Who Can Solve a Problem Like Hugo?

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This New York Times story on Venezuela's May 1 oil industry nationalization plans gets interesting near the end:

No one sees an immediate crisis at Petróleos de Venezuela. But its windfall from high oil prices masks the devilish complexity and rising costs of producing heavy oil. Meanwhile, the company acknowledged last month that spending on "social development" almost doubled in 2006, to $13.3 billion, while its spending on exploration badly trailed its global peers. And Petróleos de Venezuela's work force has ballooned to 89,450, up 29 percent since 2001 even as production declined

Petróleos de Venezuela's cash is said to be running short as Mr. Chávez uses its revenue to cement political alliances with Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua. The company has borrowed more than $11 billion since the start of the year, a rapid debt buildup that reflects a wager by Mr. Chávez that oil prices will remain high indefinitely.

One way of interpreting that is "He's desperate! He could do anything! Duck!" Another way might be "Gosh, he hasn't thought this stuff through." Chavez has never been capable of some Nasser/Suez stunt, and his planned nationalization and move away from trade with the U.S. would take about 5-7 years to fully implement, in which time all manner of things can go wrong for an oil-based economy. Scary headlines, but lots of punchlines when you read through them.

NEXT: Imus in the Mourning

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  1. It really sucks that just when Castro is about to bite the big one, we get stuck with another socialist jackass in this hemisphere.

  2. “his planned nationalization and move away from trade with the U.S. would take about 5-7 years to fully implement, in which time all manner of things can go wrong for an oil-based economy.”

    Not to mention, in a democratic society with an elected government.

    Just ignore him, and he will go away. But some people always need to pick a fight.

    Sort of like Chavez, actually.

  3. Joe-,

    *Not to mention, in a democratic society with an elected government.*

    Bush was democratically elected. But what would you think if he decided he was going to rule by decree for a year? Its called an illiberal democracy.

  4. I’d think he sucked, and would want him removed, according to the law.

    I certainly wouldn’t vote for him in the next election.

    This is why supporting the coup against him and poo-pooing all over his most recent election victory is so stupid – the preservation of constitutional democracy in Venezuela is the best tool available for tying him down, and ultimately getting a better government in place.

  5. How can Chavez move trade away from the US? He can sell oil to some third party, but that’ll just mean that the US will buy it from whoever was selling it to them last. Oil is pretty much the worst political weapon ever. All the 70s oil shocks did in the long run was to freak people out and convince the OPEC nations never to do that again. Oh, and cars are tiny now.

  6. Joe-

    I think coups instigated by the CIA suck and do way more harm than good.

    And yeah, I’m for preserving constitutional democracy in Venezuela, too. The problem is, their current constitution was written by (Who else!) Hugo Chavez. Thats a typical ploy of caudillos–come to power then issue your own constitution, so no matter what you do its still constitutional.

    I just don’t get why some liberals and progressives like this guy. Hes not a hero, hes a two bit thug.

  7. joe, I think the point was that, unlike Bush, Chavez is ruling by decree and no one is make serious overtures to remove him.

    Chavez may last until the oil runs out. His constituency will like the handouts and will be pissed when they are gone. It may happen sooner rather than later since he isn’t developing the fields and some of the capacity has been permanently lost.

  8. The point, Cesar, is that our contempt for Venezuelan democracy makes it easier for Chavez to respond in kind, when his time eventually comes.

    “I just don’t get why some liberals and progressives like this guy.”

    People who’ve never seen a doctor are getting health clinics build in their villages. Roads, schools, libraries – Chavez is using the oil industry’s revenues to provide basic services and infrastructure to desperately poor people who’ve never had them before. Why liberals would support this is incomprehensible to you?

  9. “Gosh, he hasn’t thought this stuff through.”

    Assumes he is capable of thinking things through.

    However, joe is right. Ignore him. Making a fuss over his grandstanding simply plays to his ego.

    OTOH, interfering in any way will allow him to blame the coming wreck on the US.

  10. FinFangFoom,

    There are people and groups working to oppose his efforts.

  11. If the US stops stirring up wars over oil, then Chavez can start selling the US oil again.

    You probably don’t believe that the US starts pretextual wars to get cheap oil. Chavez does and is acting accordingly.

    As joe’s commentary suggests, the question is how the people of Venezuela view the US. We are probably one US presidential election away from sunshine and lollipops, as far as Chavez is concerned. The only real issue is whether there is another spectacular Islamic terrorist attack and/or war with Iran before Nov ’08.

