Obama diplomacy

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Obama just looks too much like Neville Chamberlain with his foreign policy to me.

This comparison still doesn't make sense (smells like a Godwin). Venezuela is not on the brink of invading any neighboring countries. You conveniently leave out the fact that the country that is about to overrun by extremists is Pakistan and this just happens to be the country that is much more aggressively pursued by Obama than by, for instance, Bush Jr. So if Obama is Neville Chamberlain with Chavez, he must be Churchill with respect to Afghanistan/Pakistan?!

mheslep
Gold Member
...Pakistan ... happens to be the country that is much more aggressively pursued by Obama than by, for instance, Bush Jr. ...
What's the basis for this statement? Militarily? Diplomatically? How?

mheslep
Gold Member
This comparison still doesn't make sense (smells like a Godwin). Venezuela is not on the brink of invading any neighboring countries. ...
Columbia might disagree.
NYTimes Americas section said:
“There is not the least doubt that the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador have been negotiating with terrorists,” Mr. Ospina said. “Allowing terrorist groups to keep camps on their territory border for the planning and execution of terrorist acts is a crime and a clear violation of international treaties.” Television in Venezuela also broadcast images of tank battalions heading to the border, following a threat by Mr. Chávez on Sunday that Colombia would be inviting war if it carried out an incursion in Venezuela similar to the one on Saturday in a remote Amazonian province of Ecuador that killed 21 guerrillas.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/world/americas/05venez.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

The question of what a nice guy vs a nice guy would do isn't relevant here, it is what actions you could take to oppose the not-so-nice guys (I don't care how Obama acted when he went to Germany: only how he acted when he went to Venezuela). And right now, Obama is talking to not-so-nice guys like a weakling, as Neville did.
Well tough talk didn't work too well for Bush considering the results. I am willing to let Obama try a different tack.

And maybe Neville wasn't as stupid as he looks. Throwing the Czechs to the wolves certainly was immoral but it gave Britain an extra year to arm. If the war had started in 1938, who knows how the Battle of Britain would have turned out. It was VERY close as it was. In 1938, Neville might have been saying with his mouth that "Peace was at hand", but his actions (the frantic arming of Britain) said that even he didn't believe it.

russ_watters
Mentor
This comparison still doesn't make sense (smells like a Godwin).
You're not understanding the issue I'm presenting. Goodwin's law doesn't apply here: I'm not talking about Hitler. He's irrelevant. Hitler, Mussolini, Napoleon, whatever. They are all just garden-variety, interchangeable imperialistic despots, with some variation in success and "badness". This isn't even about WWII. What makes Neville Chamberlain the archetype of appeasement, what makes WWII different from WWI, is that he was willing to lose a war without even fighting it. He was hoping that Hitler would stop with annexing a few of his neighbors and decided that that was ok.

Apply the logic of the situation to 1990. Hussein swept through and annexed Kuwait. Evidence implies he had designs on the entire peninsula, but what if he didn't or what if diplomacy would have been able to get him to stop where he was? We live in a world where stealing your neighbors car because you want it is not acceptable and if we had allowed that to stand, this so-called "civilized" world would be a farce. That's the logic that Chaimberlain was willing to accept. The immorality of Chaimberlain's philosophy is what makes me dislike him so much.
Venezuela is not on the brink of invading any neighboring countries.
Maybe, maybe not, but whether things eventually lead to a hot war is besides the point. Cold wars and trade wars require competent diplomacy to deal with. Agressive tactics have to be opposed by aggressive tactics - it isn't fundamentally different from how a poker game works.

Perhaps more important, Venezuela is right now being turned into a dictatorship - doesn't the world community have the responsibility to try not to encourage that? By engaging a criminal like Chavez as an equal, they allow him to gain stature at home that he wouldn't otherwise have. We become complicit in the death of the Venezuelan democracy by engaging him.
You conveniently leave out the fact that the country that is about to overrun by extremists is Pakistan and this just happens to be the country that is much more aggressively pursued by Obama than by, for instance, Bush Jr.
I'd like to see some evidence of that too. As far as I can tell, all Obama has done with Pakistan is to continue Bush's policy of occasional pursuit and drone attacks.
So if Obama is Neville Chamberlain with Chavez, he must be Churchill with respect to Afghanistan/Pakistan?!
Well now you threw Afghanistan in there too - you do remember how this started, right? Bush invaded and conquered Afghanistan. What's left is trying to build a new, stable country. Obama is continuing Bush's policy only.

Now some may bring up the shifting of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and call it a substantive change, but it isn't. After the Iraq surge was shown to have worked, Bush started drawing-down the troops in Iraq. After a while, he then started increasing them in Afghanistan. Increasing troop levels in Afghanistan more as the Iraq war gets phased-out is exactly the path that Bush laid-out for Obama.

Here's an article about the shifting of troops from July of last year: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/2420045/US-to-bolster-Afghanistan-troop-numbers.html

f95toli
Gold Member
Perhaps more important, Venezuela is right now being turned into a dictatorship - doesn't the world community have the responsibility to try not to encourage that? By engaging a criminal like Chavez as an equal, they allow him to gain stature at home that he wouldn't otherwise have.
I agree that the way Venezuela has developed over the past few years is worrying. However, it is important to remember that it IS still a democracy; Chavez has a lot of popular support which is why he can get away with sometimes ACTING like mad dictator while not -at least technically- being one. The same thing was (and to a certain extent is) true for Putin. The problem is that by NOT engaging these people we are basically saying to the people who elected them that we do not trust their judgement; to most people that is insulting. It also also tends to create an "us vs. them" mentality.
Venezuela is good example, Chavez's rants about the US hasn't exactly hurt is popularity.
It is very likely that a normalized relationship between Venezuela and the rest the world would actually make Chavez LESS popular, since he wouldn't be able to blame everyone else for the problems in his own country.

We live in a world where stealing your neighbors car because you want it is not acceptable and if we had allowed that to stand, this so-called "civilized" world would be a farce.
Interstate relations are anarchic.

Perhaps more important, Venezuela is right now being turned into a dictatorship - doesn't the world community have the responsibility to try not to encourage that? By engaging a criminal like Chavez as an equal, they allow him to gain stature at home that he wouldn't otherwise have.
Resources are finite; IMO, we don't have the wherewithal to correct every injustice in the world (occasionally hypocritically), and generally speaking, a better policy is to realistically recognize the governments which exist, provided that said governments don't pose such a fundamental threat to either the US or to international stability that they must be replaced except at a crippling cost (ie, Napoleon, Hitler). Chavez isn't a mortal threat, and his words do little to alter the underlying balance of power between the US and Venezuela.

From quick searches:
United States GDP: $13.84 Trillion Venezuelan GDP:$236.4 Billion (2007 Est.)

Resources are finite
True.

we don't have the wherewithal to correct every injustice in the world (occasionally hypocritically), and generally speaking, a better policy is to realistically recognize the governments which exist
Why that would be a better policy?

A better policy could also just be not recognizing the government - that doesn't require any resources.

that said governments don't pose such a fundamental threat to either the US or to international stability that they must be replaced except at a crippling cost (ie, Napoleon, Hitler).
I disagree looking at some recent genocides or civil wars (Africa). Those government didn't pose any threat to US or international stability.

mheslep
Gold Member
... Chavez isn't a mortal threat, and his words do little to alter the underlying balance of power between the US and Venezuela.

From quick searches:
United States GDP: $13.84 Trillion Venezuelan GDP:$236.4 Billion (2007 Est.)
As I posted above that's no longer the point. Given the example set by 10 guys w/ box cutters, we know that serious threats in the world do not only come from hostile major powers, as the President should have considered before he tossed out this line in Venezuela. Or, on a notch up in scale, consider the damage done by Castro's Cuba in the 60s,70s,80s with much less resources from the Soviets.

