“Colombia’s new leader seen as good for U.S.” So reads a headline on the front page of today’s Washington Post.
Why is Columbia’s president Juan Manuel Santos seen as good for the United States? I figured it must be because, like his immensely popular predecessor Alvaro Uribe, he is maintaining excellent relations with the U.S. and standing solidly against the loathsome Hugo Chavez. But I was wrong. According to the Post, the situation is just the opposite. Santos has wooed Chavez to the point that he calls the virulently anti-American socialist “my new best friend.” In addition, and along the same lines, he has displayed a decidedly less friendly attitude towards the U.S. than did Uribe. For example, Santos approved the extradition to Venezuela of suspected cocaine trafficker Walid Makled, even though U.S. prosecutors had also requested extradition.
The next question is who sees Santos as good for the United States? The answer, according to the Post, is the Obama administration. It reportedly likes the fact that Santos is making nice with Chavez because it “leaves Chavez with little case to be made that Washington planned to use Colombia as a platform to invade his country, an argument that Chavez frequently used to stir up his followers.”
The final questions are: (1) is the Obama administration so alienated from American values and interests that it is happy to see our staunchest ally in the region tilting towards an authoritarian ruler who also happens to be our fiercest regional enemy and (2) is the Obama administration so criminally naïve as to believe that Chavez will run out of arguments with which to stir up his followers if he “is left with little case to be made” that the U.S. is going to invade his country via Colombia?
Oh, and here’s a bonus round: Does the Obama administration and/or the Washington Post believe that until now Chavez has had a case that the U.S. was going to invade Venezuela? If not – if the whole thing was a fantasy based on paranoia and/or demagoguery – than why is the fantasy driving the Obama administration’s assessments of Colombia’s behavior?
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