  12. FingFamFoon,

    “joe, I think the point was that, unlike Bush, Chavez is ruling by decree and no one is make serious overtures to remove him. ”

    Yeah, the decision by the opposition to boycott the last election was really stupid. Once again, opposing Chavez by showing contempt for the democratic process is a really stupid idea.

  13. Chavez is indeed illiberal and undemocratic in the means by which he rules, i.e. decree.

    The question is, what’s the best way to deal with a dangerous ruler like that?

    As long as there are (relatively) free and fair electoral mechanisms available, those mechanisms should be used.

    If those mechanisms are no longer available, then the alternative mechanisms used should be the ones chosen by internal opposition, not external meddlers.

    And regardless, outside meddling, or even heated outside rhetoric, just gives him a foreign bogeyman to rail against.

    Yes, yes, the best cure for Chavez’s speech is more speech, but the most intelligent use of speech is sometimes the most calculated one. Carefully ignoring him would be far better than rhetoric that verges on putting him in the “axis of evil.”

    (Note to nitpickers: I said “verges on”, I didn’t imply that he’s actually been lumped in with the axis of evil.)

  14. Joe-

    Lula Da Silva is doing very similar things in Brazil, but unlike Chavez hes not a tyrant who throw temper tantrums about the US every chance he gets. He also maintains Brazil as a liberal democracy. So, no, I don’t get why theres special love for Chavez on the American left.

  15. People who’ve never seen a doctor are getting health clinics build in their villages. Roads, schools, libraries – Chavez is using the oil industry’s revenues to provide basic services and infrastructure to desperately poor people who’ve never had them before.

    Yep. That’s a big part of the reason why he’s popular. What sucks for the Venezuelan people is that he’s chosen an unsustainable method (running a state-run oil company into the ground) for delivering the blessings of prosperity, rather than a more sustainable method, like laying the groundwork for a stronger private sector and continued growth.

    This house of cards will collapse soon enough, the Venezuelans will be rightly furious about their losses, and if we stay out the Venezuelans will blame nobody but Chavez.

  16. Grotius,

    Nice quote. Good for HRW.

    Why did you address that post to me?

  17. There is no quick fix. Say that three times, then contain Chavez when he does annoying things outside of Venezuela. He and his successors will blow through the oil wealth and end up screwing the country over the long haul. I wish we could fix their problems, but we can’t, and removing Chavez will solve little, if anything. I think his importance on the international scene is tremendously overblown, anyway. People outside of the U.S. can see that he’s a self-interested windbag, too, you know. Even many Venezuelans would agree with that. If there’s a move towards socialism in South America, I daresay that Chavez is merely part of it, not its leader.

    As for Hugo personally and the question, “Who Can Solve a Problem Like Hugo?”, the answer is, of course, that he should become a governess for that nice Austrian family and teach them to sing.

  18. Cesar,

    “Lula Da Silva is doing very similar things in Brazil, but unlike Chavez hes not a tyrant who throw temper tantrums about the US every chance he gets. He also maintains Brazil as a liberal democracy. So, no, I don’t get why theres special love for Chavez on the American left.”

    There are stories about Da Silva in the leftist media all the time. He gets much better treatment that Chavez.

    You wouldn’t be confusing American leftist opposition to Bush’s undemocratic meddling in Venezuela with support for Chavez, would you? There are many, many stories in the leftist media about that.

    Tell the truth, this is another “objectively pro-Saddam” argument, isn’t it?

  19. A new decree by Goldwater Conservative. Americans that support the drug war, the IRS, and eminent domain are no longer allowed to criticize Hugo Chavez.

  20. thoreau,

    “This house of cards will collapse soon enough, the Venezuelans will be rightly furious about their losses”

    Why is it that the people who claim to be the most certain about Chavez’s policies being unsustainable, and who take for themselves the most credit for when that came to pass in the USSR, seem to be the least willing to wait for it to happen in Venezuela?

  21. Joe-

    Many on the American left remind me of right-wingers opinions of Pinochet. “Oh, but Pinochet liberalized the economy!”. So what? He was a tyrant.

    From the left we have, “Oh, but Chavez provides health care!” So what? Hes a tyrant.

    I’m for liberalized economies but I would never, ever make excuses for a caudillo like Pinochet. I wish the left would do the same for Chavez/Castro.

