hugo chávez: Harmless or a menace to the region?

Original discussion taken from the thread: Mexican War on drugs. Because it seemed it was going off-topic I am creating a new thread on the subject. I took the last 2 posts from that other threads so I can reply here.

Dr Grim, we actually *use pot* as a medical treatment in many places in the States, so your fearmongering regarding marijuana seems out of date. I'd be happy to explore this facet in more depth in its own thread.

Additionally, this has to be mentioned every time the idea of "not buying oil from that one guy" comes up, so I'll do it: oil is a global market. If America shifts all its purchases to other places, it does not change the price, nor does it mean Venezuela (this is also true for Iran) suddenly can't sell its oil. And there's dozens of reasons why people don't want the Keystone Project anyway. I'd also be happy to explore this facet in more depth in its own thread.

1) Not many places in the world can refine venezuelean oil. It is too heavy and contains lots of sulfur and other unwanted components. The closest facility is in the US, the other one in Russia if memory serves me right. So yeah, it matters if the US stop buying because shipping tankers to Russia means being paid with a 30+ days delay. It kills cash flow and that would have been terrible in an election year. Too late for that now.

2) There is a big difference between using marihuana as drug for medical purposes and allowing it to be freely used and available to the public in general. Cocaine is also used for medical purposes but that doesn't mean we should allow people to use it as they please. Pot can have very negative effects on people and how often it is used. How would the state deal with people who abuse such substances or die to their side-effects or provoke the deaths of third parties? PotFest sounds like SUING-FEST out of a sudden. Long term effects include depression and schizophrenia not to mention addiction. To me your argument seems moot and out of place but as you said, it's a discussion for its own topic which I will not be starting or continuing to discuss.

Again, how are we going to replace 13% of our daily oil imports if we stop trading with Venezuela?

And you're also overlooking the fact that we have a long history of dealing with governments that support the drug trade. Just look at Panama and Noriega. We supported him for three decades before deciding he had outlived his usefulness. We're currently propping up the Afghan government with full knowledge that they're being funded by the opium trade, which we've told our troops to turn a blind eye to.

Venezuela, Panama and Afghanistan are 3 different beasts. Venezuela is an oil exporter and doesn't qualify as a seriously poor country (well, maybe chávez has been working on that real hard). Who else in the region (besides Colombia) is so hardly bent on drug trafficking? At this point I expect you to call your congressman and ask him to drop all efforts to stop Venezuela and Colombia since nothing can be done. Let us know how it goes.

Media backlash. Make people talk about it, certain chávez allies tread on thin ice in their countries. Without key allies in international forums in America, chávez cash flow and influence would be severely undermined. The UN is just a tribune with lots of cameras, I know all too well China and Russia won't move a finger for the reasons you already mentioned.

A couple of things. First, you need to explain to me how you will be able to eliminate ELN and FARC without invading Venezuela. You've repeatedly said that it should be handled diplomatically and without the need for the US Marines to invade, but I seriously doubt there's a diplomatic solution. Even if the UN declared Venezuela a rogue state and slapped it with sanctions, it would take years and years for them to have any noticeable effect (if then). Iraq survived more than a decade of rigorous sanctions.

Second, we've been killing "top al Qaeda leaders" for over a decade now and they always seem to be replaced. The same would be true for ELN and FARC. Again, if you want to "kill them in a fast sequence" you are talking about direct military intervention, which is something that we as a nation are looking to get out of, not into.

Hell, we have the same exact problem in Afghanistan that Colombia is facing because the folks we're fighting there are protected by the Pakistani government. We've failed to solve that problem when we have more than a hundred thousand US troops in country and we're spending $10 billion a month there. What makes you think it would be any different in Venezuela?

Third, for the ELN and FARC to be truly eliminated, the current Venezuelan government would have to be taken down and replaced. Short of Venezuelans doing that themselves, it would require a massive military intervention. And that would mean that US troops would have to do it. And there's a whole loads of issues around that: Who's going to pay for it? Who's going to replace Chavez? How long will our troops have to be there?

