Dienstag, Januar 24, 2006

Chavez, Morales, and Are We Losing South America?

Recent news underscores how democracy is the worst form of government, but much better than the alternatives.

Morales' election to be the head of state in Bolivia is, of course, democratically legitimate and expresses the will of the Bolivian people. Previous governments were either incompetent or merely venal, usually a combination of both, and Bolivia really does need to pay attention to improving the lot of the poorest of the poor.

Unfortunately, Morales is heading clearly into his own morast: he gave Chavez a portrait of Bolivar made entirely of coca leaves. By moving into the Bolivarian scheme of things, he's joining the South American axis of evil, headed by Cuba, with Venezuala and the drug lords of Columbia (dressed up as revolutionaries) and this will probably mean that the fate of Bolivia will get worse before it can get better.

But this is an interesting comment: what will happen is that the attempt to create an alternative to Yanqui domination will, in fact, end up with even closer ties to the US.

Why? Because the US understands how to represent its interests, rather than to concentrate on global inequalities and inequities. Enlightened self-interest has always been the driving force behind US diplomacy. While I will be the first to agree that understanding what enlightened self-interest actually means, especially for those who do not understand the US, is not the simplest task, made worse by spin doctors and political speculators, it remains nonetheless the core of US diplomacy.

And the point of the editorial from José Antonio Ventura Sosa in the Salvadorian newspaper Diario Con Latino is that tweaking the nose of Yanquis may well be good fun and popular as well, but does it serve the national interests of these countries to do so?

Wouldn't it be better to concentrate Venezualan revenues on making life better for Venezualans instead of subsidizing Castro? Wouldn't it be better for Bolivia to concentrate on providing its people with the means to get out of poverty instead of rushing towards nationalization of the gas industry, a move that is fraught with opportunities for corruption and fraud?

In other words, a proper analysis of what is going on in Latin American politics would be to ask why so much time and energy is being invested in policies that do not actually serve the enlightened self-interest of these countries, but instead goes to the strange attempt to revitalize a thoroughly discredited form of economic development (socialism)?

Kudos to Sosa for even daring to ask the question. Regardless of what people in Latin America do, the US will always have ints national interests there: wishing the US away is only the basis for populistic demagogery and not the basis for policy that will reflect the interests of those in these countries.

Keine Kommentare: