Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Brazil countering Venezuela nicely, thank you

There's little question that Venezuela's Hugo Chavez is an enormous pain in the ass, with all his talk of establishing socialism, his attempts to create an anti-American coalition, and his nasty talk about the U.S., all facilitated by high oil prices, which keep filling his coffers despite the state oil company losing efficiency since he filled it with his cronies. A few neocons have even advocated military action or some CIA-style subversion.

As this story explains, however, Brazil is doing a pretty good job of neutralizing Venezuela, a game played with a certain amount of skill by Brazilian president Luiz Inacio da Silva. Da Silva ran as a leftist but governs like a moderate, and oil reserves dwarfing Venezuela's have been discovered offshore (though it will be expensive and take a while for the oil to start flowing). Lula is always lavish in his praise of Chavez, but he is making Venezuela more dependent on Brazil than vice-versa. Brazil's effort to establish a continental trade alliance is succeeding, while Venezuela's is sputtering. And on and on.

When countries (or their leaders) get rambunctious, it's usually their neighbors who are in the best position to counter them. The U.S. would be smart to stay out of it.

(I must confess to a certain identification with Brazil's da Silva because he looks like my doppelganger. The resemblance is so striking that when his picture appears in our paper my colleagues joke with me, wondering where I was over the weekend and why you never see a picture of me and da Silva together.)

2 comments:

Let's Help Brazil! said...

I am promoting a new undertaking, Let’s Help Brazil! http://www.letshelpbrazil.org.

Our mission is the relief of poverty and advancement of education for Brazil's homeless children.

Chris Haney

Let’s Help Brazil!

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