Over a hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt sent the United States Atlantic Fleet under Admiral George Dewey into the Caribbean. He feared that the presence of a debt collecting European fleet off the coast of Venezuela might destabilize the entire region and produce dire consequences for America. Now it is Venezuela that has emerged as the threat.
In the past several months, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has been on a shopping spree. He bought over $2 billion worth of weapons from Russia. Certainly these arms are inferior to American materials, but his immediate target is not our country, but likely his neighbor Colombia. By building his military strength, Chavez intends to transform his country into a regional power that will challenge American political and ideological influence. Russia has been only too happy to extend Chavez almost unlimited credit to purchase these materials.
In the past few days, Chavez has massed tanks on the border of Colombia and almost promised war with our most solid ally in the region. He threatens to launch an invasion to back the faltering left wing guerilla/bandit movement known as FARC.
Where is the United States? This is an example of the evil reaped by Obama's Apology Tour. Tens of thousands will die if Venezuela invades Colombia. If this happens, the blame lies partially at the feet of the White House. Obama created a perception of weakness and Chavez intends to exploit it. He either wants Obama to broker a Munich type deal for "peace in our time" or will invade to show the world that America is impotent against him.
Obama needs to deploy the United States Navy to the shores of Venezuela immediately. We also need to publicly move strategic bombers to southern US bases. This actually in military terms makes no difference, but it does rattle the sabre. We need commit no ground troops, but we can demolish Venezuelan military assets from the air with little threat to our own personnel. This will do a great deal to restore our credibility in the world as a power that will use strength to enforce peace. It also mimics John F. Kennedy's successful moves in forcing missiles out of Cuba without an actual fight in the early 1960s. If we make Chavez understand that his behavior is intolerable, he will back down. Chavez is a classic bully. Man up and face him and he will back down.
If not, we are seeing the emergence of the next Hitler right here near our shores. Chavez can destabilize much of Latin America if we do not act to protect Colombia. American weakness will only encourage weak nations in the region to defect to his side for their own protection.
Theodore Roosevelt loved the African phrase "Speak softly and carry a big stick." The current president of African extraction has spoken loudly about how much he dislikes his country's stand for freedom. Now he must use the "big stick" or he will allow a very serious problem to emerge.