With Friends Like US, Who Needs Enemies

Not only is anti-Americanism generally cost free; it provides some immunity from criticism. Leftists worldwide, and also in America, tend to lay off despots standing on their hind legs to criticize the U.S., while America’s friends are harshly scrutinized. Consider the disgraceful treatment Columbia’s President Alvaro Uribe got from such discriminating people as Pelosi & Gore.

Pelosi, who figuratively kissed Assad in Syria, scolded a democratically elected U.S. ally like Uribe. She made no mention of the friendship she extended to her new BFF Bashar. Al Gore made a special point of dissing Uribe by canceling a joint appearance and generally treating a good ally as the skunk at a garden party.

What did Uribe do to deserve this? The proximate cause is a proposed free trade agreement with the U.S. Democratic political allies hate this sort of freedom thing and they are not above a flanking attack that trashes a U.S. ally in order to stop it. But I wish it was ONLY craven calculation of economic self interest.

A more pernicious reason is that among Uribe's sins is friendliness to the U.S. and a broad support of U.S. policy. The President sets the foreign policy of the United States. Many democrats oppose the President. If they can discredit his foreign policy, they can weaken him domestically. As far as they are concerned, that is as far as the analysis needs to go. Domestic politics no longer stops at the water's edge. That is why we find Nancy Pelosi in Syria pretending that one of the world's most murderous regimes is just another kid on the block, but treating a twice elected and popular president of a U.S. ally to a condescending lecture. That is why Al Gore, who has no trouble talking to and raising money from the Chinese, a man who favors direct talks with the North Koreans, cannot bring himself to share the stage with a twice elected friendly Latin American president.

Columbia is busy fighting gangs of criminal terrorists. Until not long ago, there was some danger that the country would collapse into chaos. Uribe, whose own father was murdered by guerillas, understood the danger and took steps to address it. Since he took office in 2002, murders and kidnappings are down, the economy is up and the country is coming back to life. Columbia's guerillas, many of whom resemble Che Guevara and so are automatically trusted by those leftists who had the ubiquitous Che posters hanging over the beds in their dorm rooms, understand how to use the propaganda weapon and where best to deploy it but in the U.S.? Who best to deploy it among but old lefties?

Let's recall a few facts. Uribe was elected twice is free elections. Polls estimate his popularity between 70-80%, making him one of the most popular democratically elected officials in the entire world. He has established more stability than Columbia has seen in a long time. Corruption is diminished. The economy is improving. Deforestation and pollution caused by the cocaine "industry" is reduced. Uribe is fighting against horrible terrorists associated with drug smuggling, kidnapping and murder. He is winning, but there is a long way to go. He has been a friend of the U.S. and is a source of democratic stability in a continent drifting toward unstable populists. You would be mistaken if you think that all these accomplishments would mean that Democrats would give this man as much respect as car bombing killers like Bashar Al Assad, dishonest demagogues like Hugo Chavez, or even ... I do not know what I call that malevolent dwarf Kim Jong Il that would be worse than Kim Jong Il.

On a related item, we hear a lot about being involved in a civil war in Iraq. This morning I heard on the radio that Sunni sheiks are fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. If we take the side of the sheiks, are we getting involved in their civil war or are they getting involved in helping us fight terrorism? Maybe it is a good idea to help those who help us and stomp those who are against us, at least try.

Posted by Jack at May 7, 2007 8:08 PM
Comments
Comment #219761

Problem with “just another kid on the block” is that as the biggest kid on the block the USA is continually pressured to talk with that kid who represents a problem to the neighborhood.

It would be nice to see a scoreboard on US involvement in truly helping countries help themselves, or protecting the innocent in civil wars. It can be clearly argued in today’s terms that we are in a hot spot with Iraq, however, it is frustrating as a citizen to watch the rest of the world vilify the United States for action and non-action.

It is truly vogue to hate the United States.

Posted by: Honest at May 7, 2007 9:31 PM
Comment #219762

Honest

June is the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan. That was the most generous policy in the history of the world. Our record is very good, at least compared to other great powers.