We've had our experience with regime change in Iraq and I don't think we're anxious to repeat the experience anytime soon.

a) Colombian's government is doing a fine job hunting FARC and ELN. No need for US Marines. What is needed to make sure is that FARC and ELN rebels cannot safely flee to Venezuela when pushed to the border or if they cross it, that they will be fought by the venezuelean's army. It's not that hard to understand, really.

b) al-qaeda, FARC and ELN are not the same. You're mistakenly mixing 2 different profiles and making pointless analogies. al-qaeda fights to impose its religious interpretation of the Coran and to expel non arab troops from what they consider occupied territories. Those people are fanatics and get recruits from a variety of islamist countries. al-qaeda is also not confined to a single country but spread amongst multiple areas, they also don't have the same level of organization as FARC and ELN troops. FARC and ELN are marxist-leninist guerrillas with an outdated ideology whose purpose is to take over Colombia and impose an extreme-left government in order to fight american imperialism. The latter can be morally broken and it has been working in the last few years since the colombian's government is offering sentence cuts to whoever surrenders willingly. Also, FARC and ELN numbers haven't been growing in the last years, it hovers around 7500 and might be lower than that. Difficult to say because chávez is helping them, but without his help they'd be either dead or negotiating already, 14 years of sympathy go a long way.

c) I already told you, FARC and ELN leads are not easy to replace. The guys from the Secretariado (FARC leads) haven't been. They just elect the next leader from who is still alive from that elite group. It takes time to build trust and confidence to lead that small army in the jungle and rebels are not zealots. Some rebels have been fighting for over 20 years and they are not leaders or promoted to the top ranks.

d) You must be anxious to send marines to Venezuela because you keep mentioning it. I never said anything of the like so please stop bringing that up. No Marines in Venezuela. I don't see what good it would do but the bad is obvious.

I doubt we'd sell AWACs to Colombia considering we've kept that technology very close to our vest. That doesn't mean Colombia couldn't buy the technology from another sources, but that's not really our problem. If Colombia needs that equipment to wage its counter-terrorism operations then its government should acquire it. It shouldn't wait for the US to give it to them or rely on them to fly the reconnaissance missions its military needs.

Beyond that, it's not really up to the US to provide the Colombian government with all this additional military support. Technically, we'd only be concerned about using AWACs information to track and intercept drug shipments. Troop movements would not be our concern.

Colombia buys all its military equipment from the US and the US like it that way. Colombia is doing great efforts to improve its economy, I don't blame them for not being able to afford multi-million satellites and spy planes to fight drugs the US so rabidly demand. I think the US GVT disagrees with your assessment on how cooperation should work anyways. When the Manta base in Ecuador was shut down because the agreement was not renewed it meant the US area to patrol shrunk even more. And I really disagree, troop movements on either side of the border matter, a great deal. As I already explained to you rebels escort drug shipments and protect some of the wharves used to build the narco subs (not to mention illegal runways). When 10 guys with guns take a stroll through the colombian countryside it's already a problem but when columns of 300 are doing it you better pay attention to where they're going. Also, FARC have hostages they torture then exchange for money or use as leverage, and I think some were americans ( I don't know if they still hold any atm) . You want to know at all time where those guys are taken to.

Venezuela is far down the list of US priorities right now. We're still trying to get ourselves out of what we got into after 9/11. Things like saying that Iran will give FARC nuclear capabilities are simply fantasies at this point and fantasies designed to get us to use force against Venezuela. We already did that in Iraq and it didn't go well for us.

You're not seeing the whole thing here: Venezuela is helping Syria and Iran bypass sanctions (Some chávez secretaries have strong ties to the syrian regime). Who's to say Venezuela will not help some terrorist organization in the middle east get hold of a mini nuke or pieces or whatever? Who's to say chávez will not help FARC get a hold on surface to air missiles? You know what 5 billion dollars in russian weaponry mean? And regarding the priority yeah, I noticed.

I've already said legalization would be difficult, but the only way to actually solve the issue of the drug trade is to address demand. Again, this discussion started with me saying that nearly 50 years of the US focusing on the supply side of the drug trade hasn't had any results. Drugs are more readily available and cheaper now than they were.

The reality is that we cannot cut off the supply of drugs. Even with our support, the Colombian government has not been able to reduce the amount of cocaine it produces. In fact, the amount of cocaine it produces has gone steadily up. It's the same in every country throughout the region.

Not true. Cocaine production in Colombia has decreased 15 percent in 2010. And since 2 years prior to that date it has kept decreasing according to UNODC reports. Production will never be fully exterminated but it can be greatly reduced. Because of Mexico's GVT pressure the drug business is moving to center america but the final destination of the product is the same.

I simply don't understand why you think that the elimination of the ELN, FARC, or even Chavez would change that dynamic. As long as people are willing to pay for illicit drugs, other people will supply them. The names of the players might change, but the underlying problem would still exist.

I already explained it at length. I am starting to think you are not reading what I type or that my english is not good enough. At any rate, have a nice day.

Who are you quoting?

garion333 wrote:

Who are you quoting?

