If there’s one topic that the world outside Venezuela seems curious about, it’s the Iran-Venezuela-Russia (and maybe China, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and/or Cuba) group that by some accounts are trying to destabilize the U.S. and its allies. It’s a hot topic. April 13, the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress:
The Qods Force maintains operational capabilities around the world. It is well established in the Middle East and North Africa, and recent years have witnessed an increased presence in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela. As U.S. involvement in global conflicts deepens, contact with the Qods Force, directly or through extremist groups it supports, will be more frequent and consequential.
Luckily the head of the U.S. Southern Command came out yesterday and clarified what the Pentagon report meant:
We see a growing Iranian interest and engagement with Venezuela. … It’s a diplomatic, it’s a commercial presence. I haven’t seen evidence of a military presence.
Let’s let them figure out what they really want to say and get back to us. Moving along, April 15, the Hudson Institute put on a forum, Venezuelistan: Iran’s Latin American Ambitions (audio here).
Someone asked me to comment on this e-mail. The note itself, with its conspiracist, telling-you-what-the-MSM-doesn’t-want-you-to-know tone, its plentiful supply of capital letters, and its leaps of logic don’t deserve as much time as I gave it. I’m posting this because it shows the level of discourse in some segments of the U.S., which is the most powerful military and economic power on the planet.
This note includes some memes that have been well propagated by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, among others, about the Iran nuke missile threat from Venezuela. The extreme over-blowing of this threat would be laughable if it weren’t becoming part of the conventional wisdom, and if that conventional wisdom didn’t have the possibility (probability?) of turning into escalating trade sanctions, covert action or a military strike, any of which would probably lead to friends of mine being killed for nothing. We’ve seen the same pattern before in Iran, Iraq, Panama, Nicaragua.