Chávez’s dangerous liaisons

Yesterday President Obama made news in an interview with a Miami reporter for a Spanish-language station, observing that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chávez has not posed a “serious” threat to the United States. Obama asserted that his “main concern when it comes to Venezuela is having the Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs and that you end up ultimately having fair and free elections, which we don’t always see.” (Just sometimes?)

Michael Moynihan parses Obama’s comments here, finding the security portion “bizarre.” Earlier this month Roger Noriega summarized recent revelations regarding Venezuela’s ties with Iran, which seem to me to add weight to Moynihan’s judgment.

You might think that Obama can’t tell the difference between American’s friends and America’s enemies. Not so. Obama’s comments fit into a larger pattern that demonstrates his powers of discernment. Obama habitually stands up for America’s enemies and undercuts America’s friends.

Obama’s comments also call to mind his meeting up with Chávez in April 2009 at the Summit of the Americas. At the summit, Obama met Chavez for the first time, “shaking hands and smiling with the socialist leader in a photo later released by the Venezuelan government.”