The quote function doesn't work well for me, sorry It's Seth andOG_slinger, I believe?) It's from that other thread on Mexican Drug War.

DSGamer wrote:
DR GRiM wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Who are you quoting?

The quote function doesn't work well for me, sorry It's Seth andOG_slinger, I believe?) It's from that other thread on Mexican Drug War.

I believe it's not working for you because you're new. I don't remember how that works exactly, but newbies are restricted from quoting, I believe, to prevent just this situation. Someone showing up on the message board out of the blue and hitting the ground running in contentious arguments.

It's to prevent spammers, BBCode is disabled for a short period of time to prevent them from posting links and such.

Doesn't he have like terminal cancer or something? I've heard he wasn't much of a factor lately

It might be useful to break the opening post into a paragraph or two and put the rest of the text into a regular post, otherwise every new page will include the giant wall of text.

Regarding the oil issue, Venezuela is a major supplier of home heating oil to the Northeast states. It also provides subsidized fuel each year to some low-income residents here. So whatever we do with Venezuelan oil would also cause hardship at home.

That's probably not all that relevant to the drug issue, but I tossed it out there anyway.

DSGamer wrote:
DR GRiM wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Who are you quoting?

The quote function doesn't work well for me, sorry It's Seth andOG_slinger, I believe?) It's from that other thread on Mexican Drug War.

I believe it's not working for you because you're new. I don't remember how that works exactly, but newbies are restricted from quoting, I believe, to prevent just this situation. Someone showing up on the message board out of the blue and hitting the ground running in contentious arguments.

I think it's that all code is turned off so someone doesn't insert a link to "new Borderlands trailer" and people wind up on a terrible site like a malware infested porn portal or the kitty kat dance page.

edit: and look! Tannhausered by muttonchop! So now you know what that means, too!

I'm reading what you're writing, but I don't agree with your conclusions. Namely that the drug war is something we should escalate. The US is undergoing a prescription drug epidemic right now. Opiates, Xanax even bath salts for heaven's sake. In other words, we have a mental health problem. We have a treatment problem. We have an addiction problem. Spending trillions of dollars to kill innocent civilians and bring war to other nations won't solve anything. It hasn't solved anything. It's only escalated things to the point where Mexico is practically at a state of civil war. Legalizing drugs would take power away from the cartels and allow the US to refocus on health care. If you can't solve the supply problem even with trillions of dollars and countless deaths is it really that big of a risk to take that money and put it towards treatment instead?

Also, your marijuana addiction stuff sounds like it's out of the 1950s. Most people have tried marijuana and alcohol or cigarettes. Most people aren't addicted to any of those things. Addiction is a mental health problem, typically. It's not a natural consequence of taking one puff of pot.

DR GRiM wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Who are you quoting?

The quote function doesn't work well for me, sorry It's Seth andOG_slinger, I believe?) It's from that other thread on Mexican Drug War.

I believe it's not working for you because you're new. I don't remember how that works exactly, but newbies are restricted from quoting, I believe, to prevent just this situation. Someone showing up on the message board out of the blue and hitting the ground running in contentious arguments.

EDIT: By the way, the title of this thread is ridiculous. He's either completely harmless or he's Hitler.

IMAGE(https://dl.dropbox.com/u/11236522/hugo.jpg)

The drug thing would need a thread of its own. Feel free to create it if you want. It could be interesting to read on drug legalization plans.

DR GRiM wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Who are you quoting?

The quote function doesn't work well for me, sorry It's Seth andOG_slinger, I believe?) It's from that other thread on Mexican Drug War.

Yeah, I know, but even if the tags were working for you (you dirty Grinder ;)) you're missing people's names. Meaning it should look like this (minus the extra spaces):

[ quote = Seth ] blah blah blah [ /quote ]

Which would then look like this:

Seth wrote:

blah blah blah

I just wanted to know who it was you were quoting. Moving on.

Mex wrote:

Doesn't he have like terminal cancer or something? I've heard he wasn't much of a factor lately

This is an unknown atm. It's certain he has something. No one beefs up on steroids for kicks. Some non-official sources claim it is incurable cancer indeed and that he's going through a typical boost phase before going into what they call remission (compromise of organs due to cancerous tissue growth). Maybe he's got something minor and he's trying to make it look like cancer so he can say he cheated death. It's been kept a secret real tight and what's floating around is that he wants to win the elections and try to get his vice-president to rule but that's not legally feasible. According to the law, the vice can only stay in power if the president is missing 2 years or less from scheduled elections otherwise he has to schedule them within 30 days. But it's not like chávez and his goons are known to uphold the law, so you never know.