  22. “This house of cards will collapse soon enough, the Venezuelans will be rightly furious about their losses, and if we stay out the Venezuelans will blame nobody but Chavez.”

    it could go in a few different directions, depending on how chavez goes out, as joe and others have noted.

    as to the question of why he gets a pass in some american quarters despite his autocratic, ahem, tendencies, it’s same reason any other group gives a pass to the autocrats who line up with some of their goals/values/beliefs. (mugabe in new york, every instance of “he’s an asshole, but he’s OUR asshole” type reasoning, etc)

  23. “Goldwater Conservative | April 10, 2007, 10:58am
    A new decree by Goldwater Conservative. Americans that support the drug war, the IRS, and eminent domain are no longer allowed to criticize Hugo Chavez.”

    cuz you’ll beat them like the juggernaut! 🙂
    grin.
    (I’m trying to toughen up. Have removed panties. from there. does wearing them in lieu of my Cubbies cap, count as ‘removing’ em?).

    ha ha.

  24. Well, Cesar, I could write the same thing in reverse – I don’t make excuses for Chavez, and I with “many on the right” wouldn’t make excuses for Pinochet.

    Congratulations, we’re better than most of our countrymen. Where is this going?

  25. Internally this is the Venezualians problem. They elected the dumb bastard and they as a society could kick him out of power tommorow if the collective will were there. If it is not, that is their problem. He is certainly running the country into the ground and no amount of programs for the poor are going to make up for the damage he is doing. But again, that is the Venezualan’s problem.

    Where Chavez is the U.S. problem is his allying himself with Hamas and Iran. Everyone knows the easy way to get into the country is through the Southern Border. Moreover, getting documentation from a South American country as opposed to a middle eastern one makes getting in even easier. My only real worry about Chavez is that some day we will have a terrorist attack in the U.S. and it will turn out that the terrorists got into the country with his help. If that were ever the case, hopefully we would do what we did in Panama, invade, hang his miserable ass and leave and not worry about nation building.

  26. Chavez is 90% joke and 10% legitimate concern to U.S. interests on a good day. He’s hamstrung by the fact that any actual action against the U.S. (like a terrorist attack), would free us to crush his little government like a bug. Therefore, all he can do is build coalitions in the clouds and spout off ridiculous rhetoric. He’s not beneath notice, as a leader of a major oil supplier, but he’s not worth the press or the apparent time our government spends worrying about him. Let him shout until he grows hoarse.

  27. My only real worry about Chavez is that some day we will have a terrorist attack in the U.S. and it will turn out that the terrorists got into the country with his help.

    Just like when the Taliban and Saddam got together and did 9/11. I think that is probably Chavez’s biggest worry also.

  28. “He’s hamstrung by the fact that any actual action against the U.S. (like a terrorist attack),

    If he were like you and I, you would be right. He has the same problem every other tin pot looser has; eventually you have to come through with your rethoric or the people below stop fearing you and before you know it you are getting the full Chochesku treatment. Dictators are generally more afraid of the people below them than they are of their external enemies. That is why they never back down even though doing so seems completly insane. At some point Hamas and Iran are going to want something more from him than stupid speechs to the U.N. and Chavez may not be in a position to tell them no.

  29. John,

    You know what’s worse than “a gathering threat?”

    Over-reacting to the distant possibility of “a gathering threat.”

    As we keep seeing on the news every day.

  30. “Just like when the Taliban and Saddam got together and did 9/11. I think that is probably Chavez’s biggest worry also.”

    True, I guess that is why the U.S. relyed on UN Security Council resolution 1442 to invade Iraq and went back to the Security Council numerous times in 2002 asking for clarification on the right to use force against Iraq rather than using the resolution that authorized use of force against Al Quada or the inherent right of self defense. Yeah that is right Dave. Iraq was all about 9-11. In bizarro world maybe.

  31. Joe,

    It all depends on the circumstances and the results which of course we don’t know right now. If the worst does happen and we did nothing to stop it, that sounds like a lot worse outcome than mistakenly putting Chavez’s head on a stick. But of course no one is going to do that. We will hang around and wait for him to do something stupid. I just hope that thta something stupid doesn’t result in too much harm.

  32. Unfortunately, Chavez can hang around for a very long time. Even a sucky and declining oil sector throws off more than enough cash to fund a dictatorship.

    If Castro can hang on for over forty years selling sugar and cigars, why shouldn’t Chavez be able to hang on even longer selling oil.

    Even so, ignoring him seems like the thing to do, for now.

    I don’t make excuses for Chavez.

    Between constantly reminding us how democratic his regime is, and cataloguing all the benefits he brings to the country, it sure comes off that way.

  33. True, I guess that is why the U.S. relyed on UN Security Council resolution 1442 to invade Iraq and went back to the Security Council numerous times in 2002 asking for clarification on the right to use force against Iraq rather than using the resolution that authorized use of force against Al Quada or the inherent right of self defense.