As I posted above that's no longer the point. Given the example set by 10 guys w/ box cutters, we know that serious threats in the world do not only come from hostile major powers, as the President should have considered before he tossed out this line in Venezuela. Or, on a notch up in scale, consider the damage done by Castro's Cuba in the 60s,70s,80s with much less resources from the Soviets.
Are you seriously trying to make an argument about venezuela by making a comparison to the 911 hijackers with boxcutters? This is a pathetic argument if I ever heard one.

The hijackers from 911 were not state sponsored terrorists, which makes me wonder what your point has to do with the nation-state, Venezuela.....

Then you argue about Cuba, which got weapons from the most powerful nation on earth, Russia. Again, what this has to do with Venezuela, I have no idea.

I see a lot of very poorly thought out posts in this thread guys.........

Obama is like this ex president. No, he's like THAT ex president. No, its like 911, no its giving recoginition to other governments..........all were missing is Sean Hannity and Bill O-Foolery and we have a cable news discussion. All BS and no substance.

mheslep
Gold Member
Are you seriously trying to make an argument about venezuela by making a comparison to the 911 hijackers with boxcutters? This is a pathetic argument if I ever heard one.
Reread the post I was replying to, and note the President's similar comment while down there. The proposition has been made a couple times in the thread now that its a laughable that V. proposes any security threat to the US because US GDP or US defense spending is so much greater (1/600th per Obama while there). I'm pointing out the huge fallacy in that reasoning: major powers are not the only threat to lives and well fare of the US people, it doesn't take vast monies to kill thousands of people. Still I see I have to offer again and again the tired disclaimer: that I do no expect an frontal invasion from V, that I'm not proposing a fortress America or the purchase of more F-22s to fend off the V. Army, that we should have constructive diplomatic relations. What I do propose is that the President not ignore V. as a security threat because of the size of its military budget.

The hijackers from 911 were not state sponsored terrorists, which makes me wonder what your point has to do with the nation-state, Venezuela.....
You confuse nationality with state sponsorship. They trained in Afghanistan with the support of, or at least the full cooperation of the Taliban, the ruling government at the time. Similarly, there's documentation that Chavez has been funding and supporting terrorist groups in Columbia. He does not require US $trillions to do this, a few of his oil$billions will more than do the job.

Then you argue about Cuba, which got weapons from the most powerful nation on earth, Russia. Again, what this has to do with Venezuela, I have no idea.
2nd most powerful. Cuba was not synonymous with the Soviets, they did not have access to much of Russia's top hardware. What they did have was a smallish but substantial and steady funding stream from the Soviets, along with small to medium arms, and look at all the havoc they caused around the world. Thus my point again: it does not require a huge military to do harm.

Reread the post I was replying to, and note the President's similar comment while down there. The proposition has been made a couple times in the thread now that its a laughable that V. proposes any security threat to the US because US GDP or US defense spending is so much greater (1/600th per Obama while there).
I've read this comment, and I rolled my eyes at it. Being a security threat is a function of many factors. Two important ones being how are our relations, and to what extent are the willing to go to cause harm to us and how much could they financially withstand. But trying to boil it down to simply 'how much' they have is stupid.

I'm pointing out the huge fallacy in that reasoning: major powers are not the only threat to lives and well fare of the US people, it doesn't take vast monies to kill thousands of people.
I still fail to see you providing any proof about how Venezeula wants to cause harm to the United States using terrorist like methods. I'm not saying the possibility does not exist, but that you have provided no evidence.

Still I see I have to offer again and again the tired disclaimer: that I do no expect an frontal invasion from V, that I'm not proposing a fortress America or the purchase of more F-22s to fend off the V. Army, that we should have constructive diplomatic relations. What I do propose is that the President not ignore V. as a security threat because of the size of its military budget.
That's a fair and rational statement.

You confuse nationality with state sponsorship. They trained in Afghanistan with the support of, or at least the full cooperation of the Taliban, the ruling government at the time. Similarly, there's documentation that Chavez has been funding and supporting terrorist groups in Columbia. He does not require US $trillions to do this, a few of his oil$billions will more than do the job.
I can agree to your argument of state sponsorship, but I don't see what Chavez supporting and funding terrorism in Colombia has to do with terrorism in the United States.

