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Open letter to Michael Rowan re CHAVEZ-3, BUSH-0

By Homer Harkins

09.09.05 | Mr. Rowan, You are correct. Chavez's strategy for expanding his influence in the region is more successful than Bush's. Not difficult as Bush has no strategy.

I suspect that the situation in Venezuela is reaching a level of importance sufficient to justify the formation of a formal National Security Council (NSC) working group to analyze that situation. They will write a report and, if the threat to USA interests increases, a "Deputies" committee will be convened to initiate the NSC decision making process. The situation still must be escalated through a "Principals" committee before the actual principals (President, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense) consider the situation. But unless vital interests are affected or the president has a personal interest, they will probably move the process back into the NSC for further analysis.

The point is that Bush has too much to worry about (e.g., disintegration of the Philippines, Spartely Island claims, piracy in the Straights of Malacca, instability in Nepal, a nuclear confrontation in the sub-continent, radicalization of the Iranian Revolution, the open wound of Iraq, a coup in Syria, Kurdish sovereignty, stability in Turkey....I think you get the point) to focus on any one issue long enough to develop a strategy. If and when the USA acts against Chavez, it will be in response to need and probably analogous to a bull in a china shop. There will be no time for finesse and in the end it will just create more bad feeling towards the US in the region. But no worries here, as the USA won't act. Agiula no caza mosca. Chavez is your problem. Although he will continue to do terrible damage to your country and may even destabilize part of the region (all resulting in tremendous bloodshed, principally through criminal violence stimulated by institutional instability but also through political violence that will be part of eventually confrontation), "el processo" it is irrelevant to the USA. Chavez and his revolution are, as we gringos say, chicken shit.

This hurts me because I love Venezuela and its culture. I lived there for five years (two in Cumana and three in Caracas). My wife is Venezuelan. I don't write the above to offend you. I write it to heighten your understanding and appreciation of the reality of the US government's role in your nightmare.

One day, the majority of Venezuelans will move against Chavez and his band of revolutionaries. It will take time. Everyone loves a winner and, like it or not, Chavez is winning the political game in Venezuela. But the reality of Chavez's gross incompetence will catch up with him. Never underestimate the power of dumb luck, something that Chavez has enjoyed in abundance, but relying on dumb luck is not a sound strategy. It can and will run out. And your very insightful writings will help. I usually love to read the obviousness of your editorials, even though you tend to be a bit quixotic. You tell Venezuelans the truth. They need it desperately. But usually that truth stimulates action on the part of Venezuelans. Your article critizing Bush's Latin American policy is, unfortunately, irrelevant.

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