Monday, March 03, 2008

Hugo Chavez making noise

I see this as little more than saber-rattling:
South America was on the brink of war yesterday as Venezuela and Ecuador amassed troops on the Colombian border in response to the killing of a Marxist rebel leader.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened to join the rebels in a war to overthrow hard-line Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, a key ally of the United States, deploying tanks, fighter jets and thousands of troops along the Colombian border.

It is worth watching, but I doubt that Chavez will pull the trigger-at least not this time. I can see any number of reasons that might be behind his troop movements, though. First, it allows him to see what a response to possible military action would be and how far he can push the envelope. That can be very useful information should he ever decide to start a shooting war. Second, it allows him to further his carefully crafted populist image as a leader who will stand up to the United States and all of its allies. Third, sometimes a bluff is enough to increase power and influence in a region if it works. Whatever the reason(s), I suspect that this is just the beginning of Chavez lead confrontations in Latin America.

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