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2007 9:35 PM
Comment #219763

Good grief, Jack. Knowing how people are, many for ideological reasons will just believe this nonsense you’re peddling. No where do you mention that Pelosi and Gore are concerned about allegations that Uribe has been associated with right-wing death squads. Surely that deserved some mention. No, instead you make silly claims that the Dems are against freedom.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 7, 2007 9:36 PM
Comment #219768

Gerrold

They are generally against freedom of trade, which is what I talked about.

I also think that the left (not all Dems fit here) tends to attack friends of the U.S. Today, we have that exacerbated by Bush hatred.

I am not saying that we should ignore possible rights violations. Right and left wing death squads vie for power. The man is working hard in a very difficult situation.

If you made a list of violators, near the top would be places like Syria (where Pelosi was polite), China, Cuba, Zimbabwe etc. Those places are bad and not making progress.

Pelosi and Gore would have been right to mention such things as rights abuses, but not to mention only that. We have a country that went from a potential failed state, attacked by narco terrorists just a short time ago. Murders, kidnappings, violence is down.

I really believe that one reason for anti-Americanism is its lack of cost AND the price countries pay for supporting us. Much of it is self inflicted. Consider this - if Uribe and Chavez showed up on university campuses, who would have a bigger chance of being heckled off?

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #219769

“Consider this - if Uribe and Chavez showed up on university campuses, who would have a bigger chance of being heckled off?”
Jack


That depends, for the most part, on who brought the most money to give to poor Americans! That gives you a lot of political clout these days, regardless of your actual politics.

JD

Posted by: JD at May 7, 2007 10:15 PM
Comment #219773

JD

I do not think the lefty student are so easily bought with money. More likely ideological.

Besides, how much money do you think he really has transferred from abysmally poor venezuelans to poor Americans. I know that Joe Kennedy is acting as his shill, but besides that?

Posted by: Jack at May 7, 2007 10:38 PM
Comment #219775

I find extremists and despots of all political stripes hateful. Sometimes we do have to deal with totalitarian bastards, but do we really have to jump to their defense? We better be careful who we get to cheerleading for.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 7, 2007 10:51 PM
Comment #219776

Just thinking about Chavez’s last visit to New York, Jack. Those heating oil vouchers sure got him some standing ovations from the left.
You didn’t say what University you were talking about. He would probably prefer a community college in a primarily downtrodden area. Better PR there!

JD

Posted by: JD at May 7, 2007 10:55 PM
Comment #219780

Just a second thought after I hit the POST button:

Which is worse?

A Congress that can be bought, or an electorate that is paid for with someone else’s money?

JD

Posted by: JD at May 7, 2007 11:24 PM
Comment #219783

Jack,
Your write: “What did Uribe do to deserve this? The proximate cause is a proposed free trade agreement with the U.S.”

That is wrong. Uribe has generally done a good job for his country. However, he has been linked to paramilitary death squads.

You write: “A more pernicious reason is that among Uribe’s sins is friendliness to the U.S…”

That is wrong. His links to death squads make it difficult for any US politician to be seen in his presence. No one wants to be caught in a photo op shaking his hand.

Generally speaking, I think Uribe has done a good job. But like Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness,” his methods make civilized people a tad uncomfortable.

Posted by: phx8 at May 7, 2007 11:50 PM
Comment #219789

He has been “linked” thats all. Regardless, he doesn’t have the opportunity to be engaged in an already “civilized” (if you’re talking liberalism or socialism….puke) society, you can’t be so fat and lazy everywhere. He’s trying to make what hes got work, and so far so good, you’re not always presented perfect options. I would be proud to be openly friendly with Columbia, not at all uncomfortable.

Posted by: andy at May 8, 2007 4:20 AM
Comment #219791

Uribe is fighting a war on terror and narcotic gangs. We all agree he is doing a generally good job. He is not a totalitarian (Stephen) but a man twice elected in democratic elections. Is he perfect in a perfect situation? No. Is he much better than some of the despots Pelosi has praised (Assad)? Yes. If he much better than those Gore have said we should talk to? Yes. Is he making progress? Yes. If he was a left wing anti-American would with a similar record, would be be the lion of the left praised by all? Yes. In that case, would Dems shun him? No.

The lefties need a sense of perspective. Or maybe they already got one. That is the dangerous thought.

