February 14, 2009

Dictator Watch - Feb 14th, 2009

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day, or perhaps more appropriately the St. Valentine's Day massacre, than with an update on dictatorial regimes?

Hugo Chavez
Yep, those are celeb-tards with the dictatorial drama queen.

According to the AP, Chavez is up to his old election tricks again. This specific one reported on Thursday, curiously does not involved arrests, beatings or intimidation but rather that old standby - blaming the United States for something. Apparently he hasn't mentioned the U.S. specifically, but give it time - the vote isn't until tomorrow. He's got to give the appearance of taking time to dig up the facts;

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denounced a new plot against him just days before a referendum on allowing him to seek re-election, although many voters are likely to be skeptical.

Chavez, who once led a failed coup and was briefly ousted himself in a coup after he been voted into office, frequently tells of plots to oust him in the OPEC nation, without producing much evidence, before a national vote.

The Cuba ally invariably says the plot is directed from the United States and backed by the opposition.Chavez is campaigning for a referendum on Sunday that would allow him to stay in power for as long as he keeps winning elections. If he loses he
should leave office in 2013.

Pollsters say that, whether true or not, the accusations can fire up the ex-soldier's supporters, even if many Venezuelans suspect they are for political effect.

According to some polls 55% of voters oppose his attempt to change the laws on term limits that will allow him to remain in power until, as one supporter put it '2000-and-forever'.

IMPACT of a loss for Chavez? Well, he's familiar with the coup d'etat system, so that's an option for him. He would strongly suspect that by doing so he would not risk intervention from the Obama administration, who he probably views as less hawkish than the Bush administration was. Conversely the impact of a win, would simply be bad for Venezuelans. Even if many agree with his policies, allowing anyone unfettered access to power for an unlimited amount of time invites corruption. Someone wanting power as badly as Chavez does may even have himself convinced that his motives are for the good of the people. But if his motives were 'for the good of the people', he is still clouded by either ambition or grandeur, as if no other Venezuelan could come after him and continue his socialist agenda in his footsteps. He wants power far too badly for purity of motives.

Vladimir Putin

Was this guy just a frustrated Calvin Klein model-wannabe?

This from Fox News yesterday;

Less than a week after Vice President Biden told NATO and European Union diplomats in Munich that Obama wanted to “push the re-set button” on Russian-American diplomacy and reduce U.S. nuclear weapons “by 80 percent,” Moscow responded with some “new initiatives” of their own.

On Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev - widely viewed as a puppet of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin - convinced Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to reject American offers to renew a lucrative lease on the U.S.-built Manas Airbase outside the capital, Bishkek. Since 2001, the Manas “Airhead” had been crucial to U.S. and NATO forces operating in Afghanistan. It is even more so today, since the Taliban interdicted the overland route from Pakistan to Kabul. The next day, Moscow agreed to allow U.S. shipments of “non-lethal supplies” through Russian territory into Afghanistan over a route that was closed after Russia invaded Georgia last summer.

Just to make sure that the “new team” in Washington is paying attention, on Monday, Putin met with Cuba’s new dictator, Raul Castro. Despite Russia’s ongoing currency crisis, the collapse of the Moscow stock exchange and falling oil prices, Putin cobbled together a deal the Castro brothers are glad to get: a new financial aid package. According to press reports in Moscow and Havana, the Russians have promised $270 million in “loans” and $37 million in Russian commodities such as grain and “commercial aircraft.” Unmentioned by either country is what the Russians expect in return.

A former U.S. intelligence official warns: “The Russians never give anything away for nothing. With them, everything is a quid pro quo. Keep an eye on Lourdes.” The location referred to was a Soviet signals-intelligence site south of Havana used for “listening” to U.S. defense and NASA communications. On October 17, 2001, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced its closure.

Putin is a long road type of guy and a deceptive one too. What's clear is that he is also one who sees what he is up against and reacts accordingly. Seeing the US beef up after 9/11 he closed down the Cuba listening operation. Now, seeing a more dovish presence in the White House he's ramping up everywhere - including Cuba, efforts against the Ukraine and Georgia. He's going to push the boundaries as far as he can, while President Obama is in the mood to be conciliatory. Not a good coupling of factors as far as national security goes.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

It looks like the country is still largely in the grip of his delusions. Mainly I suspect because they are not his alone. This report from Al Jazeera, 'respect us' like you mean it. But at the same time we'll have a carnival of throwing shoes at effigies of your leaders. Oh, and we still want Israel to be gone. You know, because THAT's fair.

Kim Jong Il

Snazzy - a wonderful cross between Philip Michael Thomas and George Kastanza.

Yet another thorn for President Obama to pick out of his side. According to the Telegraph, while North Koreans are busy celebrating the birthday of former dictator Kim Il Sung, father of the current impotentate, they were also up to some missile shenanigans.

According to the latest intelligence reports from Washington, Kim has recovered "significantly" from his bout of ill health and is back at the helm of the world's only hereditary communist government.

Other reports from the US and South Korea indicate that Pyongyang is assembling an intercontinental ballistic missile at a launch site on its east coast. The suggestion is that the Taepodong-2 missile – which could strike a target anywhere in Japan – could be fired before the end of the month and is a show of force to the incoming administration of President Barack Obama.

Oh goody.

As hawkish as Obama has been on this stimulus bill, expect him to ignore this problem until it's critical. Why? North Koreans don't vote in the mid-term elections. In fact, they don't even get to really vote. Judging by the hubris of the Democrats since November, they seem to be a little jealous of that fact.

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