    Hate to burst your bubble, but none of that would have happened if they had shot down those jets before they reached the buildings.

    Besides, I am quite open to the possibility that Saddam did do some terrorism in the US:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayna_Davis

    Sometimes the real world is bizarro world, John.

  34. Why is it that the people who claim to be the most certain about Chavez’s policies being unsustainable, and who take for themselves the most credit for when that came to pass in the USSR, seem to be the least willing to wait for it to happen in Venezuela?

    I hope you aren’t referring to me.

    dhex-

    Wait, people in New York like Mugabe? Huh?

  35. Even so, ignoring him seems like the thing to do, for now.

    Guess what Venezuelan voters think when they read comments like that.

  36. John,

    Haven’t you noticed yet that “putting someone’s head on a stick” ends up producing other outcomes besides that individual’s head being on a stick?

    “If the worst does happen and we did nothing to stop it…” Who’s talking about “doing nothing to stop…the worst?” You can’t possibly believe that our choices are that binary, can you?

    RC,

    “If Castro can hang on for over forty years selling sugar and cigars…” Castro spent most of those 40 years receiving massive subsidies from the Soviet Union.

    “Between constantly reminding us how democratic his regime is, and cataloguing all the benefits he brings to the country, it sure comes off that way.”

    I’m sure it does, to you, but so what? You’re going to draw that same conclusion about any statement less jingoistic than “Chavez is evil.”

    I’ve made it very clear why democracy in Venezuela matters, and why understanding the source of his popularity is important. Whether you choose to try to understand what’s happening down there, or not, I’m not going to kowtow to deliberate ignorance.

  37. [quote]If Castro can hang on for over forty years selling sugar and cigars, why shouldn’t Chavez be able to hang on even longer selling oil.[/quote]
    Because Castro never expected much from his sugar and cigars and even the highest price shocks did not net him much of a boost, hence the inevitable fall was minor. Chavez is borrowing heavily against future earnings which will not be there; the people are getting used to the cheap food stores and will not take kindly when they and everything else vanish.

  38. R C Dean,

    We don’t have to ignore him. I think that, when he’s around with other leaders (like at the U.N.), we should make silly faces behind his back and twirl our fingers at our foreheads when he’s speaking. A full-scale campaign of mock and awe, if you will.

    Dave,

    Well, I don’t think the voters want us to come save them, given that they apparently voted for the joker. Saving people from themselves is all well and good, but it rarely works. . .at least, not without unintended consequences. Heck, we should invade the U.S. and knock some sense into the heads of American voters.

  39. Heck, we should invade the U.S. and knock some sense into the heads of American voters.

    I think the Americans would welcome us with open arms as liberators. And the corn revenue will pay the reconstruction costs.

    And don’t worry about resistance. Most Americans are so fat that crushing the resistance will literally be a cake-walk.

    Besides, I hear that America possesses WMD…

    Anyway, when we write a new Constitution, we should be sure to include an office of Censor, just for you!

  40. Not to be too pedantic, but if the headline is a Rodgers and Hammerstein reference, it would more properly read: “How do you solve a problem like Hugo?”

  41. thoreau,

    I was not referring to you – you actually stick with that principle.

  42. thoreau,

    Ah, if I could be Chief Censor, I’d certainly throw out the welcome mat for the U.S. liberators. I think the Constitution could use some tweaking, as well.

    Incidentally, did you know that the Americans have actually used WMDs? They/we also have a history of enslaving people and may have participated in a campaign of genocide. And they invaded Canada! I mean, what kind of people would invade Canada? Not to mention that the United States is one of the largest oil-producing nations on the planet, so it’s in our economic self-interest to invade.

  43. “”If Castro can hang on for over forty years selling sugar and cigars…””

    spoken with the true understanding of a gentleman who thought CH was in the EU…

  44. Not only that, PL, but the terrorist training grounds for 9/11 were located in the US. Notably Florida.

  45. Well, if you must invade Florida, please start with all those fools up in Gainesville who refer to themselves as “The Gator Nation”.

  46. American officials are known to have met with state sponsors of terrorism, including the Ba’athis presidents of Syria and Iraq, as well as secretly supplying arms to Iran.

    And that’s just the Republicans.

  47. “Guess what Venezuelan voters think when they read comments like that.”

    Dave W

    Yes, Venezuelans might be offended if they took it as indifference to what happens to them. However, nobody – Venezuelans, Americans, Mexicans, Canadians or anyone else – likes to be told what they should do about their own problems. Instead, they tend to “shoot the messenger” rather than seek the cure.