JD made a good point about someone like Chavez buying support among the less clever. That is possible. But consider this. If one of the narco terrorist showed up on campus (let’s say any Ivy) would he be treated with more or less respect than Uribe? I bet if he came to Yale, they would give him a scholarship.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2007 7:43 AM
Comment #219794

Jack,

First of all, we have heard this logic of “he’s a thug, but his enemies are worse” many times before. The name Saddam Hussein ring a bell? The muhajadeen in Afghanistan?

Secondly, you’ve “Bush hatred” on the brain. You see it everywhere you look. I mean come on, Democrats don’t want to meet with some Latin American strongman so they must hate Bush? That is a pretty roundabout way to show you hate Bush! This is a free country, if you hate someone you can just say so.

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 8, 2007 8:19 AM
Comment #219795

Jack, your statement is based on a false premise: “What did Uribe do to deserve this? The proximate cause is a proposed free trade agreement with the U.S. Democratic political allies hate this sort of freedom thing and they are not above a flanking attack that trashes a U.S. ally in order to stop it.”

What American citizens of are objecting to is Republican’s false premise that free trade is FREE! It is not. Free Trade has been costing American labor big time and therefore has not been free at all.

Now, when Republicans are willing to address the American citizen’s and worker’s concerns in this regard, they can then aspire to leadership again. Until then, Republicans will remain the minority party with a minority view which have been relegated them by the American workers and voters for many, many years to come.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2007 8:21 AM
Comment #219803

Did a little research. Looks like Uribe is an OK, except for the small matter of the death squads. From Fox News:

Former Vice President Al Gore withdrew from an environmental conference in Miami Friday and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said Gore had pulled out to avoid appearing with Uribe, who is battling new accusations that he aided far-right death squads…Uribe called the press conference to refute an opposition lawmaker’s allegations that while Uribe was governor in a northern state in the mid-1990s he let paramilitaries use his property for meetings and killings. Considered terrorist groups by the U.S. government, the paramilitaries are responsible for some of the worst massacres in Colombia’s long-running civil conflict… The U.S. Senate froze $55 million worth of U.S. military aid to Colombia earlier this week on allegations that the head of Colombia’s armed forces — who has also worked closely with the U.S. in its multibillion anti-narcotics strategy, Plan Colombia — collaborated with the death squads. Eight legislators are already in jail on charges of helping the paramilitaries launch a nationwide offensive that killed thousands.

So Gore showed that he “hates Bush” by refusing to meet a guy with ties to people considered to be terrorists?!

Gore should be praised for taking a stand. I guess “hating Bush” is code for “having ethics”.

Posted by: Woody Mena at May 8, 2007 8:51 AM
Comment #219815

Jack,

Your post is about as stilted as your understanding of the Immigration issue.

We are responsible for putting Mexico into the economic situation it is in now - that has given rise to so many of its impoverished seeking a better life in the North.

The free trade agreements, both NAFTA and CAFTA are designed to manipulate and econimically subjugate the economies of our neighbors to the South. NAFTA has given rise to dumping of agricultural products on the Mexican market in such a way as to cause the abandonment of small farm industries in Mexico and thus more people headed North for survival. The issue isn’t even free market. The issue is our UNFREE market. We pay our farmers subsidies to produce certain crops that there is not a profitable market for and actually pay some NOT to plant other crops. We’ve been manipulating our own agricultural economy for generations. Then the unprofitable surplusses are sold to bidders and agricultural agents who dump them on the Mexican market creating havoc.

Further, thanks to the Bucarelli agreement which we pushed through during the strife of the Mexican Revolution in the ‘teens and ‘twenties (with the help of our pet despot Victoriano Huerta and his death squads), Mexico cannot compete against already established American Industries.

Gore and Pelosi simply realize that the overall health and stability of the region and of ourselves requires a less corrupt and more vibrant approach. Latin America needs to be allowed the opportunity to grow and compete in every market it can and to produce and sell, fairly, both abroad and to its own people without corrupt, unfair and dangerous market manipulation by more powerful neighbors.

That is NOT America bashing or hating. That is taking responsibility. Something, I might add, that republicans and especially Bushies, do NOT do well…or even at all.

