Monday, January 05, 2009

Review - The Threat Closer to Home: Hugo Chavez and the War Against America

Douglas E. Schoen and Michael Rowan, The Threat Closer to Home: Hugo Chavez and the War Against America.

In the Preface, Schoen and Rowan explain:
It's important for us to set out this book--why we have spent the amount of time and effort that we have over the last few years writing about Hugo Chavez and working to change politics in Venezuela.

While admiring Chavez's intentions to eradicate poverty and corruption in his country, we have sadly come to believe that Chavez arguably presents a greater threat to America than Osama bin Laden does on a day-to-day basis, and this is our opportunity to set out the reasons why we believe this to be the case.
The authors didn't just "parachute into" Venezuela, sniff around, dig up some dirt and produce an expose. They utilized their extensive experience and contacts in the nation to get to the heart of the problem posed by Hugo Chavez.

In the Introduction, they cover the "five critical fronts of Chavez's initiative against" the United States.
These are his oil; his alliance with Iran; the FARC's guerrilla war in Colombia; promoting anti-American states; and building friendly or so-called soft assets in the United States.
The rest of the work is an amplification on these themes. They are astounded by those who justify his dictator-like actions because Chavez was democratically elected. Perhaps the first time, but not since, they argue. They cover familiar ground concerning how Chavez utilizes Venezuelan oil resources as an economic weapon, often to the detriment of his countrymen. They also explain and document his support of Islamist terrorists and contend the only explanation for such support would be "to harm the United States by any means at hand."

One of their concluding chapters is titled "Useful Idiots", in which they document the lengths to which intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Joseph Stiglitz as well as various activists and celebrities and, in particular, former President Jimmy Carter, have gone towards defending or turning a blind eye to Chavez's controversial policies and actions.

In their final chapter, "The Alliance of the Americas", the authors explain how Latin Americans still recent American intervention--both the government and corporations--into the region. They urge for a "post-Cold War, post-Monroe Doctrine relationship of equality with Latin Americans" as the only way to "make the United States a better nation." Clearly, they believe they have the best interests of Latin America in mind and their track record supports this and lends credence to their case against Chavez.

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