2nd most powerful. Cuba was not synonymous with the Soviets, they did not have access to much of Russia's top hardware. What they did have was a smallish but substantial and steady funding stream from the Soviets, along with small to medium arms, and look at all the havoc they caused around the world. Thus my point again: it does not require a huge military to do harm.
Why do you fail to mention that they had MRBMs (Nuclear Missiles) littered all over Cuba and pointed at the United States? Something Venezuela does not have, nor will it have. This explanation you make is totally off the mark, and really does no justice to your point. Also, Cuba caused Havoc to one country in particular, the United States. I would hardly call that 'all over the world'.

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mheslep
Gold Member
I've read this comment, and I rolled my eyes at it. Being a security threat is a function of many factors. Two important ones being how are our relations, and to what extent are the willing to go to cause harm to us and how much could they financially withstand. But trying to boil it down to simply 'how much' they have is stupid.

I still fail to see you providing any proof about how Venezeula wants to cause harm to the United States using terrorist like methods. I'm not saying the possibility does not exist, but that you have provided no evidence.

That's a fair and rational statement.

I can agree to your argument of state sponsorship, but I don't see what Chavez supporting and funding terrorism in Columbia has to do with terrorism in the United States.
There is no such evidence AFAIK, and I seriously doubt, at the moment, that he would try such a thing (sending some cell to directly to the US) because any evidence of that would give the US cause for action. Here are some scenarios I do consider plausible: a) by insurrection causes the collapse of Columbia and the take over by narco groups like FARC. b) Cuba attempts to revert to a democracy in a couple years and he directly interferes. - Chavez positively idolizes and Castro and La Revolucion. c) supports narco gangs in Columbia and Mexico and bids them to do more harm in the US.
Why do you fail to mention that they had MRBMs (Nuclear Missiles) littered all over Cuba and pointed at the United States? Something Venezuela does not have, nor will it have. This explanation you make is totally off the mark, and really does no justice to your point. Also, Cuba caused Havoc to one country in particular, the United States. I would hardly call that 'all over the world'.
Nobody nuclear power would have any sane reason to try and base nuclear missiles in Latin American any more. Cold war is over. A repeat of Cuba's other actions by a Chavez is feasible:
wiki said:
Castro built up the second largest armed forces in Latin America; only to Brazil's were larger.[53] From 1975 until the late 1980s, Soviet military assistance enabled Cuba to upgrade its military capabilities. Since the loss of Soviet subsidies Cuba has scaled down the numbers of military personnel, from 235,000 in 1994 ....

In Africa, the largest war was in Angola, where Cuba sent tens of thousands of troops. Cuba was a friend of the Ethiopian leader Mengistu Haile Mariam.[79] In Africa, Cuba supported 17 leftist governments. In some countries it suffered setbacks, such as in eastern Zaire (Simba Rebellion), but in others Cuba had significant successes. Major engangements took place in Algeria, Zaire, Yemen,[80] Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique....

The Cuban government's military involvement in Latin America has been extensive. One of the earliest interventions was the Marxist militia led by Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967, which failed to recruit any Bolivians. Lesser known actions include the 1959 missions into the Dominican Republic[81] and Panama[citation needed]. The government of the socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua was openly supported by Cuba and can be considered its greatest success in Latin America.

There is no such evidence AFAIK, and I seriously doubt, at the moment, that he would try such a thing (sending some cell to directly to the US) because any evidence of that would give the US cause for action. Here are some scenarios I do consider plausible: a) by insurrection causes the collapse of Columbia and the take over by narco groups like FARC. b) Cuba attempts to revert to a democracy in a couple years and he directly interferes. - Chavez positively idolizes and Castro and La Revolucion. c) supports narco gangs in Columbia and Mexico and bids them to do more harm in the US.
Nobody nuclear power would have any sane reason to try and base nuclear missiles in Latin American any more. Cold war is over. A repeat of Cuba's other actions by a Chavez is feasible:
I don't do speculation.

Concerning Cuba having influence over different parts of the world: interesting. I didn't know their reach was so broad.

Pyrrhus
Homework Helper
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