Wait, so you want to be able to make your point about Pot, but immediately state that no further discussion can take place on your point?

DSGamer wrote:

I'm reading what you're writing, but I don't agree with your conclusions. Namely that the drug war is something we should escalate. The US is undergoing a prescription drug epidemic right now. Opiates, Xanax even bath salts for heaven's sake. In other words, we have a mental health problem. We have a treatment problem. We have an addiction problem. Spending trillions of dollars to kill innocent civilians and bring war to other nations won't solve anything. It hasn't solved anything. It's only escalated things to the point where Mexico is practically at a state of civil war. Legalizing drugs would take power away from the cartels and allow the US to refocus on health care. If you can't solve the supply problem even with trillions of dollars and countless deaths is it really that big of a risk to take that money and put it towards treatment instead?

Also, your marijuana addiction stuff sounds like it's out of the 1950s. Most people have tried marijuana and alcohol or cigarettes. Most people aren't addicted to any of those things. Addiction is a mental health problem, typically. It's not a natural consequence of taking one puff of pot.

DR GRiM wrote:
garion333 wrote:

Who are you quoting?

The quote function doesn't work well for me, sorry It's Seth andOG_slinger, I believe?) It's from that other thread on Mexican Drug War.

I believe it's not working for you because you're new. I don't remember how that works exactly, but newbies are restricted from quoting, I believe, to prevent just this situation. Someone showing up on the message board out of the blue and hitting the ground running in contentious arguments.

EDIT: By the way, the title of this thread is ridiculous. He's either completely harmless or he's Hitler.

IMAGE(https://dl.dropbox.com/u/11236522/hugo.jpg)

English is not my first language but I appreciate your brutally frank input. I can always edit it and change it to something more to your liking. Give me something good.

Regarding the Hitler analogy, let me tell you it's surfacing everytime more. chávez is highly antisemitic and a proven fascist. Recently the case was brought to the international court of law and is being studied to be admitted. There is solid evidence that chávez has violated human rights of a lot of people in different manners by using the army, political police and justice since 1998. If this guy doesn't die of cancer it is very likely he will visit The Hague and your kitty won't feel so safe.

DR GRiM wrote:
Mex wrote:

Doesn't he have like terminal cancer or something? I've heard he wasn't much of a factor lately

This is an unknown atm.

I thought he died and was brought back?

Wired wrote:

Wait, so you want to be able to make your point about Pot, but immediately state that no further discussion can take place on your point?

My reply to Seth was from the other thread. As it's starting to go off-topic here I am suggesting someone to open a new thread on drug legalization. I am not running away at all, just saying if someone wants to take the initiative it's fine. My original claim is that Venezuela has to be taken seriously in the drug war. Drug legalization was brought in later in that other thread, it's not really what I am trying to discuss here. Now let's chill, please.

DR GRiM wrote:
Wired wrote:

Wait, so you want to be able to make your point about Pot, but immediately state that no further discussion can take place on your point?

My reply to Seth was from the other thread. As it's starting to go off-topic here I am suggesting someone to open a new thread on drug legalization. I am not running away at all, just saying if someone wants to take the initiative it's fine. My original claim is that Venezuela has to be taken seriously in the drug war. Drug legalization was brought in later in that other thread, it's not really what I am trying to discuss here. Now let's chill, please.

I like this better than the way you had it before you edited it, but it's still coming off an condescending.

As did this:

To me your argument seems moot and out of place but as you said, it's a discussion for its own topic which I will not be starting or continuing to discuss.

Which I think was Wired's point.

ranalin wrote:
DR GRiM wrote:
Mex wrote:

Doesn't he have like terminal cancer or something? I've heard he wasn't much of a factor lately

This is an unknown atm.

I thought he died and was brought back?

Is this a known unknown, or an unknown unknown?

Santos is the Colombian president.

What I hope is that Hugo Chávez doesn’t die, because at this moment he is a factor of stability. What would hurt Colombia and the whole region more is an unstable Venezuela.

Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/04/12/col...

http://world.time.com/2012/04/12/col...

I think Santos as opposed to Uribe to be a force of stability to the region. Less tough guy rhetoric and more action and diplomacy.

Here is Santos's take on FARC and other criminal groups.

Yet there are big concerns that Colombia’s hard-won security is backsliding: the country’s Marxist guerrillas, the Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC, are regrouping and making fresh attacks and new bandas criminales are expanding.

