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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Watch Your Back, Mr. Chavez

President Bush's administration has been VERY tardy about recognising the real challenge, in terms of attitudinal shift, posed by the contemptuous President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

But ahead of his very lengthy trip to South America, which kicks off in Brazil's capital on Thursday, 8 March, President Bush is finally reacting and going there to strengthen these somewhat shaken pan-American bonds.

In Brasilia, President Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva and the US President will sign a "memorandum of understanding" about an already agreed-upon ethanol programme, of which of course, Brazil is already a self-sustaining world leader.





The New York Times morosely mentions that it might be a paltry exchange for the billions which Hugo Chavez is offering his Latin American brotherhood, but here's the thing.

He can offer them cheap petrol, absolutely.

He can even offer the newly left-leaning leaders of these countries, like Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina, loans at unbelievable interest rates, the better to undercut US/NGO influence in the region, and propel himself as a legitimate statesman of the Americas (unlike even his mentor, Fidel Castro, was able to do, because of his Cold War isolation).

But the trump card in South America is the lure of US-American culture, and the caché that the USA brings to the table, in terms of its unique geo-political position around the world.

Nothing that Hugo Chavez can do, can prevent people from being attracted to American culture, and national know-how.

Like all "monocultivo" societies, Chavez is at the mercy of advances in technologies, and the vagaries of nature, which would severely limit his standing due to precisely what Brazil brings to the table NOW -- an alternative fuel to petroleum.

No doubt, it has other important aspects, not lost on the State Department.

Brazil is, after all, finally a very stable democracy, who transitioned far easier to democracy because it had a less brutal military dictatorship, than many another South American country. There is ZERO chance of the military fomenting a coup d'etat in Brazil today.

-- The same cannot be said even of Venezuela...especially, Venezuela. --

It has a landmass and population size not entirely dissimilar to the United States, and as we know, like China and India, not to mention the old Soviet Union, size matters in this world where distances may have been decreased due to technology, but not its need to sustain itself propelling greater inventions and discoveries.

To whit, its industrial complex is almost entirely self-sustaining, standing alone in this respect in South America.

It also has a people whose cultural composition is not indo-American, like the rest of South America, but alongside Cuba, shares with the US a predominantly white/black influence.

Their middle-class has increased in leaps and bounds, ever since the dedication to free-market economy. And it is a very literate middle-class, moreover, much more similar to that of the US, than China or India can be by virtue of a shared European background.

So, the visit to Brazil by President Bush is well-chosen, a partnership of burgeoning equals.

But as I have mentioned in the past, Hugo Chavez has at his disposal a copy of Fidel Castro's "How to Deal with Gringos Hijoputas 101".

He's planning a whirlwind tour to COINCIDE with Mr. Bush's South American visits.

(Of course, on Monday he also expounded that he is on the lookout for 'assassination plots' naming US Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, as chief suspect in this "CIA-led" conspiracy to off him. What an utter, contemptible buffoon)

But as Chavez does so, he will be offering the present, but also the past in terms of renewable resources, and a vision of tomorrow.





Brazil, as the famous saying goes, is where the future is.

And thank God, the USA is starting to wake up to that all-important fact.

Labels: ,

13 Comments:

  • While, at present, there is a future with ethanol, and Brazil certainly has developed an infrastructure for it, I'm not sure it won't be surpassed by a variety of other technologies in the near-to-mid term.
    More to the point, I don't think just ethanol has a long term political future, like crude has.

    My worry with Brazil is that it will always represent the future, that its promise will always just be on the cusp of being fulfilled, but won't 'turn the corner' like, say, a South Korea. I wonder if the culture and power structures will change enough to see the awesome growth the country should have!

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Mar 06, 05:52:00 am GMT-5  

  • Chavez is the comic, farcial half of "Oil Ticks: The Next Generation".

    The sinister half should be obvious.

    By Blogger JSU, at Tue Mar 06, 12:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • While, at present, there is a future with ethanol, and Brazil certainly has developed an infrastructure for it, I'm not sure it won't be surpassed by a variety of other technologies in the near-to-mid term.

    I know what you mean...and though the US can speed up this process internally, do you really think there is a viable attitude in the US for those infamous "grasses" fuels the President mentions, interminably, during his States of the Union addresses?

    No, at least ethanol is a fait-accompli, not a proposed wonderfuel (which however, will come one day).

    More to the point, I don't think just ethanol has a long term political future, like crude has.

    We have to fight environmentalists to tap the reserves of crude oil that Alaska might have, Ron.

    Crude may have a political long-term future, say 50 years, but that's it.

    Better to undercut that now, and develop entirely new technologies.

    However, I am reminded that when Britain switched over from their older battleships to HMS Dreadnought, other nations were able to order the same Dreadnought-class of battleship, thus effectively reducing the superiority of the Royal Navy -- which went quite unperceived at the time.

