History's End

History will end only when Man does

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  • Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Warzone: Latin America?

    Professor Bainbridge links to an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald, examining the issue of Venezuelan military expansion.

    A Latin American war could possibly break out in the next few years. Unlike what happened in the 20th century when all confrontations were caused by border disputes, this time the war could be a bloody, multinational conflict triggered by ideological reasons.

    All symptoms indicate that behind that likely disaster will be the irresponsible behavior of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, a quixotic firebrand who is intent in reconstructing the continent according to his revolutionary fantasies.


    Simultaneously, Chávez uses the river of petrodollars that is pouring into the country, as a result of rising fuel prices, to strengthen his army's offensive capability. Pending is the purchase of 50 MiG-29 warplanes from Russia, along with a large number of tanks, helicopters and armored vehicles.

    The purpose of so much materiel is easy to guess: an eventual confrontation with Colombia, intended not only to liquidate Uribe's ''oligarchic and pro-United States'' government but also to initiate the reconstruction of the Greater Colombia (including Ecuador), the grand homeland sought unsuccessfully by Simón Bolívar in the first half of the 19th century.

    But this dangerous imperial Bolivarian dream has another, even more-dangerous detour: a war against Chile, intended to destroy that bastion of ``neoliberalism.''

    Whether governed by the Christian Democrats or the Social Democrats (as it is led today by Ricardo Lagos), Chile is seen as a threat by the left because of its defense of free markets, democracy and free international commerce.

    I must admit, like Professor Bainbridge, to pay less attention to what is happening in this hemisphere as to what is happening in the other. However, if some of these reports are true, then I will need to watch more carefully what is happening closer to home. A war in South America, especially one involving oil rich Venezuela, could impact the whole world.

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