    Ignoring Chavez may be cruel to Venezuelans, but doing something “with good intentions” would probably be worse and would certainly earn you no praise.

  48. If Castro can hang on for over forty years selling sugar and cigars, why shouldn’t Chavez be able to hang on even longer selling oil.

    Cuba is pretty much dead when it comes to its participation in world affairs… There was a time when the Cuban military was active all around the world. Cuba pretty much died as a world power after the invasion of Granada and collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Unfortunately, Chavez can hang around for a very long time. Even a sucky and declining oil sector throws off more than enough cash to fund a dictatorship.

    Hugo Chavez is going to only last as long as G. W. Bush sticks around. A lot of the support Chavez has is really a reaction to Bush and U.S. foriegn policy in Iraq. The worst thing that could happen for Chavez is for a president who is friendly towards Chavez to get elected.

    And they invaded Canada! I mean, what kind of people would invade Canada?

    No, the U.S. invaded the British Empire. It was the shitty job that the British did in defending British North American territory during the war of 1812 (along with a possible war with the U.S. as part of British intervention into the U.S. civil war) that resulted in a push for confederation by the people in what is now Canada.

  49. thoreau:

    http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0319,hentoff,43850,6.html

    short version: he was given a pretty good visit here in 2002, and the certain members of the city council were a little more deferential. hentoff lays the smackdown as he is wont to do.

    but yeah, pretty fucking sad.

  50. Yes, Venezuelans might be offended if they took it as indifference to what happens to them.

    That wasn’t my point. My point is that when RCD says “for now” what he really means is: — we’ll get to you later–.

  51. Rex Rhino,

    Don’t ruin my jokes again, or you’ll be dealt with by the American-American liberators.

    jimmydageek,

    Given our current win streak, attacking the Gator Nation would be foolhardy, at best 🙂

  52. spoken with the true understanding of a gentleman who thought CH was in the EU…

    When did I say that?

    If Castro can hang on for over forty years selling sugar and cigars, why shouldn’t Chavez be able to hang on even longer selling oil.

    Of course I know Castro sucked down billions of subsidies from the USSR. That all went away some time ago, and as far as I know he doesn’t have a sugar daddy (so to speak) any more. He’s been getting by on an essentially agrarian economy for some time. Chavez has a major advantage.

    Guess what Venezuelan voters think when they read comments like that.

    So now Dave W wants us to intervene in Venezuela? With what means, and on what grounds?

    Hugo Chavez is going to only last as long as G. W. Bush sticks around. A lot of the support Chavez has is really a reaction to Bush and U.S. foriegn policy in Iraq. The worst thing that could happen for Chavez is for a president who is friendly towards Chavez to get elected.

    I fail to understand what will happen when HRC is sworn into the White House. Will Hugo resign? Why?

  53. So now Dave W wants us to intervene in Venezuela? With what means, and on what grounds?

    well, we could try something like this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Maine_%28ACR-1%29

    or this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

  54. If one can picture Hugo Chavez in a 30’s-era Austrian nun habit, the lyrics are amusing, if not a bit kinky:

    He climbs a tree and scrapes his knee
    His dress has got a tear
    He waltzes on his way to mass
    And whistles on the stair
    And underneath his wimple
    He has curlers in his hair
    I’ve even heard him singing in the abbey

    He’s always late for chapel
    But his penitence is real
    He’s always late for everything
    Except for every meal
    I hate to have to say it
    But I very firmly feel
    Hugo’s not an asset to the abbey

    I’d like to say a word in his behalf
    Hugo makes me laugh

    {Refrain}
    How do you solve a problem like Hugo
    How do you catch a cloud and pin it down
    How do you find a word that means Hugo
    A flibbertigibbet, a will-o’-the-wisp, a clown…

  55. The best idea, and I think I heard it here, would be for GWB to find something insignificant over which to complement Ch?vez. It would undermine Ch?vez’s ability to rally Venezuelans to him and it would confound American socialists.

    Also, Bush should avoid doing anything stupid to run up the price of oil. Shouldn’t he be clearing brush on his ranch right now?

  56. The wells are alive
    With the sound of music.

  57. “No, the U.S. invaded the British Empire. It was the shitty job that the British did in defending British North American territory during the war of 1812 (along with a possible war with the U.S. as part of British intervention into the U.S. civil war) that resulted in a push for confederation by the people in what is now Canada.”

    No. The US invasion only heightened anti-Americanism among the United Empire Loyalists – i.e. the “Tories” who fled persecution after their side lost in 1783.

    The process towards confederation started with the Canadians seeking more liberties and self-government in the rebellions of 1837-38. This led to expanded self-government.