I’ll be the first to recognize that we are winning but we have not won yet. We have a long way to go still. The FARC is still active, but they’re weaker and weaker, that’s why they are now [focused] on terrorist acts [to] show the country and the world that they are still alive. That’s what they want — but that’s a demonstration of their weakness. The bandas are a direct inheritance from the [right-wing, now disbanded] paramilitary groups that [like the FARC] were also dedicated to drug trafficking. With them there is no room for negotiations. They are criminals, and we will be as effective against them as we were in dismantling Colombia’s once impenetrable, all-powerful drug cartels.

Read more: http://world.time.com/2012/04/12/col...

PS - I haven't been paying attention that much to Venezuela or Colombia for a while.

DR GRiM wrote:

a) Colombian's government is doing a fine job hunting FARC and ELN. No need for US Marines. What is needed to make sure is that FARC and ELN rebels cannot safely flee to Venezuela when pushed to the border or if they cross it, that they will be fought by the venezuelean's army. It's not that hard to understand, really.

And *why* has the Colombian government been doing a fine job hunting FARC and ELN? Because we've dumped $7 billion into Colombia over the past decade, most of which was military aid.

You're still not addressing the central question of how do you get the Venezuelan government to fight the rebels when, as you've repeatedly pointed out, they are currently supporting the rebels.

That can only change if Chavez is removed from power and the entire government is purged. I just don't see that happening in Venezuela, even with sanctions and media attention. After all, sanctions and media attention did not remove Saddam Hussein from power, nor did they take down Kim Jung Il, Muammar Gaddafi, or any number of leaders of corrupt regimes.

The only thing that's been proven to get people out of power is either a CIA-back coup or direct military intervention (and the CIA hasn't had a successful coup in decades).

I really don't see how you can't understand that. Chavez isn't going anywhere unless he is forced from power and that can only happen with direct military intervention.

And even if he is removed, you have absolutely no guarantee that the new government won't continue to support the FARC and ELN as they are wonderful (and cheap) ways to check Colombia's ambitions in the region.

DR GRiM wrote:

al-qaeda, FARC and ELN are not the same. You're mistakenly mixing 2 different profiles and making pointless analogies. al-qaeda fights to impose its religious interpretation of the Coran and to expel non arab troops from what they consider occupied territories. Those people are fanatics and get recruits from a variety of islamist countries. al-qaeda is also not confined to a single country but spread amongst multiple areas, they also don't have the same level of organization as FARC and ELN troops. FARC and ELN are marxist-leninist guerrillas with an outdated ideology whose purpose is to take over Colombia and impose an extreme-left government in order to fight american imperialism. The latter can be morally broken and it has been working in the last few years since the colombian's government is offering sentence cuts to whoever surrenders willingly. Also, FARC and ELN numbers haven't been growing in the last years, it hovers around 7500 and might be lower than that. Difficult to say because chávez is helping them, but without his help they'd be either dead or negotiating already, 14 years of sympathy go a long way.

I think I might have been unclear on my comparisons.

What's happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan is similar to what's happening in Venezuela and Colombia because in each case you have a rebel/terrorist group being supported by a national government.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban (who supported AQ) were created and funded by the Pakistani equivalent of the CIA. Pakistan did that because they wanted to influence what was happening in Afghanistan and they succeeded.

Now that America is involved in Afghanistan and we are trying to support the new Afghan government, we are running into the same problems faced by the Colombians: we can root out and kill the Taliban and AQ fighters in Afghanistan, but they can always slip across the border into Pakistan where they are safe. There they are either directly protected by the Pakistan government and military or indirectly protected by entering areas of Pakistan that the government has no direct control over and where the fighters have support from family and clans.

We haven't found a solution to that problem in the ten years we've been in Afghanistan. Unlike Colombia, we actually have a close relationship the country providing sanctuary to the people we're chasing as our government showers Pakistan with billions in aid. And even with all that diplomatic and financial pressure, we haven't been successful at getting the Pakistani government to crush the Taliban and AQ within their borders. And they won't ever do that because they don't want to.

That is essentially the same thing happening between Colombia and Venezuela. The Colombian government is being attacked by a rebel/terrorist group that is being funded in part by the Venezuelan government. The Venezuelan government is also protecting those groups by using it's sovereign borders as a safety zone behind which the groups can reorganize and resupply. Until the Venezuelan government changes, that support isn't going away.

DR GRiM wrote:

I already told you, FARC and ELN leads are not easy to replace. The guys from the Secretariado (FARC leads) haven't been. They just elect the next leader from who is still alive from that elite group. It takes time to build trust and confidence to lead that small army in the jungle and rebels are not zealots. Some rebels have been fighting for over 20 years and they are not leaders or promoted to the top ranks.

