Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hugo? Sort of Rings a Bell ... I'm Sorry, Who?

Strategypage notes that some analysts think the best thing to do about nutjobs like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales is to ignore them and let them spout off but generally remain relatively harmless:

Although the U.S. and many of its friends have come to view the advent of Hugo Chavez as President of Venezuela and Evo Morales as President of Bolivia, as something of a disaster, a lot of cultural and policy analysts have concluded that ignoring them is likely to be the best policy. Despite their often revolutionary rhetoric, neither has an attention-span sufficient to carry through any kind of serious program, much preferring to mug for the crowd, promising pie-in-the-sky but not investing much effort in delivering the goods. To be sure some of their henchmen are more focused, but their status in the hierarchy and their ability to implement programs is very heavily dependent on keeping the bossman entertained.

And this will allow them to just anger their own people and neighbors. So the problem may be self correcting if we are careful.

This is what I wrote a month ago about what to do:

So while Chavez will continue to puff up and "defy" the United States, we should go about our business and pay him no mind. Say nice things in public about Venezuelans in general. Ignore Hugo as much as possible. And encourage NGOs, the EU, and the UN to support civic institutions inside Venezuala. This is one state that we can afford to take the time to encourage an Insert-Your-Color-Here Revolution.

Let him rant. Let's not make him a hero in Latin America by reacting to his bluster. We aren't about to devote 200,000 troops and five years to take him out so let's not even pretend we might or start issuing threats. In the end, we'd have to back down and give Hugo a victory.

We have real problems to deal with, remember? Just smile and nod at the crazy man and keep walking by him.

Though I worry that Chavez will do something to make him an actual threat, Strategypage eases my worries a bit on this score. I think we should watch him just in case but relax a bit.

So we must ignore Chavez even when our Left learns to love him. That makes it hard to smile and nod and pack away the smart bombs.

I worry that the impact of our Left's love affair with Chavez will succeed in getting Americans angry enough at Chavez (as I did here, in error I think) to provoke our government to actually issue empty threats.

Lord knows these guys have faces made for JDAMs, but we must keep perspective. Just keep Chavez and his buddies in the Axis of El Vil and don't promote them up to Evil status.