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #219825

Jack,

This one of the few times I completely agree with you. Being a Leftist is always easier than bring Right-winger because it means the only things you have to do is complain, protest, party and pampleteer. It doesn’t really require much else except run your mouth and your country into the ground at the same time. I wish someone could point out a country where the leader dresses in a military uniform, has a ultra-socialist government, and has a thriving economy. There are none!

Chavez will eventually run his country and economy into the ground and the people will scream to breathe free. probably even more illegal immigrantion to the US from the socialist heaven of Chavezastan in the next decade.

Posted by: Danny L. McDaniel at May 8, 2007 2:36 PM
Comment #219828

Danny, your comment would have been right at home in Nazi Germany. ‘My country right or wrong, I will always support and speak well of my country regardless of its actions.’ Yep! Your comments would surely have one a place in the Nazi regime.

You see, in a democratic republic, the people are the ultimate persons that government must answer to, not the other way around. In a democratic republic, it is the duty and responsibility of the citizens to be critical and admonishing of the government when it fails to meet the expectations of the people. Not the other way around as in Nazi Germany.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 8, 2007 2:56 PM
Comment #219834

Danny,

your comment is inane. Leftists, as you call them, are making every effort to hold our nation and our government accountable for its actions. That is all. That is not America bashing or hatred of our nation it is called: TAKING RESPONISBILITY.

It is a thing which Bush and supporters are particularly BAD at.

The republicans and Bush have violated the Constitution by spying on our own citizens without warrants, committed acts of treason, lied to the US congress and to the UN, violated international treaties (most noteably UN article 1441 and the Geneva Convention), manipulated intelligence and the press, betrayed one of our own CIA operatives for political purposes, engaged in, or helped hide, child molestation by one of their own, laundered illegal campaign funds, exerted undue influence over federal attorneys and even terminated those who would not engage in the pressured corruption and on top of this whole poisonous list of facts that are now public knowledge and about which there is no longer room for debate…

Bush and company have run up more deficeit and national debt than ALL THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS IN OUR HISTORY COMBINED!!!!

Now who is it, do you claim, that is running down the country Mr. Danny L. McDaniel??????

Posted by: RGF at May 8, 2007 4:59 PM
Comment #219836

RGF…..its Ok….everything will be alright

Posted by: Dave at May 8, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #219837

What did Uribe do to deserve this? … A proposed free trade agreement with the U.S. … [as well as] friendliness to the U.S. and a broad support of U.S. policy.

Washington has spent billions on Columbia to stop its drug trade and help its economic development with little to show for it. It’s been shown that many Columbian leaders have strong ties to the same paramilitary groups we are spending billions to root out. These drug smuggling death squads are responsible for some of the most horrible massacres in Columbia. All Pelosi said was this has to stop if you want continued funding.

What is there to discuss with the leader of a country looking for a multi-billion dollar handout who refuses to ensure that money will not go drug smugglers and death squads?

If a country is a democracy, does that mean all civilized conditions for support go out the window and its leaders can literally do anything, in this case use that money to smuggle cocaine into the US, without any repercussions? We can’t even criticize that?

Posted by: Max at May 8, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #219843

I’m glad to see some posters have brought some needed context. There is room for legitimate debate on Uribe (and Columbia, in general). Presenting this mess as a result of American hating obscures everything.

Something else to consider. Jack’s article says Pelosi and Gore have treated Uribe disgracefully. Hardly. Uribe came here to lobby for drug war money. It’s Congress’ job to debate such matters. Pelosi said there are concerns about paramilitary links. For his part, Gore as a private citizen canceled an appearance at an environmental function.

I understand the purpose of this article isn’t to present a balanced view but to be propagandistic. But uninformed consent has gotten this country into terrible troubles.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 8, 2007 6:55 PM
Comment #219847

Just curious Gerrold when did Gore get re-elected to congress in either house? While it is the congress’s business to discuss such issues foriegn policy and snubbing legitimately elected heads of state aren’t in the purview of the Speaker of the House nor of a form VP and failed presidential candidate. Pelosi would do better to do her job which is in the legislature rather than consorting with our enemies. And Gore would do better at going back to making documentaries using poor science and false “evidence” then snubbing US allies. However, Gore is a private citizen and has a right to his own actions which Pelosi does not by virtue of the office she holds.

