Thursday, February 22, 2007

Dutch Treat

Hugo Chavez is simultaneously on a buying spree for modern weapons and purging any of his officers who might understand how to use them. That's about par for the course for nutcase thugs, fortunately.

And as he trashes his own economy, Hugo might try to pick on a neighbor to rally his people:

But for the last two years, Venezuelan officials, including the country's demagogic president, Hugo Chavez, have made numerous public statements about the "reunification" of the islands of the Dutch West Indies (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaτao) with Venezuela. Added to that there is the ancient claim on most of neighboring Guyana, some disputed Colombian territorial waters, and very flimsy claims on Caribbean islands like Trinidad and Tobago. There has been some actions as well. Venezuelan violations of Dutch air space and territorial waters, including illegal over flights by military aircraft, have occurred with some frequency. In addition, Venezuelan authorities have urged residents of the islands to form "Bolivarian" cells, in support of eventual "reunification."

If I was in charge of Dutch defenses, I'd be worried about Hugo. Of course, the Dutch have taken some actions that would be of use in case Hugo tries to self-promote to the Axis of Evil from the Axis of El Vil at Dutch expense. With a little preparation, I have little doubt that the Dutch could hold their own and make Hugo pay for any date in the Carribbean Sea.

And really, as a NATO country, The Netherlands would have reason to call on the NATO reaction force for help. I may not think much of the NRF given the lack of political will of the nations that contribute troops to the force (and an army directed by committee would only be as strong as the weakest member), but a direct attack on a NATO member by a nation with a military crippled by ideology would probably be considered an attack on all. Our 9/11 set the precedent for an out-of-area NATO response in the Western Hemisphere already.

If I was a betting man, I'd guess that if the new NATO force is ever used, the NRF sees service first in the Western Hemisphere rather than in Darfur or Afghanistan.

I still hope we can ignore the crazy man down south and that he'll self-destruct. But I don't know if we are that lucky.