Betraying Freedom In Latin America


by Ralph Peters [author, novelist]

I was wrong. For years, I’ve argued that our government should pay more attention to South America. Now Hillary Clinton has — and, boy, is it ugly.

With tragic back-to-back earthquakes dominating the headlines from south of the border, a desperate ploy by the hard-left Argentine government — backed by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez — threatens to shake the continent’s political landscape.

And Secretary of State Clinton, during her whirlwind tour down south, managed to outrage our British allies and assist despised President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in her family’s assault on Argentine democracy.

Clinton’s diplomatic malfeasance in Buenos Aires wasn’t an accident. She spoke for President Obama, who loves Third World liberation rhetoric and seems to think Britain’s still colonizing his family home in Kenya.

Here’s the backstory that our media’s ignored:

Longing to be another Eva Peron, President Fernandez resembles Eva Braun. And her would-be dynast husband, ex-Prez Nestor Kirchner, sees himself as a Juan Peron for the 21st century.

But the people of Argentina have caught on to the Kirchner mob’s bid to subvert their democracy — after this husband-and-wife team wrecked the economy, broke the agricultural sector and nationalized (the left’s word for “stole”) the nation’s private pension funds.

Hubby wants to return to the Casa Rosada after wifey’s term expires. The snag is that these crooks have the support of fewer than one in five Argentines.

Their solution? Wave the flag!

Previously uninterested in the Falkland/Malvinas — where the Brits trounced the Argentines in 1982 — the Kirchners suddenly discovered that the islands are an oppressed colony that belongs to Buenos Aires. (Forget that the islands’ English-speaking population wants no part of Argentina.)

President Fernandez threw a “patriotic” tantrum, blocking commerce with the islands (which mostly hurts Argentina’s business and shipping communities). Then she ordered a warship — one of the few seaworthy hulls left to the Argentine Navy — to probe the waters surrounding the Falkands/Malvinas.

A British destroyer sent the Argentine corvette packing. Which led another regional hustler to warn the Queen of England that “this time, Argentina will not stand alone!”

Who was demonstrating solidarity? Our buddy Hugo Chavez — whose military could no more get to the Falklands in force than I could swim to China.

Did I mention the oil? The Falklands/Malvinas appear to have significant deposits. Development is getting underway. The Kirchners — who’ve drained the national treasury — smell money.

Argentina appears to have plenty of off-shore oil of its own — but no foreign firms trust the current government, so there’s no investment in exploration (let alone development).

The Obama administration at first took a neutral position on the Argentine saber-rattling. Bad enough. Then, on Monday, Clinton stood side by side with the Argentine president and backed her insistence that Britain negotiate the future of the islands with Argentina.

Imagine if Britain told us we should negotiate the status of Puerto Rico with Hugo Chavez. This story ain’t going to have a happy ending, folks.

(And all this comes just a few months after Team Obama got huevos on its face by siding with Chavez’s ally, deposed President Manuel Zelaya, against the friends of democracy in Honduras.)

Meanwhile, my personal sympathies aren’t just with our British allies (now bleeding beside us in Afghanistan), but also with the new generation of Argentina’s military officers — despised and betrayed by the leftist mob in power.

This isn’t the old junta-era military. Today’s Argentine colonels and brigadiers were the junior officers abandoned on the front lines by their superiors during the Falklands War. As lieutenants and captains, they were left to fight — often courageously — with untrained soldiers, incompetent orders, and no supplies — not even cold-weather gear in the brutal South Atlantic winter.

Genuine patriots, the best of those officers stayed in uniform, struggling to modernize Argentina’s armed forces and embed them firmly in the democratic system. Now the Kirchners are setting them up for another humiliation: After starving the armed forces for years, they’re using them as props in an inept game of brinksmanship.

Those officers don’t want war. They’re plenty brave, but they know they have less chance of imposing a military solution on Britain than they did 28 years ago. They don’t want to waste the blood of their troops and see their country shamed again.

But the Kirchners wouldn’t mind a conflict that let them play the nationalist card. For his part, Chavez would love it.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is being either incompetent, malevolent — or both. How can we back intimate allies of Hugo Chavez against not only Britain, but against the Argentine people as they struggle to reclaim their democracy?

My advice? Yanquis, go home!  ExileStreet

NY Post / copyright 2010 NY Post

Ralph Peters’ new book, “Endless War,” goes on sale next month. Ralph Peters new novel, “The War After Armageddon,” is on the street. His most most recent non-fiction book is “Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World.” He is Fox News’ strategic analyst.

Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications.

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