An Interesting Comparison

August 27, 2005

I have read the comparisons of Iraq to Vietnam, but until now I had never read a comparison of Vietnam to what is going on with Venezuela.

So the question becomes: why is Robertson (and those who share his views) so frustrated with the president of Venezuela? Is he frustrated with Chavez’s attempts at building agricultural cooperatives through the implementation of land reform? Is Robertson frustrated with Venezuela using its oil revenue to promote literacy, health and other social programs? Or is it Chavez’s call to review all natural resource extraction contracts to make sure that Venezuela is being properly compensated for such assets?

Whatever Robertson’s frustrations with Chavez, they seem to be eerily reminiscent of the unwarranted frustrations the US had with the late Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam. The US was unnecessarily frustrated with the probability of having democratically held elections won by a socialist leader in the mid 1950s.

These were frustrations that did not allow the US to support the land reform efforts of Ho, that were then just as valid and necessary to Vietnam as the land reform efforts are now to Venezuela. These frustrations led to the demonization and conceptualization of Ho and his supporters. They became part of the feared “red menace” and “the domino theory” – just as Chavez and Venezuela have become Latin America’s premier “rogue nation” and leader in the eyes of the US.

That view of Ho blinded the US from helping Vietnam with its deep and historical security concerns with China, against which it had fought several wars of independence, which made it impractical for communist Vietnam to walk lockstep with communist China in the realm of foreign and domestic policy. Similarly, Chavez and Venezuela are erroneously viewed as following the same “revolutionary socialist” path as Fidel Castro in Cuba.

Such parallels between Ho and Chavez – or even Castro – seem to suggest that the frustrations that Robertson has with the Venezuelan president have little to do with his desire for democracy and social justice and more to do with the promotion of imperialism and empire. Therefore, just as the frustrations that led the US to go to war with Ho and North Vietnam were unwarranted, so, too, are the frustrations that led Robertson to voice such inflammatory rhetoric towards Chavez of Venezuela.

Wow. Makes a lot of sense. I just hope we don’t make the same mistake we made in Vietnam when we helped get the democratically elected president of South Vietnem assassinated. I mean, we already tried to get Chavez ousted and tried to rig the referendum election that re-elected him. America is in the wrong once again, saying we are spreading freedom (what ever the fuck that means anymore) while in reality becoming the new empire builders.

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