See, this is confusing to me. Either FARC and ELN represent a clear and present danger to the government of Colombia that demands US action or they are slowly dying relics of Cold War ideologies. They can't be both.

If they are just a tiny force of 7,500 rebels that is getting smaller every year then they really aren't the US's problem. They are the problem of the Colombian government and, maybe, the problem of OAS, but certainly not the US.

DR GRiM wrote:

d) You must be anxious to send marines to Venezuela because you keep mentioning it. I never said anything of the like so please stop bringing that up. No Marines in Venezuela. I don't see what good it would do but the bad is obvious.

I don't want any US military forces deployed in the area. As far as I'm concerned, this is none of our business as it's a conflict between Colombia and Venezuela. The only tangential involvement we have is that part of FARC's and ELN's funding comes from the drug trade (and that would mean that the EU is just as involved as we are since they're also heavily involved the consumption of drugs).

I continually bring it up, though, because you've repeatedly failed to explain how you would overthrow Chavez and clean up his government only using diplomatic means. You've also failed to explain how you would track down and eradicate the FARC and the ELN in Venezuelan territory without first getting rid of Chavez.

As I've pointed out, the only thing that has been shown to work when it comes to regime change is direct military intervention. That's why I continually bring the Marines up.

If you want Chavez out and out soon, the only way that's going to happen is if someone kicks him out. That means a military solution as sanctions and media attention aren't going to do anything.

And since you seem to be relying on the US to lead the charge diplomatically, you likely want us to lead the charge militarily. After all, you expect the American military to provide the Colombian military with real-time intelligence about rebel troop movements so it's a natural assumption that you would want us involved when it comes to the shooting.

DR GRiM wrote:

Colombia buys all its military equipment from the US and the US like it that way. Colombia is doing great efforts to improve its economy, I don't blame them for not being able to afford multi-million satellites and spy planes to fight drugs the US so rabidly demand. I think the US GVT disagrees with your assessment on how cooperation should work anyways. When the Manta base in Ecuador was shut down because the agreement was not renewed it meant the US area to patrol shrunk even more. And I really disagree, troop movements on either side of the border matter, a great deal. As I already explained to you rebels escort drug shipments and protect some of the wharves used to build the narco subs (not to mention illegal runways). When 10 guys with guns take a stroll through the colombian countryside it's already a problem but when columns of 300 are doing it you better pay attention to where they're going. Also, FARC have hostages they torture then exchange for money or use as leverage, and I think some were americans ( I don't know if they still hold any atm) . You want to know at all time where those guys are taken to.

Our government likes to sell weapons to a lot of countries. It's why we're the number one exporter of weapons in the world, by far. We're still not going to sell AWACs to Colombia even if they could afford them.

I don't think the US government disagrees with my assessment on cooperation because the conflict between Colombia and Venezuela was truly was a priority we would bring to bear all the political, diplomatic, financial, and military pressure we could in the region to get our way. But we haven't.

Now compare that to what we did in response to 9/11. There we really did pull out all the stops and it shows. We have military bases in every stan country because it's considered a national priority.

DR GRiM wrote:

You're not seeing the whole thing here: Venezuela is helping Syria and Iran bypass sanctions (Some chávez secretaries have strong ties to the syrian regime). Who's to say Venezuela will not help some terrorist organization in the middle east get hold of a mini nuke or pieces or whatever? Who's to say chávez will not help FARC get a hold on surface to air missiles? You know what 5 billion dollars in russian weaponry mean? And regarding the priority yeah, I noticed.

I think I am. Venezuela isn't the center of a global terrorist conspiracy. It's obviously led by someone you don't care for, but that doesn't make it America's public enemy #1.

Also, there are no UN sanctions against Syria because Russia and China won't vote for them so Chavez's government can't be helping the Syrian government bypass sanctions that don't exist.

You don't seem to understand the situation when it comes to the nuclear threat, either. We invaded Iraq largely based on the bogus intelligence that they were developing WMDs, specifically nukes and some biological weapons. Neither proved to be remotely true.

As a country, we squandered our international reputation, at least a trillion dollars and counting, thousands of American lives, and tens of thousands of Iraqi lives chasing that lie. We directly caused a near genocide within Iraq and inflamed sectarian tensions throughout the entire region. Domestically, it polarized the country to such a degree that it will likely take decades for us to deal with it.

