Monday, March 3, 2008

Here's What Neglecting Our Obligations Gets Us

Hey, wouldn't it be nice to have the ability to do something when things like this happen?

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved tanks to the Colombian border and mobilized fighter jets on Sunday, warning Bogota could spark a war after its troops struck inside another of its neighbors, Ecuador.

Reacting to Colombia's killing on Saturday of a Colombian rebel over the border in Ecuador, a Venezuelan ally, Chavez also withdrew all of his diplomats from Bogota in the worst dispute between the neighbors since he came to office in 1999.

"Mr. Defense Minister, move me 10 battalions to the frontier with Colombia immediately, tank battalions. The air force should mobilize," Chavez said, adding he will bolster his military's presence along the 1,400-mile (2,200-km) border.

"May God spare us a war. But we are not going to allow them violate our sovereign territory," the ex-paratrooper added on his weekly TV show.

Colombia's military said on Saturday troops killed Raul Reyes, a leader of Marxist FARC rebels, during an attack on a jungle camp in Ecuador in a severe blow to Latin America's oldest guerrilla insurgency. The operation included air strikes and fighting with rebels across the frontier.

The anti-U.S. Chavez, who had warned a similar operation in Venezuela would be "cause for war," threatened to send Russian-made fighter jets into U.S. ally Colombia if its troops struck inside his OPEC country.

As this escalates, we'll see just how much actual leverage we have in areas of the world that we've been neglecting. We don't need a full blown war in South America right now, or anywhere else, for that matter. We don't have the resources to step in and protect our interests.

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