Dan Feder's Comments
Internal documents associated with the 2005 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and preparation of the fiscal year 2008-2013 future defense plan identify five specific "threat" countries in three groups requiring "full-spectrum" planning.
The first group includes North Korea and Iran, both justified for their involvement in the development of weapons of mass destruction. China is listed as a "growing peer competitor" and threat of tomorrow. Syria and Venezuela are listed as "rogue nations."
Venezuela is identified in Defense Department briefings and documents as a "pop up" threat, an example of an unanticipated and asymmetric challenge. In the military mind, Venezuela's proximity to the United States also elevates it to a "homeland security" threat, instantly increasing the priority for planning.
There is another bureaucratic reality of Venezuela as the pop up threat and recipient of contingency planner attention: U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which is responsible for Latin America, needs something to do
The claims have received enough attention to warrant a denial from the Pentagon. This story is worth keeping ones eye on
Fumigated Rural Communities Take Over Downtown Cantagallo
By César Jerez
Agencia Prensa Rural
September 26, 2005
Around 300 people, including several woman and children, from the 22 outlying rural zones of the town of Catagallo, have been occupying the municipalitys downtown area since Saturday, September 24...
En un detalle revelador, Palacio confirmó a los medios el intercambio, justo antes de llevar a cabo su primer viaje a Estados Unidos como Presidente de la República. La maniobra se constituye como un golpe bajo para los movimientos sociales ecuatorianos, que habían llegado a ver a Parra como uno de sus pocos aliados de confianza dentro del gobierno. Pero las consecuencias más graves de todo esto, probablemente, afectarán especialmente las relaciones con Colombia, sobre todo cuando hay de por medio, actualmente, una fuerte polémica referida a la guerra antidrogas que se lleva a cabo en este país.
Only two countries did not make the cut this year. The first was perennially-decertified Myanmar (Burma). The second was, as the State Department threatened last month, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Tellingly, Palacio confirmed the switch to the media just as he headed off for his visit as president to the United States. The move is a blow to the Ecuadorian social movements, who had come to count on Parra as one of their few trusted allies in the government. The biggest effect will be likely be on Ecuadors relationship with neighboring Colombia, especially in terms of one of the most controversial issues of the drug war in that country
And so Uribe, who seems to think that his games of language and semantics have the power to define reality in Colombia, has offered to change that reality in exchange for a peace agreement with the guerrilla insurgents of the National Liberation Army (ELN in its Spanish initials)
But the most interesting response by far was the staff editorial published yesterday in the leading U.S. daily The Washington Post. The editorial strongly objected to Robertsons remarks, but the tone was similar to many of its recent editorials on Iraq. The liberal newspaper, in both cases, is quick to attack Republican or conservative figures not because of their anti-democratic adventures, but because their excesses make such adventures harder to sell, breaking the carefully constructed good-U.S.-versus-evil-foreign-dictators narrative that media such as the Post work so hard to construct