Posted by: Maldain at May 8, 2007 8:02 PM
Comment #219848

Maldain,

I suggest you read the Constitution.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 8, 2007 8:33 PM
Comment #219850

Woody

I see Bush hatred everywhere because it is so common.

Uribe was twice elected in democratic elections. In his country, his popularity is between 70-80%. He has drastically reduced murders and kidnappings. He is not a thug.

Your quote talks about allegations made by the opposition. Remember when some people accused President Clinton of the murder of Vince Foster. Allegations against politicians are very common. Gore, Pelosi and their ilk have no problem meeting known and acknowledged thugs like Assad. They meet with the Chinese, who have an atrocious human rights record. Why so self righteous now?

David

If the Dems are against free trade, let them fight that battle openly and not make the democratically elected president of an American ally collateral damage in their domestic political fight. That is exactly my point. Politics should stop at the water’s edge.

RGF

Pobre Mexico, tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos.

Your argument is like a 50 year old man blaming the HS bully for his lack of career success. I lived in Poland, which was seriously oppressed by its neighbors. Or what about Ireland that was colonized for hundreds of years. These place are doing just fine, thanks. Maybe we could bring in Korea or Taiwan. This historical oppression dog won’t hunt. The HS bully might have been nasty, but if you are still suffering from his taughts 30 years later, you might look to your own personality for answers.

Gerrold

Pelosi treated Assad with more respect. Gore has no trouble meeting Chinese leaders. Let’s be serious. If Uribe was a leftist Bush opponent, he would have not trouble with any prominent Dems.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2007 8:54 PM
Comment #219851

Pelosi would do better to do her job which is in the legislature rather than consorting with our enemies.

Pelosi’s job doesn’t preclude her from meeting with anyone.

Gore would do better at going back to making documentaries using poor science and false “evidence” then snubbing US allies.

Anything specific Gore said that was shown not to be true? Is there anyone that thinks we are not contibuting to global warming, and that it’s not real? I think I even heard Bush say it the other day…

Posted by: Max at May 8, 2007 9:03 PM
Comment #219852

Max

Her job doesn’t preclude her from meeting Assad, but she might show as much respect for a twice elected president of a friendly country as she does the a semi competent optometrist who inherited the family dictatorship.

He engaging in domestic politics via foreign policy is not so good.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2007 9:08 PM
Comment #219853

Jack, are you serious? Bush himself met the Chinese leader in the Oval Office last year.

Our biggest beef against China involves human rights. That’s generally a “leftist” concern, if we must use such broad labels. I assume you don’t consider Amesty International or most of the other human rights groups as rightwing. The notion that open trade will influence foreign governments has long been championed by those seeking additional markets. I do not necessarily think that is incorrect, but that’s generally a “right” argument.

Regardless, this whole discussion has been framed by your article in left/right terms. Look at some of the responses — a good number just parrot the self-serving cliche that the opposition is un-American. I shudder when I read such things — some of those posters may actually vote. The unthinking right is just as scary as the unthinking left.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 8, 2007 9:14 PM
Comment #219854

Gerrold

I do not have a problem with Bush meeting the Chinese, or Gore meeting them for that matter. What I object to is the shunning of a friendly Latin American leader, who was twice elected by his people and is running a government friendly to the United States. Gore has no moral justification for his behavior. He & Pelosi should not play domestic politics with important foreign policy factors.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2007 9:21 PM
Comment #219855

Pelosi seems to have an excuse, she has been busy.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/05082007/news/nationalnews/her_an_fran_treat_nationalnews_geoff_earle.htm

Posted by: andy at May 8, 2007 9:32 PM
Comment #219856

It’s Congress that appropriates drug war money, so Pelosi obviously has a say in the Columbian drug war. And it seems bizarre to say there is no moral justification in not wanting to share a stage with someone who may be or have been associated with squads of murderers, torturers, and rapists.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 8, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #219857

[Pelosi] might show as much respect for a twice elected president of a friendly country as she does the a semi competent optometrist who inherited the family dictatorship.