    The final push for Confederation was the US Civil War and the horror the colonies in BNA had of the carnage. The result was the BNA act of 1867. Nearly – and de facto – full independence came with the Statute of Westminister in 1931.

    Legal full independence didn’t come until the British Parliament ratified the Canadian Constitution of 1982.

  58. Venezuela will be Zimbabwe in five years, tops.

  59. Aresen,

    Your Canadian-centric propaganda doesn’t impress me, and don’t think we haven’t noticed the peculiar concentration of your population on our borders!

    Does Canada have oil, by the way? Oh, no reason–just asking.

  60. self-government in the rebellions of 1837-38

    The 1837 one is very funny. i always try to imagine what it was like then when I walk up Yonge.

    Does Canada have oil, by the way? Oh, no reason–just asking.

    Canada has oil sands and the impact is huge. The Prime Minister is from Calgary, and brings a new style of government (and a huge improvement to my mind). On the other hand, places like Toronto are starting to decay, and the cities out west with the oil money are kind of gauche. It is also kind of sad to see a shift from a brain based economy to a resource based one. Quebec is making out like bandits. Losing Quebec would be like an arch losing its keystone. Or something.

  61. Of course the rebellions of 1837-38 were jokes. They were run by people from Ontario and Quebec. ;P

    “Losing Quebec would be like an arch losing its keystone. Or something.”

    More like losing our haemorrhoids.

    PL

    Last time you invaded, our side burned Washington. That put us two up on you.

    You can invade as long as you promise to nuke Ottawa.

  62. Venezuela will be Zimbabwe in five years, tops.

    You know, you free marketers are always underestimating a true populist socialist cause. I have no doubt that Venezuela can be every bit as successful as Zimbabwe in under three years.

  63. The 1837 one is very funny. i always try to imagine what it was like then when I walk up Yonge.

    Well, they might have made it all the way downtown if they hadn’t stopped at every inn on the way from Newmarket to Yorkville. They had to get recruits and besides all that marching’s thirsty work, you know. If I remember the story right they were in no shape to fight when the King’s men met up with them around Bloor St.

    The interesting thing is that in those days the United States was seen as a progressive place and they wanted to be just like us.

  64. The Toronto Star “revealed” back in 1970 or so that the US had plans for invading Canada. Canada was into one of it’s more anti-American cycles at that point so it confirmed everyone’s worst fears.

    The Star later ran a story to the effect that every country in the world has plans to invade its neighbors. Including Canada.

  65. “The Toronto Star “revealed” back in 1970 or so that the US had plans for invading Canada.”

    The Toronto Star is only marginally more credible than Pravda was in 1970. And only slightly to the left of it.

  66. It is also kind of sad to see a shift from a brain based economy to a resource based one.

    Well, maybe you should make some changes that would give the smart ones a reason to stick around.

  67. If that were ever the case, hopefully we would do what we did in Panama, invade, hang his miserable ass and leave and not worry about nation building.

    I was shocked to hear that we hung Noriega. Almost as shocked as I am to just now find out that he is apparently being released from prison September 9.

  68. Aresen,

    Yes, I think one reason that we haven’t launched our planned invasion (based on our 1970 or so plans) is because you did us the favor of burning Washington. Tell you what: You burn DC again, and we’ll destroy Ottawa AND force Quebec to secede.

    You know, the U.S., Canada, and Australia should merge (New Zealand, too, if they act today). I leave out the U.K., because they’re getting weird. No swords, indeed.

    jf,

    Really? Wow, where will he go? If I were he, I’d move to Venezuela and become Hugo’s right-hand man. Just to torque the U.S.

  69. Yes,

    JF we didn’t hang Noreaga and he is getting out of prison. But, all Noreaga did was sell drugs. If Chavez ever actually backed terrorism in the U.S., he wouldn’t be sharing a sell in the U.S. for very long. But point taken, we did not hang Noreaga.

  70. http://www.theamericanscholar.org/sp07/letterfromcaracass-starr.html

    This is a much better article on Venezuala than the NYT piece.

  71. Not to flame John for his atrocious spelling or anything…well, actually, exactly that. It is mindbogglingly difficult to take seriously the arguments of someone who says “Noreaga” and “Venezuelians”. That is all.

  72. The Toronto Star is only marginally more credible than Pravda was in 1970. And only slightly to the left of it.

    Being only slightly to the left of Pravda, of course, makes it a right-wing paper in Canada! 🙂

    It does publish a lot of nonsense, but if I am not mistaken it is still the largest circulation daily in Canada.

