Thursday, October 23, 2008

A few more words on Latin America and Russia

The State Department's news site has an article on the relationship between Russia and Venezuela. Thomas Shannon (the Asst Secretary of State) expands a bit on his notion that Russia does not pose a threat, and that there is no new Cold War. I thought this quote summed it up well:

“Venezuela has bought a lot of weapons from Russia — about $4 billion worth of weapons. And this is something that has caused concern throughout the region, largely because no country [in the region] is buying this many weapons or [these] kinds of weapons,” Shannon said.

But Shannon said a military threat is more than simply buying weapons.

“It involves doctrine. It involves training. It involves capacity,” he said. “And at this point, all the Venezuelans have are weapons.”

And in addition:

“I don’t think there is a new geopolitical reality,” he said. “Quite the contrary. I think what we have in the Americas today is a region which is really coming of age in an important fashion, and a region which is establishing itself in the world as emerging economies and emerging democratic powers.”

I think this might be contradictory, though it is still early to tell. The "coming of age" may well in fact signal some sort of "new geopolitical reality," though it will not enter on extra-hemispheric powers like Russia.


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