I see no reason to talk with a drug smuggler who wants a billion dollars to fund more of the same. On the other hand, we must have a dialogue with Arab leaders who can help us in our fight against terrorism, whether they are dictators or not.

Posted by: Max at May 8, 2007 10:06 PM
Comment #219858

Gerrold

She shared tea with Assad. We are sure that he is associated with murders, torture and rape.

Gore has no trouble with dictators who do the same on massive scales.

We have a friendly leader twice democratically elected whose opponents have made allegations.

The perspective is obviously to push the Dem domestic politics. If they held all world leaders to this standard, maybe the Dems could meet with the Prime Minister of Norway, maybe Finland. Everybody else would be suspect. Under the righteous Dem standard, they probably couldn’t meet with each other

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2007 10:12 PM
Comment #219860

Max

Free elections mean nothing to you? You are willing to take allegations on face value against a twice elected democratic leader of a friendly nation and forgive the leader of one of the world’s foremost terrorist states out of expediency? You have confidence in his good will? I guess that is the Dem policy boiled down.

BTW - Assad could help us in the war on terror if he just stopped doing it.

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2007 10:18 PM
Comment #219865

Jack, as you are well aware, Republican congressmen have met with Assad both before and after Pelosi’s visit. I know that doesn’t fit your narrative. Congress as a whole now is pushing for more engagement with middle-eastern playes in accordance with recommendations from the Iraq Study Group. Gore as a private citizen declined to share the stage with Uribe. That is a way to show concern over the allegations. Everything isn’t cookie cutter, you know. Our Iraq adventure is a complete mess; I fail to see how diplomacy can worsen the situation. The Columbian drug war, financed to the tune of billions in U.S. money, is a mess. When things aren’t working, you try other things. It’s easy to say that consistency is called for, but this is the real world, and different situations call for different approaches. Add to that fact the truth that we are a democracy that is rarely of one mind about anything.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 8, 2007 11:05 PM
Comment #219866

Oh, and BTW, wasn’t Chavez also twice elected by the people of Venezuela?

Jack,

Assad, is probably as bad as any leader in the Middle East.
Bush has refused to talk with him. Assad doesn’t appear to be suffering much from the Bush snub, and not talking to him hasn’t much changed the face of the Middle East.
Regardless of who Assad supports, nothing else has really worked.
Maybe talking will.

Posted by: Rocky at May 8, 2007 11:22 PM
Comment #219868

Gerrold

Let me repeat - I do not object to the general principle of talking to bad guys. A large number of the world’s nations are run by bad guys. We have to deal with them. What I object to is holding a friend to a much higher standard and playing domestic politics via foreign policy.

I believe an important factor of anti-Americanism is that it does not pay to be a friend, when the Dems will shaft you as a result.

Rocky

See above.

Re Chavez, yes he was elected twice, like Uribe. That is not the reason I do not like him. I do not like him because he is anti-American. I believe his policies will wreck the economy of his country and in true caudillo fashion, he will blame us. There are plenty of reasons why an American would not like Chavez. W/o reference to American domestic concerns, it is harder to figure out what an intelligent American would have against Uribe (unless he was also hostile to more than half of the world’s leaders)

Posted by: Jack at May 8, 2007 11:42 PM
Comment #219869

“… The scandal over ties between the far-right death squads and the establishment continued to widen as three more pro-government congressmen, including a senator who was Uribe’s private secretary when he was the governor of Antioquia province between 1995 and 1997, were called to testify before the Supreme Court.

Eight legislators are already in jail on charges of helping the paramilitaries launch a nationwide offensive that killed thousands in some of the worst atrocities of Colombia’s recent history.

The scandal has crept ever closer to Uribe, who was re-elected last year on promises to expand his hardline approach to battling the country’s rebels. His foreign minister resigned after her brother, a senator, was jailed in the scandal. A former regional campaign manager and hand-picked head of the secret police faces charges of collaborating with the militias.”
http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2007/04/18/uribe_denies_assisting_death_squads/

And here is a link to an interesting article on the Colombian death squads:
http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2007/01/18/testimony_details_death_squad_acts_in_colombia/

We have an adversarial relationship with Syria. We have no direct responsibility for Syrian support of terrorists. However, we cooperate closely with the Colombian government, providing it with hundreds of millions of dollars, training for its military, arms, and more. We do have a responsibility.

