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Last week Russia got together with Venezuela, one of America’s largest
oil suppliers, to announce a “strategic partnership.” Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez has admitted that this partnernship is aimed at defeating
“unipolarity” — a euphemism for America’s status as the world’s dominant
military and economic power.

In joining with Russia, Venezuela has signed on with a growing
anti-American coalition which includes countries like China, India and Iran.
It should be noted that Moscow is the hub of this coalition. Offering its
new client a wide range of strategic options (including military-technical
support), Moscow wants to work with Venezuela on “fixing” oil prices. This
is a high priority for Russia, which seeks to hurt the oil-dependent West and
gain greater oil revenues for itself.

There is also a more threatening aspect to the Russia-Venezuela
partnership. Last week Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov signed a
military cooperation agreement with his Venezuelan counterpart, Jose Vicente
Rangel. From now on we can expect to see Russian military advisers joining
Chinese military advisers in South America. We can also expect the
deployment of new weapons systems, including aircraft and air-defense
missiles.

Moves of this kind have serious national-security implications for the
United States. Americans should therefore ask what has motivated Venezuela’s
new relationship with Russia?

President Hugo Chavez, a former paratrooper, is the self-proclaimed
champion of the poor and oppressed in his country. Chavez’s policy has been
to gradually disenfranchise the rich. At the same time he has publicly
embraced Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Chavez has also transformed the
Venezuelan constitution, eliminating effective checks to presidential power.

Chavez has denied being a communist. It is constantly asserted that
Chavez’s admiration for Castro, his close military ties to China and his new
“partnership” with Russia have nothing to do with secret Marxist
proclivities. On reviewing Chavez’s record, one might ask how a Marxist
dictator would differ from Chavez?

Of course, denying communist proclivities is pro forma among
communists. The entire Russian state has adopted this pose for nearly a
decade, receiving many advantages in the process. Why shouldn’t this be the
case in Venezuela? After all, communism is supposedly dead. If the corpse
twitches from time to time, say something clever about the electrical
physiology of decaying political bodies. There is no need to give the game
away.

This will be vigorously denied by many wishful thinkers, but the
worldwide communist movement is not dead. Throughout history the communists
have gone underground time and time again. The phony death and burial of
communism is just another way of going underground.

Long before the Soviet Union announced its own demise, communists in
the Western Hemisphere were encouraged to describe themselves as
“progressives.” President Chavez could not be ignorant of this tradition,
which has been described for us by David Horowitz in “Radical Son,” an
autobiographical account. Horowitz’s parents were card-carrying communists who
made “it a rule never to discuss their real politics, to identify their
associates, or to reveal their Party activities to any outsider.”

President Hugo Chavez acts like a communist. He is even suspected of
supporting communist insurgents in neighboring Colombia. Last year he
invited Colombian communists to visit his country, to speak before his
legislature. He was the first head of state since the Gulf War to visit Iraq
and shake Saddam Hussein’s hand. Last year he hosted a visit from Fidel
Castro. His education program is currently modeled after Cuba’s. And now he
openly aligns himself with Moscow and Beijing.

If that is not enough, Venezuelan Defense Minister Jose Vicente Rangel
is anxious to acquire Russian fighter aircraft, air-defense systems and more.
Cuba is no longer alone in Latin America. Now the communist rebels in
Colombia have an ally on the border. They have a chance to win.

Imagine how Venezuela, soon to be hosting Russian military advisers,
will be able to help the Colombian rebels. For those who don’t know, the
communist movement in Colombia is fueled by cocaine. As it happens, Russia
is a major clandestine player in the drug offensive against America, as
documented by Joseph D. Douglass Jr. in a book entitled “Red Cocaine.”

Earlier this month the U.S. Coast Guard found half a billion dollars
worth of cocaine on a fishing boat. The vessel was manned by Russian and
Ukranian gangsters who had reportedly allied with Colombian cocaine
traffickers. This is but one data point among many.

Can you connect the dots?

The ongoing hostility of Russia can be traced in its new Latin
American policy. It is no accident that the communist rebels in Colombia
receive most of their heavy weapons from Eastern Europe. It is also no
accident that Russian gangsters have allied with a communist insurgency that
fuels itself with cocaine. Furthermore, we have to wake up to the fact that
the supposedly nonexistent communist bloc not only has a newfound ally in
Venezuela, but has its Chinese front companies positioned on both sides of
the Panama Canal.

In the 1950s we would have taken strong measures to counter such
moves. Today we do nothing. We no longer think of Russia as an enemy. And
yet, Russia and China have formed a strategic coalition against us. More
than that, they are slowly and quietly building a network of anti-American
countries. In recent days Russia announced a strengthening of military ties
with Libya, over a month ago a pact was signed with Iran. Meanwhile, China
has moved to patch things up with communist Vietnam and has established
closer relations with South Africa.

The strategic objectives here should be obvious. The stage is being
set for a renewed conflict between Russia and America. In this renewed
conflict Russia will have broken from its Cold War containment. It will have
powerful outposts in our own hemisphere. It will have the support of China
and it will have a diplomatic influence over critical oil producing states.

Those who thought we were in trouble in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was
elected president, should look more carefully at the situation today.
America has reduced its military power across the board. NATO is in a state
of confusion and weakness.

It is time to wake up.

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