Obama Takes All Sides on Chavez

Inexperienced and Naïve on Foreign Policy, Good at Campaigning

By Mark I Posted in | | | | | Comments (7) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Another day, another position on Hugo Chavez from Sen. Barack Obama. Last week, he told the Orlando Sentinel that he favored meeting with the Venezuelan Marxist dictator He even went so far as to say that Chavez could set the agenda. But the very next day, he told a Miami audience that Chavez’s support for the FARC narco-terrorist rebel group in Colombia disqualified Venezuela from such a meeting. Speaking to the Cuban American National Foundation, Obama said the following.

"We will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments. This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and -- if need be -- strong sanctions. It must not stand."

Thank God for the qualifier. Strong sanctions? Whoa! hold on there big guy. You’re inexperienced in foreign affairs and all, but you just can’t go around threatening sanctions, especially strong ones, without months and years of delays, negotiations, aggressive diplomacy, and Security Council debates. You don’t want to blow all your options in one fell swoop.

Mocking aside, there are a couple of bigger points to make from this.

Read on...

First, Obama has no idea what he is talking about when it comes to Venezuela. He just knows that Hugo Chavez has complaints, and in Obama’s default worldview, that necessitates fault on the part of the United States. Hence his desire to meet with any and every tin-pot dictator and tinfoil hat crazy with a gripe.

Second, note where Obama made his “strong” comments against Chavez and where he made his overtures to negotiations. When speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, a paper that reaches Florida’s critical I-4 corridor, a more moderate area of the state, Obama espouses negotiation. But in front of an audience with less tolerance for dictators, the Miami Cuban ethnic and expatriate community, Obama says, without naming him, that Chavez should be isolated. He picks his position based on his audience. Obama is suitably faux-tough when facing a crowd not inclined to suffer coddling dictators gladly, and properly nuanced and open-minded when attempting to reach an audience that he thinks will accept that line more readily. Obama is pandering. That’s very old-politics.

Obama’s variant positions on meeting with Chavez recall another Democratic nominee’s attempt to explain his way out of an apparent contradiction: Obama was for meeting with Chavez, before he was against it. Many believed that John Kerry was the worst nominee from a major political party since Michael Dukakis in 1988. Though rhetorically more gifted, Obama seems to be giving them both a run for their money.

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however, here is what no one looked at, free trade. Obama criticized the Bush admin for ignoring our allies in the region. Except, Bush pushed forward and passed CAFTA, and he is trying hard to get the Colombian free trade pact passed. Obama speaks in generalities of "helping our allies" and yet specifically, he has shunned all our allies on the most important issue to them, free trade.

Yet, no one has called him on this ludicrous double speak. Furthermore, while he shuns our allies on free trade he opens his arms to speaking with Chavez. Obama is naive if he thinks that Chavez won't want to speak about free trade. So he wants to open one door with our enemies on free trade, and close it with our allies. This is the real absurdity of his policy.

This is what I focused in my own piece

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor

The Provocateur

I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful 100 percent.

Years of angry-worded Letters and white tablecloth dinners to determine what kind of fact-finding mission need be sent to a resort in the area to say that they're investigating the tradegy.

Followed by stern warnings about future angry-worded letters.

----------------------
Dependence is Slavery.

"He just knows that Hugo Chavez has complaints, and in Obama’s default worldview, that necessitates fault on the part of the United States. Hence his desire to meet with any and every tin-pot dictator and tinfoil hat crazy with a gripe."

Bingo.

absentee
Also Find Me Here.

We will not ever impose sanctions, by McCain or Obama.

We are too busy kissing Hugo's red behind so that he will continue to sell us $60 billion a year in Oil by the Venezuelan state owned oil company.

Political Punch
Power, pop, and probings from ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper

What the FARC Was Obama Talking About?

May 25, 2008 11:08 AM

"I have learned that when you are campaigning for as many months as Sen. Clinton and I have been campaigning, sometimes you get careless in terms of the statements that you make," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said, "And I think that is what happened here. Sen. Clinton says that she did not intend any offense by it, and I would take her at her word on that."

One reason why Obama may be so forgiving (even if his campaign was not) about Sen. Hillary Clinton's assassination reference?