Uribe has been very successful combatting FARC, ratcheting down the level of violence, and disbanding the right-wing terrorist death squads of the AUC.

He deserves much credit. But many of his allies are already in jail or under investigation; and if Uribe played a prominent role in the assassinations and executions of tens of thousands, then we have a responbility to hold him accountable.

Posted by: phx8 at May 9, 2007 12:00 AM
Comment #219877

phx8, yes. It’s amazing this is a question of debate. But I guess concerns about a friend being involved with death squads means we’re holding him to a “higher standard.” But if instead he nationalized industries — well, then he’d be scum.

(And, sigh, no, I’m not defending Chavez. He strikes me as a power-mad megalomaniac using populist issues to establish authoritarian rule.)

Posted by: Gerrold at May 9, 2007 2:46 AM
Comment #219882

Honest,

It is truly vogue to hate the United States.

It’s truly vogue to hate.
The today world is way more multi-polarized than it used to be 20 years ago. Everyone is looking for an (other) enemy to define its own values set against his.

The world is complex. Always was. But there is more people aware of that than ever. It’s stressing them. They’re after manichean values to oppose to complexity. Binary, simplist and dualist values are very easy to handle, compared to reality.
They love one side of an issue, and hate the other side, while choosing to ignore that there is more than two sides and that many other issues actually interact with this issue.

The more complexity aware they will, the more multi-polarized the world will become.
Welcome to the new century.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 9, 2007 6:08 AM
Comment #219887

phx8

Talk about American arrogance. WE have the responsibility to hold the head of a Latin American state accountable. And we wonder why people “they” don’t like us.

We demand perfection from our friends and will shun them on allegation of possible connections ten years ago to an alleged incident, but our enemies get away scot free. They Syrians would be silly if they wanted to cooperate with us, since they would move into the zone of scrutiny.

This is exactly my main point. When a country becomes a U.S. “friend” the lefties accept on any and all allegation, inuendo and just plain propaganda against them. Enemies are free do what they gotta do and given a pass. No wonder we have a shrinking circle of friends.

We want to hold them all accountable in the liberal star chamber.

Posted by: Jack at May 9, 2007 8:06 AM
Comment #219890

Jack, you’re losing it. Uribe is a politician in a very rough and tumble political system; I’m sure he will survive Pelosi’s mild expression of concern. He came here to lobby Congress, and we have a system that impeaches presidents (if they are Democrats) for lying about blowjobs. I’m sure he anticipated the issues and didn’t get his feelings hurt too badly.

Real American arrogance in Latin America, Jack, takes the form of toppling governments and installing thugs.

Posted by: Gerrold at May 9, 2007 8:53 AM
Comment #219900

Jack,

I think that if you want to see how typical leftists hate the right, criticize everything that they do, and demonize anyone that has affiliations with them, you need to look no further than how the French left has responded to a conservative victory there. Cars are set ablaze and the streets are filled with left-wing rioters.
Kind of reminds me of Al Gore’s refusal to accept defeat in the 2000 Presidential race. Hatred for the right does not stop at our borders as you have pointed out. Politics is quickly turning global like everything else.

JD

Posted by: JD at May 9, 2007 10:34 AM
Comment #219905

JD,

I think that if you want to see how typical leftists hate the right, criticize everything that they do, and demonize anyone that has affiliations with them, you need to look no further than how the French left has responded to a conservative victory there. Cars are set ablaze and the streets are filled with left-wing rioters.

“Filled” is quite an abusing word to describe around ~100 to ~500 people “filling” streets and, for the most anarchists ones, burning cars and stuffs. Nothing to compare with 2005 riots or, far more massive, the anti-cpe strikes in 2006’s spring.

Anyway, indeed, it’s the first time ever one presidential election get such violent reactions, and to be fair, it was preceded by a campain where for the first time ever very personnal attacks was made. Both sides. I guess our elections are turning more and more showbiz, spin doctors and below the belt. I wonder which country does it already…
Remember it’s not the first case of riots against Sarkozy behavior and personality, though. 2005’s riots started right after he threw oil on fire by promising to “kärcher” the scums of the suburbs, enraging the young that were protesting against his harrasing security policy after 2 teens were killed while being chased by police.
Obviously, he didn’t hold on his promise to clean suburbs during the next year, BTW, as he’s not silly enough to saw the branch on which its electoral platform, unsecurity, sit.

