March 03, 2008

A World at War?

Kip finds the recent developments in South America to be truly troubling and a reminder of the global nature of fissures and threats that came to the fore on September 11, 2001. In a world of connected trade, information, and interests, the possibility of a massive destabilization of a continent should be far more troubling than the matter-of-fact reporting which it has inspired.

This much is agreed on: Two days ago, Colombia killed Raul Reyes, a FARC leader and 16 of his rebel compatriots in Ecuadorian territory and then removed several of the bodies back to Colombia. In response, both Ecuador and Venezuela have mobilized several thousand troops to the border while Venezuela has limited trade between the countries. Colombia claims it has not similarly mobilized troops but has also ratcheted up the rhetoric by publicizing intelligence it claims to have gathered from Reyes which it says connects Hugo Chavez directly to the FARC.

Chavez has responded to all this by calling Colombia the "Israel of Latin America." This is, in- turn, a reminder of Chavez's efforts to woo his Persian mistress. Chavez's threats to send Sukhois should Colombia go after rebels in Venezuelan territory are a reminder of the increasing assertiveness of Russia as its common ground with the west has eroded.

Kip hopefully predicts that cooler heads will prevail as the Global South (let's not forget Kenya) dances on a pin. That said, he envisions that the globalization of small wars and terrorism could, in time, lead to larger and more deadly conflicts through increasing polarization of the globe, especially as instability perversely fills the coffers of Iran, Venezuela, and Russia by driving up the price of oil to unprecedented heights.