What that means for claims that Venezuela will help the FARC get nukes or the materials for dirty bombs is that the burden of proof has gone through the roof for us. We're not going to jump at a tenuous claim about a loose nuke because we've been burned already.

Not only that, but more than two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union and several other countries developing nuclear weapons (several of which might be friendly to terrorist groups), we've yet to see nuclear weapons or materials transferred to a terrorist group. In short, the threat that FARC might someday get nukes is empty.

So what if Chavez helps FARC get SAMs? We armed the mujaheddin in Afghanistan with SAMs to fight the Soviets, so it's not like we have a moral leg to stand on when it comes to that issue. It still boils down to Colombia fighting a rebel group, which is really just an internal security problem.

DR GRiM wrote:

Not true. Cocaine production in Colombia has decreased 15 percent in 2010. And since 2 years prior to that date it has kept decreasing according to UNODC reports. Production will never be fully exterminated but it can be greatly reduced. Because of Mexico's GVT pressure the drug business is moving to center america but the final destination of the product is the same.

In Colombia, yes. But cocaine production increased in Peru and Bolivia. Global cocaine production has remained pretty steady over the past decade. All that's been proven is that the application of a lot of money from the US government can, temporarily, reduce the production of drugs in a targeted area. It's also shown that drug production will simply migrate to another area.

Again, the only supply side solution is to dedicate tens of billions of dollars towards eradication and continually increase that amount as the drug production moves from country to country.

DR GRiM wrote:

I already explained it at length. I am starting to think you are not reading what I type or that my english is not good enough. At any rate, have a nice day.

From my perspective, you really haven't explained it. I am most certainly reading what you've written and your English is very good.

As a species, humans have always used drugs. Hell, there are people out there who say that what really kicked off the agricultural revolution ten thousand years ago wasn't food, but the fact that grains could be transformed into booze. We're just hardwired for these things.

Trying to attack our current drug problem by only focusing on the supply side is a pointless proposition. As long as there's still someone willing to pay for the drugs there will be someone willing to grow, process, and distribute them.

The issues you have with FARC and ELN could very likely go away if cocaine was legalized (not that I'm saying it would happen). As economic study after economic study has shown, it's the illegality of the drugs that make them so profitable. And it's that profitability that funds the operations of the FARC and ELN. Turn cocaine from an illicit drug into a commodity like coffee and a great deal of that profit disappears (along with the money to fund FARC's and ELN's operations).

That's more of a solution than requiring the US to spend ever increasing amounts of money on drug eradication and interdiction programs or to lead a military invasion.

I'm curious, though. You're obviously passionate about this issue. Are you a Colombian or Venezuelan citizen? To use an idiom of the American south, what dog do you have in this hunt?

OG_slinger wrote:

As a species, humans have always used drugs. Hell, there are people out there who say that what really kicked off the agricultural revolution ten thousand years ago wasn't food, but the fact that grains could be transformed into booze. We're just hardwired for these things.

Me! I say that! Drugs are also a huge factor in the creation of most (I would say all, but of course no one knows for sure) of the ancient religions.

FARC and ELN predate Chavez and were even more powerful before his reign. They also never were the only narco runners in Colombia or the most important ones too. They earned most of their money through kidnappings and the sort.

OG_Slinger: You'll have to excuse me but I think you and I are not understanding each other. You keep putting words in my mouth and not reading my replies properly. If you want to sit on your opinion please do so but brushing away everything I say and making all sort of jumps in logic is not going to get us anywhere. You seem to be solidly convinced I am wrong on all accounts and that you are right on everything yet you admitted production in Colombia was declining even when you first said otherwise. I can tell you don't know much about Venezuela and the region and how things move down there and why things happen to be that way. You could be very right regarding the US foreign policy but given the stats and numbers I am more willing to bet Colombia and Mexico will keep on fighting until the winds will change so more steady progress can be made with gvts willing to cooperate.

I have no desire to keep discussing this with you, you've already explained your views on how my ideas are blatantly a mistake. Let's agree to disagree.

DR GRiM wrote:

OG_Slinger: You'll have to excuse me but I think you and I are not understanding each other. You keep putting words in my mouth and not reading my replies properly. If you want to sit on your opinion please do so but brushing away everything I say and making all sort of jumps in logic is not going to get us anywhere. You seem to be solidly convinced I am wrong on all accounts and that you are right on everything yet you admitted production in Colombia was declining even when you first said otherwise. I can tell you don't know much about Venezuela and the region and how things move down there and why things happen to be that way. You could be very right regarding the US foreign policy but given the stats and numbers I am more willing to bet Colombia and Mexico will keep on fighting until the winds will change so more steady progress can be made with gvts willing to cooperate.