He’s now our new president (*sigh*), but I guess some people can’t forget who’s they think he really is.
I don’t either, but as many french I’m not using violence to express my opposition to his most manichean ideas, including eugenism, hard workers vs lazy people (his was elected thanks to retired people - how ironic, the ones not working anymore - the only age which have voted in majority for him), and worship of all external sign of power, as shown the next days.

Kind of reminds me of Al Gore’s refusal to accept defeat in the 2000 Presidential race.

I didn’t knew that Al Gore did burn cars in 2000, or called for violent riots.
But I do recall him disagreeing with Supreme Court decision but accepting it anyway.

Hatred for the right does not stop at our borders as you have pointed out. Politics is quickly turning global like everything else.

Here I agree. We become a way more antagonistic, polarized world. Where are politicians pushing for openess, tolerance and diversity? Yeah, I know, that’s so as been… Instead, we could see everywhere around the world more and more politicians pushing a nationalist agenda (for their own political gain, no doubt, but the risk remains), opposing people against people, model against model.

Bye bye pragmatism. Manicheism is back. And it’s not a good news.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at May 9, 2007 12:14 PM
Comment #219923

Free elections mean nothing to you? You are willing to take allegations on face value against a twice elected democratic leader of a friendly nation and forgive the leader of one of the world’s foremost terrorist states out of expediency?

The election isn’t free if people are voting for the man that receives billions of dollars in aid, especially when we are paying. No one is asking that allegations be taken at face value. All anyone is asking is that they be looked into, not ignored. No one is forgiving Syria of anything, but it’s important a dialogue take place. Republicans and Democrats have been participating.

Now I have a question back for you. Republicans criticize Democrats funding of social programs, expressing skepticism that more funding will by itself bring improvements. Why doesn’t that apply to our foriegn funding? In this case, we are throwing money at someone to stop a drug trade who many claim is taking that money and giving it back to drug smugglers. Our billions of dollars give us no right to question this man and look into these charges?

Why aren’t you applying the same skepticism and demand for improvement to our foriegn programs that you would to our domestic? Or, to turn your post on its head, is it just that Republicans have trouble with criticism of any kind over this president’s actions? Is it that questions about foreign policy raise questions about domestic issues, and Republicans don’t want that?

Posted by: Max at May 9, 2007 3:44 PM
Comment #219946

Max

I agree that much foreign aid is wasted. I have written about that. That goes for security aid and development aid. You have a general case, however, not a specific one concerning Uribe.

I also do not have a problem with questioning where the money has gone or how it is being used. In the Uribe case, we have allegations of wrongdoing. Allegations. Pelosi & Gore have just accepted those allegations and decided that this twice elected president of a friendly Latin country is not good enough for them. On the other hand, Pelosi kissed the Assad of Syria and Gore has no trouble talking to the Chinese etc. The ONLY difference seems to be that Uribe is friendly to our (and their) president.

In the Uribe case, the preponderance of the evidence indicates that he is doing a decent job making progress against the terrorists and drug kingpins. Murders, kidnappings and drug violence are down. We really cannot hold against him that he has not yet defeated our mutual enemies.

Gerrold

This toppling governments and installing thugs has not happened for a generation. We have been on the side of democracy since the Reagan administration. Since that time, Latin America went from mostly dictatorship to virtually all Democracies. Despite the stinky leaders, I think we have to count Venezuela (for now) and Nicaragua as democracies, but certainly not Cuba. Anyway, we have toppled nobody unless you consider helping force a free election in Nicaragua in the early 1990s a toppling. I suppose our failed policy in Haiti during the Clinton Administration could be put in that category, but in that case we toppled thugs and tried to install democracy.

I am not worried about Uribe. It is the general principle that liberals go after America’s allies much harder than they do America’s foes. What if Daniel Ortega showed up? Would Pelosi shun him? There are lots of allegations and lots of actual facts too.

Posted by: Jack at May 9, 2007 8:57 PM
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