    If we level the playing fields with alternate fuel transport, other nations would be at the same level the US then would be, and possibly at a greater advantage (Japan, Korea, possibly China).

    BUT if we don't, then the immediate ascendancy of the Middle East, will forever dominate in terms of petroleum production.

    It's very tricky.

    My worry with Brazil is that it will always represent the future, that its promise will always just be on the cusp of being fulfilled, but won't 'turn the corner' like, say, a South Korea. I wonder if the culture and power structures will change enough to see the awesome growth the country should have!

    Very well said.

    This is an argument, and a lament often made about Brazil, even by Brazilians who are not unaware of this "Brasil é o futuro, e sempre o será..." aspect of their unfulfilled promise.

    Culturally and politcally, Brazil is nearly a mini-USA.

    It has always been close, has modeled their constitutions after the USA, been in tune with educational standards for its middle-classes, etc.

    But ever since 1990, this process has accelerated itself exponentially.

    Brazilian society is nearly unrecognisable from 1945 to 2007.

    It could be another country ENTIRELY.

    That cannot be said even of the USA.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Mar 06, 02:43:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Chavez is the comic, farcial half of "Oil Ticks: The Next Generation".

    The sinister half should be obvious.


    You mean...

    Sigh.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Mar 06, 02:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Brazilian society is nearly unrecognisable from 1945 to 2007.

    It could be another country ENTIRELY.

    That cannot be said even of the USA.


    I certainly agree with this! This could be a useful, interesting series of posts! "Brazil: '40's to '50's, '50's to '60's, etc." It might even help us USA gringos a trick or two...

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Mar 06, 03:49:00 pm GMT-5  

  • However, I am reminded that when Britain switched over from their older battleships to HMS Dreadnought, other nations were able to order the same Dreadnought-class of battleship, thus effectively reducing the superiority of the Royal Navy -- which went quite unperceived at the time.

    Speaking of this, did you see Admiral Jellicoe's son George just passed away?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Jellicoe%2C_2nd_Earl_Jellicoe

    Interesting bugger!

    By Blogger Ron, at Tue Mar 06, 03:52:00 pm GMT-5  

  • "You mean..."

    No, that's old-school.

    Polonium poisoning is the new thing.

    By Blogger JSU, at Tue Mar 06, 09:50:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I certainly agree with this! This could be a useful, interesting series of posts! "Brazil: '40's to '50's, '50's to '60's, etc." It might even help us USA gringos a trick or two...

    Hey! Good idea...that's just something that I could do, though I'd start in the "Integralist" era of Getulio Vargas of the 1930s -- the rise of the real, modern Brazil.

    Might take a few days, though. Look how long my surprise has been taking for me to compose.

    But I will! And H/T you, Ron. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Mar 07, 12:24:00 am GMT-5  

  • Speaking of this, did you see Admiral Jellicoe's son George just passed away?

    My God. He couldn't have still have been alive. His father died ages and ages ago. Ah well.

    You know who was a dear friend of his? Princess Cecilie of Prussia, the daughter of the Crown Prince.

    Well, she was friends with his mother, but they surely must've had interesting conversations...

    Interesting bugger!

    Erm, Ron, that's not as benign in British English as it must be in American English. In fact, it's quite out rude, capiche? ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Mar 07, 12:26:00 am GMT-5  


  • No, that's old-school.

    Polonium poisoning is the new thing.


    Wait, wait, sorry. If not Ahmeninejad, then you mean Putin?

    Or just the methodology? Or a sneaky allusion to how old masters do it, and it just happens to be the old masters still doing it...not us?

    You're more elegantly obscure than even I!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Mar 07, 12:28:00 am GMT-5  

  • George Jellicoe was not only still alive, but still in the House of Lords, dating back to '35!

    Interesting bugger!

    Erm, Ron, that's not as benign in British English as it must be in American English. In fact, it's quite out rude, capiche? ;)


    M'Bad! I figure if the Danes can have a candy named 'Fart', I can misplace a bugger or two...with appropriate apologies!

    By Blogger Ron, at Wed Mar 07, 01:45:00 am GMT-5  

  • Chavez and Sheehan! What a lovely couple! Reminds me of the line from the Beatles: "Have you seen the little piggies ...?"

    By Blogger benning, at Thu Mar 08, 12:05:00 pm GMT-5  

  • As everyone knows, Brazilians are the most beautiful people in the world! ;-)

    As for Sr. Chavez, one wonders why the government of Argentina thinks it a good idea to allow him inside their country in the first place. As a general rule, heads of state do not wander around the world, dropping in here and there uninvited. Strange.

    By Blogger Internet Ronin, at Thu Mar 08, 09:54:00 pm GMT-5  

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