    My point was that it had turned out that the Canadian Military had plans to invade the US. And that such plans are common even if they are just excercises for the General Staff and their planners.

  73. You know, the U.S., Canada, and Australia should merge…

    Just as in Canada a lot of British policy in 19th century Australia was driven by perceived American intentions.

    While the settlement of Van Dieman’s Land was primarily to establish a presence against the French it was also a message to American sealers and whalers that this was British territory.

  74. Clearly, Canada would lose a war with the U.S., but I do wonder how well they’d do with a sneak attack, given the element of extreme surprise? I mean, if I were president, I’d have to see howling Canadian hordes at the front door of the White House before I might start believing my reports.

    If we do merge with Canada et al., where would the capital be? I say San Diego. Or maybe Tampa. Somewhere nice. Hawaii?

  75. “It is mindbogglingly difficult to take seriously the arguments of someone who says “Noreaga” and “Venezuelians”. That is all.”

    Try spelling ‘Massachusetts’ without laughing. Then ask yourself, “why bother?”

  76. “If we do merge with Canada et al., where would the capital be? I say San Diego. Or maybe Tampa. Somewhere nice. Hawaii?”

    Hell, no. Ellesmere island. The pols deserve to live there. Plus: No planes can get in for 5 months a year. And the other 7 months are chancy.

  77. Oh well some James, if you can’t understand what is being said or think of anything to say, you can always comment on spelling. I am of course always happy to give people of your limited intelligence a chance to at least say something.

  78. “I do wonder how well they’d do with a sneak attack”

    Have you looked closely at the non-Latino population of Arizona and Florida lately?

    heh, heh, heh

  79. Aresen,

    No doubt, I have already observed your sly substitution of your currency for ours in Florida.

    Also, you’re right. Nice places are bad. America had the sense to put its capital in a swamp, for instance.

  80. I am all for merging with Canada if we can just get the right parts of the country. If you cut out French Quebec and the nanny state whining liberals in Ontario and just take Saskatchewan west, it would be a great addition to the U.S. Western Canadians are pretty laid back, self reliant types. They would be a great addition to the country. But if taking them means also taking the mavens of Toronto and Montreal, no thanks.

  81. Pro Libertate

    I think the Canadian generals were relying on the fact that American soldiers would double over with laughter when they heard they were being attacked by the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

  82. Isaac,

    The Canadians actually have a very good military tradition and have some great people in what is left of their delapidated Army. Their snipers in Afghanistan broke kill records that went back to the First World War.

  83. John, you’re absolutely right.

    In fact it is the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry that is doing some of the heaviest lifting (and taking some of the heaviest casualties) in Afghanistan right now.

    The Taliban are taking them very seriously.

  84. The newspapers and radio in Toronto are more pro-police and pro-military than anything else.

    There are three major papers besides the Star in Toronto, all to the right of it. The most disgusting thing is when the newspaper media reporters follow around people who finished their jail terms and are released. One guy near my work had to go back to jail because no motel would take him because of his media tail. The media also cultivates a lot of support for warrantless* door to door police searches.

    We are into day 2 of the “6 soldiers killed in Afghanistan” fest. It is a much bigger fest than it would be in the US. Believe me. Even in (especially in) the Star.

    It is interesting when the newspapers report the fraggings/suicides because: (i) these would not be reported in the US; and (ii) they don’t call them that (they simply say that the death(s) is being investigated and it is too early to tell anything).

    FOOTNOTE:
    * the searches are “voluntary,” but if you refuse then they get a warrant on the basis of your refusal.

  85. Their snipers in Afghanistan broke kill records that went back to the First World War.

    It is a lot easier when the dead ones are, by definition, AQ. They should be required to mark with asterisks.

  86. I know the Gloat and Wail* and the Sun**. What’s the third?

    *Grope and Flail, Mop and Pail. I remember it as generally a Tory rag, how is it now? I’m certain it’s not worth reading now that Richard J Needham is dead.

    **unofficial sucessor to the Telegram the most right-wing paper in Canada to my knowledge. Ironically The Sun puts out the Orlando Weekly which is an so leftwing that it is almost a parody of itself.

  87. Isaac

    The Gripe and Wail pretends to be conservative, but it plumps down on the liberal side on every issue.

    The National Pest is somewhat conservative, but since the Aspers bought it from Conrad Black, it has become more neo-Con than conservative. Any commentator who did not agree that Israel was the ONE TRUE RIGHTEOUS OCCUPIER OF THE HOLY LAND was fired as soon as the Aspers took control.

