Via Larwyn, Victor Davis Hanson asks, What Obama Might Do?
3) Our enemies. Obama can concentrate on talking about lowering oil prices (or rather should appreciate that the natural market forces are giving him low prices freely). If we go down to below $50 a barrel on oil, I think Iran would have real problems with its centrifuges and missiles. Putin and Co. won’t be so bellicose, given their cash reserves will vanish (they are beginning to do that already). Radical Islam will find fewer floating dollars to tap into. Hezbollah will be cash poor (and much weaker vis a vis Israel). Chavez will have to cut all those subsidies with which he used to buy allies. The point is that most of our enemies are oil exporters, and the crashing prices could bring Obama real foreign policy dividends if he finds ways to keep oil prices low when the economy rebounds. Right now, for all the talk of gloom and doom, Obama has been given a great foreign policy and economic gift. Let us hope he finesses it the right way.
Let’s hope he does, indeed.
This is a remarkable opportunity, a huge break.
However, in the case of Chavez, Democrat Bill Richardson, who was campaigning for Obama in the Latino communities, went to Caracas last April to ask Chavez (who had given $300 million dollars to the FARC), to negotiate for the release of three American FARC hostages. The hostages were later rescued by the Colombian military.
Richardson came back saying about Chavez and his cohorts,
I just got back from Latin America, from Venezuela, where he [Obama] has enormous support, where people really want to see a change in American foreign policy and they see Obama as that agent of change.”
At that time, Simon Romero of the NYTimes pointed out,
The meeting itself was exceptional, marking a rare personal encounter between and a prominent American official and Mr. Chavez, following a sharp deterioration of political relations between the Bush administration and Venezuela’s government.
An elected official, at that.
(Never mind Obama family friend Bill Ayers’s visit to the Chavista Centro Miranda, where he called for the end of capitalism)
Combine that with the Democrat’s obstruction of the Colombia free trade agreement, which is vital to the security of the region -something the Pelosi congress either doesn’t know or chooses to ignore. Obama even slipped out that he’d renegotiate NAFTA, and later retracted that position.
My point is that, even when it’s rather early to predict, all signs point to the Obama administration not taking advantage of the vaccum the lack Chavez funding would leave in the region. I don’t expect the Obama administration to move aggresively and take advantage of this opportunity, and, for instance, approve more free trade with Latin American countries, foster private enterprise initiatives, and strengthening intelligence and military support with countries like Colombia.
Instead, the administration will probably send ideologues to places like Ecuador where they would exult the progressive “socialism for the 21st Century” point of view.
Let’s hope I’m wrong.
World leaders hoping to meet President-elect Obama at an economic summit this weekend in Washington will be disappointed.
Obama does not plan to be in the nation’s capital or receive foreign visitors in Chicago over the weekend.
His excuse is that he sees this meeting as a Bush meeting – but if that’s the case, why not meet visitors in Chicago?
Obama may be attempting to define his term in office as a “domestic” presidency, the way Clinton’s was.
Unfortunately, Clinton was president in the 20th Century back when people were talking about “the end of history”, and we’re already in the 21st.