I have no desire to keep discussing this with you, you've already explained your views on how my ideas are blatantly a mistake. Let's agree to disagree.

I know we're misunderstanding each other. That's why I've asked you clarify multiple points of your argument. I can't help it if you're unable to do that or address the issues I've raised.

I don't see the point in explaining anything to someone who doesn't understand how drug and terrorism co-relate in a region you have proven you know pretty much nothing of. If it's too hard for you to understand that drug money is financing terrorism used to target the US and its allies then there's not much to discuss here. You haven't been capable to convince me attacking demand and legalizing drugs would make a dent in drug money, probably because you like to keep broad strokes without substance when you post anyways. The good thing is that the US is interested in what those defectors have to say and because it's unlikely the US would invade it's more like they believe in a diplomatic solution than your binary view on the world most likely fed by CNN and other short-sighted media outlets that feature for 2 mins a cat jumping on a reporter. I can't totally blame you for being so blind, but boy, you're quite full of yourself.

DR GRiM wrote:

I don't see the point in explaining anything to someone who doesn't understand how drug and terrorism co-relate in a region you have proven you know pretty much nothing of.

One of the points of a discussion is to explain things to people who don't understand them. If you aren't able to do that, you might want to re-think your strategy.

DR GRiM wrote:

I don't see the point in explaining anything to someone who doesn't understand how drug and terrorism co-relate in a region you have proven you know pretty much nothing of. If it's too hard for you to understand that drug money is financing terrorism used to target the US and its allies then there's not much to discuss here. You haven't been capable to convince me attacking demand and legalizing drugs would make a dent in drug money, probably because you like to keep broad strokes without substance when you post anyways. The good thing is that the US is interested in what those defectors have to say and because it's unlikely the US would invade it's more like they believe in a diplomatic solution than your binary view on the world most likely fed by CNN and other short-sighted media outlets that feature for 2 mins a cat jumping on a reporter. I can't totally blame you for being so blind, but boy, you're quite full of yourself.

I'm sorry you feel that way. However, I think you'll find that the US isn't going to take aggressive steps against Chavez or to support Colombia anytime soon. That won't happen for all the reasons I've talked about, which essentially boils down to America doesn't really care about what happens in Venezuela or Colombia.

That's not meant to be an insult. It's just that, in general, America doesn't think much about any country or group that's not causing it immediate problems and neither Venezuela nor Colombia are doing that. They're simply part of a known issue that America's been dealing with since the 1950s.

btw, that cat jumping on a reporter happened to a friend of mine, right outside one of my local brewpubs.

Go Beer City USA.

Seth wrote:

btw, that cat jumping on a reporter happened to a friend of mine, right outside one of my local brewpubs.

Go Beer City USA.

This may be my favorite wrong-thread posting ever.

DR GRiM wrote:

other short-sighted media outlets that feature for 2 mins a cat jumping on a reporter. I can't totally blame you for being so blind, but boy, you're quite full of yourself.

Dimmerswitch wrote:
Seth wrote:

btw, that cat jumping on a reporter happened to a friend of mine, right outside one of my local brewpubs.

Go Beer City USA.

This may be my favorite wrong-thread posting ever. :D

Sorry. Off-Topic maybe, but right thread.
But I can't totally blame you for being so blind, because boy, DR GRiM is somewhat tricky to parse.

I love it even more now that it's (arguably) on-topic.

DR GRiM wrote:

I don't see the point in explaining anything to someone who doesn't understand how drug and terrorism co-relate in a region you have proven you know pretty much nothing of.

?

This is not going to win any arguments or convince someone of your position, that kind of passive aggression. I believe (for my part) that I do understand how they relate to some degree. That's why I want the US to end the drug war and stop arming one side in all of these conflicts.

DR GRiM wrote:

If it's too hard for you to understand that drug money is financing terrorism used to target the US and its allies then there's not much to discuss here.

Which is why having all of the drug money cycle within the borders of the US would be an excellent way to cut off the financial windfall that drug cartels receive.

DR GRiM wrote:

You haven't been capable to convince me attacking demand and legalizing drugs would make a dent in drug money, probably because you like to keep broad strokes without substance when you post anyways. The good thing is that the US is interested in what those defectors have to say and because it's unlikely the US would invade it's more like they believe in a diplomatic solution than your binary view on the world most likely fed by CNN and other short-sighted media outlets that feature for 2 mins a cat jumping on a reporter. I can't totally blame you for being so blind, but boy, you're quite full of yourself.

Irony 101.