  88. The National Pest is somewhat conservative, but since the Aspers bought it from Conrad Black, it has become more neo-Con than conservative. Any commentator who did not agree that Israel was the ONE TRUE RIGHTEOUS OCCUPIER OF THE HOLY LAND was fired as soon as the Aspers took control.

    Is Matt Welch still doing his column there?

  89. Oh, I didn’t realize that the National Post was a Toronto daily. I thought it was Ottawa-based for some reason.

    That’s pretty much how I remember the old Mop and Pail, Aresen. But then what do want from the house organ of the old Progressive Conservative Party? Those guys just never knew where they stood.

  90. Oh, I didn’t realize that the National Post was a Toronto daily. I thought it was Ottawa-based for some reason.

    I called it a “major paper in Toronto” because it is widely distributed here.

  91. In fact it is the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry that is doing some of the heaviest lifting (and taking some of the heaviest casualties) in Afghanistan right now.

    I heard on NPR this morning that the Aussies are planning to send more troops the Afghanistan because the Taliban has made such a resurgence that Al Qaeda is able to operate with impunity there. Yet another reason joe is right when it comes to launching our folly in Iraq when Afghanistan was nowhere near “mission accomplished.” Plus, maybe I get to surprise him by the fact that I listen to NPR. Or not.

  92. Dave W

    “Is Matt Welch still doing his column there?”

    The name doesn’t ring a bell. I just checked their web page and he isn’t listed as a columnist.

    With respect to the six soldiers killed in Afganistan this weekend, the impact here is similar to what the impact would be if 60 US soldiers were killed in Iraq in one day.

    Support for the Afgan campaign is soft, but most people seem to feel it is one of those “there is no alternative” kind of things.

  93. With respect to the six soldiers killed in Afganistan this weekend, the impact here is similar to what the impact would be if 60 US soldiers were killed in Iraq in one day.

    Well, that is certainly how the Canadian papers seem to view it as far as headline font and column inches go.

    You USians should see the Remembrance Day doings up here. Quite impressive. Why if the Brits hadn’t won WWI, then we might have never have been able to honor Holocaust victims!

  94. He’s hamstrung by the fact that any actual action against the U.S. (like a terrorist attack), would free us to crush his little government like a bug.

    With troops from … where again?

    We’d be well-served to disabuse the notion that we can simultaneously kick any number of 3rd-world nations’ asses anywhere anytime.

  95. crimethink-

    I think we still have the air power to kick any number of asses.

    Occupying the area and having some say in what happens next is an entirely different matter…

  96. “Of course I know Castro sucked down billions of subsidies from the USSR. That all went away some time ago, and as far as I know he doesn’t have a sugar daddy (so to speak) any more. He’s been getting by on an essentially agrarian economy for some time. Chavez has a major advantage.”

    Actually, Chavez is Castro’s new sugar daddy. He’s been throwing heaps of oil money at the island.

  97. “The best idea, and I think I heard it here, would be for GWB to find something insignificant over which to complement Ch?vez. It would undermine Ch?vez’s ability to rally Venezuelans to him and it would confound American socialists.”

    Or he could beat Chavez at his own game by going to Venezuela and offering cheap heating oil to the poor while berating the economic system that has oppressed them for so long.

  98. joe,

    Just detailing one of the costs associated with the Chevez regime.

  99. crimethink,

    I think we still have the air power to kick any number of asses.

    We probably don’t actually. In order to deterimine if we do one would have to figure out how much air power is currently being used in theatre in Iraq and Afghanistan. I suspect that a sizeable portion of the Air Force and the Navy air arm are being used in those locales.

    Then there are issues of how often you are going to rotate men and machines into out of theatre positions (for R&R, repair, etc.) and the like.

  100. Occupying the area and having some say in what happens next is an entirely different matter…

    T. has a good point. The current meme of the pro-war, errrr I mean pro-military, crowd (eg, HnR’s Radley Balko) is that one needs to constantly be reminded that the military’s job is to break stuff and kill people. That misses the point. If the only point of the military were break stuff and kill people, then all wars would be nuclear. The military’s real job is to break certain things, while avoiding breaking other things, and killing certain people, while avoiding killing other people. the selectivity in the breaking and killing is as much a part of their job as the breaking and killing itself. in fact, contrary to 2001-2006 jingoism, a good soldier should sometimes (read: often) faces an enhanced risk of death for avoiding breaking something that shouldn’t be broke, or killing something that shouldn’t be killed.

    But of course this means that we need more women and men willing to die for the cause, whatever it may be, and that means either increasing military salaries (not with my tax dollars I hope!) or a draft.

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