Campaign 2008

Posted: 9/9/08, 2:26 p.m., CST
Updated: 9/9/09, 3:19 p.m., CST


Russia, Venezuela Joint Naval Exercises...We Need John McCain!

September 9, 2008
by Diane W. Collins



Yesterday, the BBC reported that the Russian Navy announced some of its ships "will visit Venezuela in November" and may hold joint exercises in Caribbean waters. These ships are not exactly boats of little consequence and they're not all that's expected to arrive.


According to a senior Venezuelan naval officer, the exercises will include "four Russian warships and 1,000 Russian troops." Russia confirmed this would include the heavy cruiser "Peter the Great," the anti-submarine ship, "Admiral Chabanenko," and anti-submarine planes which are to remain in Venezuela "temporarily." You can imagine Hugo Chavez's delight.


Bay of Pigs revisited? Don't know. But, this time we could be in the middle of the 2008 Presidential Election. I think Putin and Chavez see opportunity. Let's review.


Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia and Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela have long been trading Venezuela's oil money for Russian guns. The danger-by-proximity to the USA is obvious. Important to note, Chavez also has ties to Cuba, and the left-wing Columbian guerrilla group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, (FARC). In 2007, Chavez invited Ahmadinejad, President of Iran to meet with him in Caracus. Chavez has said he would support Iran if the USA were to invade.


Lately, Chavez has attempted to mend relations and increase trade with Columbia in what appears to be an attempt to tie the countries more closely together after the "Ecuadorian Incident." This is interesting in that Chavez and President Alvaro Uribe of Columbia have a long history of difficulties. The USA has sent hundred of millions in aid to Columbia in what has been called "the War on Drugs."


As reported by CNN, Chavez traveled to Russia in July to discuss an arms deal that could be worth $2 billion. Previous military-technical contracts between Venezuela and Russia were worth $4 billion. Chavez has vowed to build Venezuela's defense, spending over $30 billion "under a program to rearm its armed forces (to take place) up to (the year) 2012."


However, without the current high price of oil being enjoyed by Venezuela, there are those who doubt Chavez could afford the build up, as reported in the BBC Caribbean by Sir Ronald Sanders, a business consultant and former Caribbean diplomat. But, Russia may mitigate that potential situation if, as reported by CNN, Russia decides to provide a loan of about $800 million to Venezuela to help finance the arms deals.


Scary stuff. But, Sen. McCain's understanding and foresight shines through once again. On July 2nd, McCain was in Columbia. McCain met with Columbia's President Alvaro Uribe to discuss his advocacy of the Columbian Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), progress towards human rights and the Columbian government's fight against FARC.


There is no question in my mind, should we need to face a threat in November from any Russian / Venezuelan joint exercise in the Caribbean, John McCain has the military and foreign affairs experience to handle the job.


To quote McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention,

"I'm not afraid, I'm prepared... I hate war... I will draw on all my experience -- diplomatic, economic, military, and the power of ideals to build the foundation for a stable peace."


Could November be the "Bay of Pigs - revisited?" Possibly. So, who do you think could hit the ground running immediately after being sworn into office if we have to face this situation? There's only one name on that ballot. John McCain!





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