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12 February 2005

I firmly believe that this administration has every intention of increasing its militarism and using military force to impose US demands on other parts of the world. However, the US Central Command, which has authority over the Middle East is already stretched thin because ofIraq. So, while it is entirely possible that we might launch air/missile strikes against Iran or Syria, I find it extremely unlikely that we'll engage in another major invasion/occupation of another Middle Eastern country - Iraq is going to keep us busy for a long time.

Nevertheless, the enormous US Southern Command (http://www.southcom.mil/home/) - in charge of Central and South America - has been sitting on its hands. We currently have troops deployed in Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Netherlands Antilles, El Salvador, Aruba, CuraƧao and elsewhere (see http://www.ciponline.org/facts/bases.htm).

At the same time, the people of Latin America are getting a bit"uppity", doing things that actually favor their own interests as opposed to ours and even having the chutzpah to suggest that some of their resources should be used in their own interests. Of course we've NEVER allowed that kind of thing, literally thirty years after independence we were raiding Latin American targets and this has been the status quo ever since. Since 9/11 alone we've overtly interferred in the internal politics and elections in Nicaragua (2001), Bolivia (2002), Venezuela (2001 to present), and El Salvador (2004) and of course Haiti.

However, despite these not so subtle interventions, the Latin Americans are still pushing their own agendas ... especially Cuba, which has been under the gun from the US since the 1960's and Venezuela. Virtually everyday there are new articles about Venezuela and Chavez and what an evil bastard he is in the US corporate media. For more onVenezuela see: http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/

Further, the people of Bolivia are also in revolt against their government's intention to sell all its natural gas reserves to the US leaving their people penniless. The people are demanding that the natural gas be nationalized and the profits used to benefit the Bolivian people. They ousted one government a little over a year ago because of the same issue and now it looks likely to happen again ... http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/611/611p18b.htm

Further - as illustrated by the recent World Social Forum in Brazil -various Left-oriented groups advocating helping the poor and using Latin American resources to help Latin Americans as opposed to feeding the US consumption frenzy are on the rise throughout South America and to a lesser extent in Central America.

Obviously all these uppity Latin Americans need to be taught a lesson, specifically that they only exist to serve of us and that any pretense that they have their own concerns or that their lives should be put ahead of our comfort is a "terrorist" position. It has been a little while (1999 invasion of Panama) since we flexed our military muscle down there and the National Endowment for Democracy and covert operations like Haiti just don't have the same impact as outright military assault on the neighbors.

So, a little prediction... the next war Bush opts to start (or major escalation, for example using Colombia against Venezuela) will not be in the Middle East, but in South or Central America. Venezuela is obviously a prime target, so too is Cuba now that they've hit oil. Further it will deflect attention away from the continuing Iraqi quagmire, and we can safely count on plenty of Latin America's rich & elite serving as proxies for us, as has been US tradition since the 1840's. Thus no need for long permanent occupations and plenty of people willing to do our dirty work for us - just look at Nicaraga, El Salvador, and Colombia.

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