Nuance for Chavez
South America is far, far outside my field of pseudo-expertise, but Randy Paul's post
on how to think about Hugo Chavez seems exactly right. Chavez' anger over the plight of Venezuela's poor is certainly well-founded, and it would indeed be wonderful if he could put the country's oil wealth towards productive ends. At the same time, he's a thug, doing very thuggish things, and he really shouldn't be. He says bizarre stuff that's often counterproductive. He deserves much of the criticism he gets. But then again, he's not actually a Cuban stooge, and he was, after all, elected, so loose talk about regime change is really quite unhelpful. Anyway, I'm not sure why people think you have to be either vehemently pro-Chavez or vehemently anti-Chavez, but I guess that's why they're called "polarizing figures," eh?
In other South America news, genuine kudos to Condoleeza Rice if this bit of reporting
is true and she's been quietly smoothing over tiffs between the U.S. and our neighbors down south.