We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Looming Escalation Between Venezuela and Colombia

Both countries stand to gain from violent confrontation within F.A.R.C. controlled Colombian territory. The danger of the current escalation calls for direct Brazilian involvement to help resolve it

The recent defeat of Tamil Tigers by Sri Lankan leadership reminded the world of a simple truth. It being that even decades long civil wars can come to an end through the sustained use of violence instead of political settlement or outside mediators. This is good news and inspiration for Colombia's Harvard educated lawyer president Alvaro Uribe. After all, Sri Lanka's government was able to build up its military and political will for a fast paced, decisive, and successful end game (something that eluded Colombia's military for half a century now).

It's much easier for the international community to work with the government responsible for mass war crimes if that government is victorious and not engaged in a neverending quagmire. Uribe's military build up in recent years through Plan Colombia (with devoted, accelerated, financial, and technical support from Bush and Obama administrations) indicates that he is looking to imitate Sri Lanka's example of national unification before Venezuela and her allies make it impossible. Venezuela, with Russia's assistance and financial support, is about to open Western Hemisphere's first factory for production of AK-103 rifles and ammunition for them. Chavez's near future capability to annually produce 50,000 rifles and ammo will allow him to really bolster the capability of FARC allies in Colombia's jungles. If the rumors of various anti-aircraft missiles being provided by the Kremlin are correct, then FARC will also be able to neutralize Uribe's American provided troop transport helicopters and aircraft that periodically terrorize forest villagers with chemical weapons (under the drug war fig leaf pretext of eradicating coca plants).

Uribe seems to be running scared. That is demonstrated by his recent decision to give United States control over a number of Colombia's military bases, to some civilian infrastructure like airports, and to allow US troops immunity from prosecution. No self-respecting imperial puppet deepens his humiliating dependency into Karzai status unless absolutely necessary. Puppets usually try to push for more autonomy from Washington DC. In fact, Fidel Castro's recent article even went as far as to say Colombia was virtually annexed under Obama's watch. Rather than the statement being a rhetorical exaggeration, Castro points out that that at no previous period in time did the Colombian oligarchs allow American military to have as much control over their domain.

Perhaps Uribe is hoping to avoid Saakashvili's fate by having enough American troops on his territory to deter a Venezuelan military response during the end game. Once Colombian government launches an all out attack on FARC controlled zones to consolidate control over the country, it will want to also attack FARC's hiding and refueling safe havens in border parts of Ecuador and Venezuela. Right now those safe havens help FARC out the way parts of Pakistan help out the Taliban. Considering Venezuela's arms purchases, the outcome of an attack by Colombian military that doesn't also extend across the border may prove to be disastrous, humiliating, and inconclusive.

Colombia is not a recently acquired protectorate like Georgia and has been a way for United States to destabilize the region for decades (to prevent South American economic cooperation/integration the way it is occurring now). It makes sense for Uribe to think his country is safer from counterattack attack than Georgia was. However, USA's current weakened economic condition, loss of domestic desire for more imperial adventures, and change in political leadership means time is running out for a military solution. Venezuela's position is getting stronger and it doesn't have rebels to fight like Colombia.

Colombia literally cuts off Venezuela geographically from its ally Ecuador, prevents meaningful cooperation between the two in construction of infrastructure like railroads, and allows United States a springboard (that extends from another puppet Panama) to exert influence on the continent. It is finally in America's interest to end the decades old civil war there before Brazil and Venezuela end it themselves on their terms while gaining prestige in the meantime. Having a loyal puppet inside the South American economic unification schemes would provide an important Trojan horse for Washington (the way England/Poland are used now as Trojan horses to slow down and disrupt EU consolidation as a center of force on the planet).

Time is also running out for Chavez. Even though US economic power is fading in the region (not to be confused with the hard power of military presence), Brazil's is growing. Considering that Brazil is also Colombia's neighbor, Lula Da Silva may soon be seen as more constructive/inspirational in the region than Chavez. Colombia under a government more favorable to Bolivarian style continental unification would physically shut United States out of South America, provide more influence over the strategically key Panama, and give Chavez led center-left Spanish speaking cluster of countries a way to be co-equals with Brazil in deciding continental policy.

Uribe and Chavez thus both have great potential rewards from a military confrontation if each man manages to make it happen on his terms and control the public perception after wards.

That is why Brazil must step in and actively work with other global players with interests in the region (China in resources such as Chilean copper and Russia in infrastructure development such as nuclear power plants) to put pressure on Obama and deter Colombian government from emulating Sri Lanka's military solution. Brazil has shown its willingness to be a strong sovereign power by acting independently from US in providing solutions during the Honduran coup crisis. Although Lula Da Silva has a center-left union organizing history and has more in common with Chavez than Obama, he can be the perfect bridge between the two. Obama for his part needs to break away from the influence of some elites in American military establishment. The leak about Afghanistan troop build up deliberations and McChrystal's impudent behavior shows that there are elements in the American Military-Industrial complex that need to be shown who the boss is. International pressure must also be applied on Chavez since he is a military man and may decide on some sort of violent preemption (either sharp escalation of indirect aid to FARC rebels or even direct limited engagement if Colombian threat seems overwhelming or there is perception of American weakness). If Brazil and other countries agree with Chavez that FARC is a belligerent entity (the way an army is) rather than a terrorist organization, it may begin the process of dialogue towards a non-violent political settlement.

A regional war or Afghanistan style escalation dragging major players is not what the American people on both continents in the Western Hemisphere need right now.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment