Now a charitable person would write that off as a momentary "senior" moment. He got confused by the time change: is it three years forward or backward when you go to Europe? GMT can be confusing. But The Diplomad is not charitable: The Diplomad can just imagine how the MSNBCers, et al, would have carried on if Reagan, Bush, or, God forbid, Palin had done this! Proof of incompetence! But if The One, The Healer of the Earth, King Kamehameha says it's 2008, then, dang, it's 2008! He went to Harvard, don't ya know? Those Brits better get in line and get with the "programme" . . .
More important than not knowing what year it is in Europe, The Dear Leader does not know what time it is in Latin America. While the calendar in Europe might be stuck at 2008, the clock in our little neighborhood is now at ten minutes to midnight, and ticking.
Mexico and most of Central America, especially Guatemala, are coming apart in a storm of violence and corruption, much of it due to our insane drug laws and policies.
In Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista child-molesting thug, is busy making plans to be "re-elected" for an illegal third term; he got the Supreme Court to rule that the Nicaraguan Constitution's prohibition on a third term was, get ready for this one, UNCONSTITUTIONAL! The sheer, overt, smirking cynicism is stunning. He is pulling a coup and the US reaction? Silence, a few bleats from a now departed US OAS acting Permanent Representative, but nothing in terms of policy or follow up. There certainly was none of that outrage we saw from the Administration when the Hondurans threw out their President, the Chavez toady Mel Zelaya, who was preparing a similar stunt for Honduras. We helped toss Honduras from the OAS for daring to save itself -- Israel, take note.
Burning with hate for the United States, Chavez is running amok. He initially was conducting a “slow motion coup”-- un golpe a camara lenta -- against Venezuela’s flawed but functioning democracy but has sped up the process, now repressing his people quite overtly. He is imprisoning democrats such as Alejandro Peña Esclusa on trumped up terrorism charges, shutting down the media--including using exile and murder--destroying the independence of the judiciary, and making Congress irrelevant as he rules by Presidential decree. He has engaged in ever more strident anti-Israeli and anti-semitic behavior, another staple of leftist dictators. Although the Venezuelan government has stopped publishing figures, reliable reports show Caracas now has the world’s highest homicide rate, in excess of 233 homicides per 100,000. Not to worry, Chavez recently has announced a gun control program--an excuse to take even more power from the people. We should note that in gun-toting, capitalist Utah, the homicide rate is 1.3 per 100,000.
Chavez is turning Venezuela into an economic wasteland. Despite huge oil reserves and rising oil prices, Venezuela’s GDP “growth” is in negative territory. Despite those negative numbers, the corruption, and declining oil production by the nationalized oil industry, the high price of oil still gives Chavez lots of cash to use on mad imperial dreams. The supermarkets might not have any food, but he is buying modern military equipment from Russia and Iran, building an AK factory, and allowing the Iranian Mad Mullahs to set up shop in Venezuela. He backs terrorist movements, such as the FARC in Colombia, and Hamas and Hezbollah in the Middle East. With oil money and military bluster he is buying the slavish backing of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Argentina, several of the Caribbean island nations, and Ecuador--where another leftist loon with drug ties, Rafael Correa, is running that country into the ground both politically and economically. Chavez is trying to buy the elections in Peru, and has set himself up as one of the arbiters of whether or not Honduras returns to the OAS. He has Brazil frightened and cowed into an indecisive, equivocating, quivering bowl of Jello, even more so than is their pathetic norm. Brazil, a superpower? Right.
Bolivia is turning into a human rights disaster of major proportions. After a few years of slow but steady progress in getting on the road to some semblance of modernity, Bolivia is sliding down hill into an ever deeper and wider cesspool of corruption, drug trafficking, and cultural insanity under the leadership of its pro-Cuban drug trafficking child-molester President, Evo Morales.
We still have no free trade deal with our old ally Colombia--feeling pretty lonely right now, and wondering whether it is worth it to be friends with the United States. The Colombians will have to decide that soon, and I fear their decision.
Our Latin American policy is in total disarray. The State Department's Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) bureau has disintegrated under the hapless leadership of Clinton and her Assistant Secretary. It is rife with incompetent political appointees and spineless, gray bureaucrats afraid of their own shadows, and tied up in concerns about political correctness, peripheral issues (e.g., climate change), not offending anybody, and trying to untangle the hopeless Haiti aid mess. One of these WHA political appointees, I will note, wanted the US to join with Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Bolivia in condemning Arizona for its immigration laws -- no joke, that is true. The NSC is non-existent. A total vacuum has developed at the NSC on Latin America since the Obama people took over. They have no plan to stop the decay. Many of them deny the decay exists.
China is moving in on trade in the area, already replacing us as Brazil's largest trading partner. And, adding insult to injury, the creepy regime in Cuba is showing new signs of life, thanks to Chavez's billions and the prospect of oil just a few miles off the coast of Florida. The oil we won't be drilling because of concerns for polar bears, arctic wolves, and Salton Sea salamanders, the Cubans, with Chinese, Spanish and French help, will be drilling.
So while our President parties in Europe, and has us involved in an absurd war in distant, irrelevant Libya, in Latin America it is ten minutes to midnight, and counting down.
In coming days, I will be writing more on the impending disaster in Latin America and provide some suggestions on how we might stave it off.