...On Saturday, Colombia launched an attack on a FARC camp in Ecuador, with, Ecuador plausibly alleges, U.S. support. Colombia's President Uribe -- a close Bush ally -- lied to Ecuador's President Correa about the attack, claiming it was in "hot pursuit." Ecuador's soldiers, when they reached the scene and recovered the bodies of FARC members who had been killed, reported to Correa that they had been asleep when attacked. They were in their underwear. Correa called it a "massacre." Both Ecuador and Venezuela have moved troops to their borders with Colombia, warned Colombia about violating their sovereignty, and cut diplomatic relations with Colombia...
Colombia's attack was a flagrant violation of Ecuador's sovereignty. "Hot pursuit" was Colombia's only possible defense. There is no right in international law to engage in military attacks into another country with which you are not at war if it is not an immediate continuation of an engagement that began within your borders (unless your action is explicitly authorized by the UN Security Council.) If you say that international law doesn't matter, you're essentially saying that Colombia has special rights to violate international law because it's a U.S. ally. That may sell well inside the Beltway, but it's going to sell very poorly, in general, from the Rio Grande to Tierra del Fuego.
While no-one should dispute that the tactics of the FARC have caused tremendous suffering -- as have the tactics of the U.S.-backed Colombian government -- it's important to consider the likely motivations of the Colombian government for carrying out this operation. Raul Reyes, the top leader in the FARC who was killed, led negotiations that resulted in the FARC releasing six political hostages to Venezuela, including four a week ago. This is a pattern for the Bush-backed Colombian government -- to meet the "threat" of successful diplomacy with military escalation. The Colombian government, with vigorous U.S. support, is taking actions whose probable consequence is to reduce the likelihood that FARC hostages will be released -- including three American captives.
Now consider the statements of the Democratic presidential candidates. First, Obama:"The Colombian people have suffered for more than four decades at the hands of a brutal terrorist insurgency, and the Colombian government has every right to defend itself against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The recent targeted killing of a senior FARC leader must not be used as a pretense to ratchet up tensions or to threaten the stability of the region. The presidents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela have a responsibility to ensure that events not spiral out of control, and to peacefully address any disputes through active diplomacy with the help of international actors."
...That's absolutely correct. He might also note that the U.S. - which is a protagonist through its role in Colombia -- shares this obligation.
Now let's consider Hillary's statement:"Hugo Chavez's order yesterday to send ten battalions to the Colombian border is unwarranted and dangerous. The Colombian state has every right to defend itself against drug trafficking terrorist organizations that have kidnapped innocent civilians, including American citizens. By praising and supporting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Chavez is openly siding with terrorists that threaten Colombian democracy and the peace and security of the region. Rather than criticizing Colombia's actions in combating terrorist groups in the border regions, Venezuela and Ecuador should work with their neighbor to ensure that their territories no longer serve as safe havens for terrorist groups. After reviewing this situation, I am hopeful that the government of Ecuador will determine that its interests lie in closer cooperation with Colombia on this issue. Hugo Chavez must call a halt to this provocative action..."
This is 100% wrong. Hillary acts as if the "event" is not the Colombian attack in Ecuador, but the Venezuelan response (Ecuador, the country whose sovereignty was violated, is an afterthought.) According to Hillary, Colombia has "every right" to "defend itself" by violating Ecuador's sovereignty -- that's the event -- but if Venezuela sends troops to its side of the Venezuela-Colombia border -- its own national territory -that's "unwarranted and dangerous." Hillary says that "after reviewing the situation," she is hopeful that Ecuador will determine that its interests lie in "closer cooperation with Colombia" -- the country that just flagrantly violated its sovereignty -- than with Venezuela, its ally that is speaking up against the violation. She is hopeful that Ecuador will lick the hand that beats it. As president, she will work with our partners in the region and the OAS to press Venezuela to change course. Good luck with that. It's the U.S. and Colombia that need pressure to change course -- to forswear violations of international law and to choose real diplomacy.
Judging from Hillary's statement, we should expect no meaningful change in U.S. policy towards Colombia, Ecuador, or Venezuela (which she falsely claims is a dictatorship) if she is elected president -- unless it is a change to make it worse.
HHHillary strikes me as the candidate most likely to produce a lot of progressive social change here in the United States, but she really lets the NeoCons write her foreign policy statements.
Maybe there's reason for that. After all, the last President who bucked the CIA, the Pentagon, and the iron triangle got taken for a ride in Dallas back in '63. Maybe Obama has yet to have that expained to him in excruciating detail. You know, pictures of the shot from the lone gunman's single shot that first hit Kennedy in the throat and danced through his chest, and then hit him from the back to blow his head off. Oh, and hit the governor of Texas, too.
Or the 13 rounds that killed RFK and hit his campain manager from the gun that only held 8.
There's a lot that explains American foreign policy.