and Obama on the issue is that Chavez is better at it.

Unknown said...

rlaWTX: Anyone who doesn't suffer a grumpy day now and then is probably brain-dead. All things considered, I probably have more than most. Perhaps my advantage is that my German genes produce an endorphin of some kind that generates "galgenhumor," otherwise known as "gallows humor." I'm going to need a lot of it over the next year. LOL

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