Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meanwhile, In South America

The United States recently completed an agreement with Columbia for the use of military bases in the nation; and agreement which includes diplomatic immunity for all civilian and military personnel while anywhere in Columbia. The news item doesn’t say so, but this sounds like one of our typical “status of forces agreements” to me.

Otherwise known as a military occupation, which is what the Colombian people seem to think it is. They were not advised, apparently, that the deal was pending and didn’t know about it until it was a done deal. They were somewhat less than thrilled.

The purpose, according to a US spokesman quoted by Bloomberg, was to “strengthen and increase ties with countries in the region.”

That doesn’t seem to be working out very well. Venezuela, it turns out, is preparing for war based on the conclusion that having the United States occupying military bases in the neighboring country is not a good sign.

This is, of course, Hugo Chavez, so his view of our intentions needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Maybe an entire pannikin of salt.

Still, it seems odd to feel that we can “strengthen and increase ties” by placing military forces in the immediate vicinity of the area with which we are trying to improve relations. I would think that diplomatic means would be a bit more effective for that purpose, and that adding military forces would have something of the opposite effect.

I guess that’s why I’m not running our government.

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