The man has been a one-man gaffe machine....

As ABC News' David Wright and Sunlen Miller wrote, Obama seemed to either think Arabic is spoken in Afghanistan or he misunderstands the nature of military translators.

More recently, Obama as he traveled through Florida seemed to give some contradictory statements about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and the Colombian terrorist group FARC.

On Thursday Obama told the Orlando Sentinel that he would meet with Chavez and "one of the obvious high priorities in my talks with President Hugo Chavez would be the fermentation of anti-American sentiment in Latin America, his support of FARC in Colombia and other issues he would want to talk about."

OK, so a strong declaration that Chavez is supporting FARC, which Obama intends to push him on.

But then on Friday he said any government supporting FARC should be isolated.

"We will shine a light on any support for the FARC that comes from neighboring governments," he said in a speech in Miami. "This behavior must be exposed to international condemnation, regional isolation, and - if need be - strong sanctions. It must not stand."

So he will meet with the leader of a country he simultaneously says should be isolated? Huh?

On Friday in an interview with the Miami Herald, Obama also used language suggesting that he's not as positive that Venezuela is supporting FARC.

"When I asked him what he would do about the estimated 37,000 Interpol-certified Colombian FARC guerrilla computer files that indicate an active support from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa to the Colombian rebels, Obama went farther than the Bush administration," wrote the Herald's Andres Oppenheimer.

Said Obama: "I think the Organization of American States and the international community should launch an immediate investigation into this situation. We have to hold Venezuela accountable if, in fact, it is trying to ferment terrorist activities in other borders. If Venezuela has violated those rules, we should mobilize all the countries to sanction Venezuela and let them know that that's not acceptable behavior."

"If" Venezuela "is trying to ferment terrorist activities in other borders"? Just one day before Obama had asserted that Chavez was supporting FARC in Colombia.

I've asked the Obama campaign for a clarification and will get back to you as to what they say.

- jpt

UPDATE: The Obama campaign says there's nothing unusual about proposing the isolation of a country at the same time a President talks about meeting with its country's leader. (The Obama campaign cites how the U.S. is talking to North Korea via the Six-Party talks as an example. Though it might be observed, those diplomatic efforts are quite different than a presidential-level meeting.)

As for the statement, and then the very qualified "if" statement about Chavez and FARC, the Obama campaign says Obama is laying out his principles. The U.S. government says all the time, "If Iran continues its nuclear program," the Obama campaign says. I don't know. Saying, "if in fact" Venezuela is aiding FARC seemed to me at least to be different than saying "if Chavez continues aiding FARC." What do you think?

UPDATE 2: So, I just spoke to an Obama campaign foreign policy adviser and this is how he explains any confusion.

Obama, he says, believes that Chavez is supportive of the FARC, both ideologically and tangibly. The Obama campaign disagrees that Obama's language -- "if, in fact, it (Chavez) is trying to ferment terrorist activities in other borders" -- is hedging language at all. Obama has been very clear that he believes that Chavez is supportive of the FARC, the adviser says.

As to the question of whether one can pledge to isolate a country while also proposing a presidential-level meeting, the adviser says that I was inaccurate in characterizing Obama as proposing such a meeting -- the reality was that Obama was merely acknowledging a willingness to meet.

But "if we are going to isolate the Venezuelans, it may be that we have to engage in a full-on diplomatic strategy with them," the adviser says. Obama was not saying he, himself, would propose such a meeting, nor that he would necessarily participate in that meeting. When Obama referred to "my talks with President Hugo Chavez," he did not mean "my talks," literally (necessarily) -- he meant his administration's talks -- "though it could be him engaging in this diplomacy directly and personally," the adviser says. The point is, all the tools need to be in the diplomacy kit -- isolation, willingness to hold presidential meetings, and everything in between.

Got it?

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/05/what-the-farc-w.html

[
Sorry, Jake, I don't get it.
]

   Has anybody remembered the plot to that movie, The Manchurian Candidate?  I recall my dad speaking of several politicians on the Left as being that.  Would it be a stretch to say that Obama is the one?

"Straight Talk Express"? My bum feet! -- Me, on Senator McCain and other "moderates"

 
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