March 6, 2008 Edition > Section: Editorials > Printer-Friendly Version

Dusting Off Monroe

New York Sun Staff Editorial
March 6, 2008

There are a number of ways to understand the unfolding consequences of Colombia's raid into Ecuadorian territory to assassinate a terrorist leader, Raul Reyes. To start, it is a victory for a Colombian government that has managed a successful counterinsurgency against the coca-funded outlaws in Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that eight years ago held Bogotá hostage to kidnappings, drive-by violence, and extortion.

At first, the government of Ecuador, caught red-handed as it were, refused to acknowledge that the raid was conducted on its sovereign territory. But Quito soon went from chastened to brazen, following the cue of its oil-funded benefactor, Hugo Chavez. On Sunday, the Venezuelan Marxist began massing tanks on the Colombian border to respond to Colombia's provocation. Now the Organization of American States is seeking a regional dialogue to lower tensions.

In the operation against Mr. Reyes, the Colombians not only slew a skilled terrorist but they also found his laptop computer. On it, the world now learns there is even more evidence linking Mr. Chavez to the FARC, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, provided the crony of Fidel Castro $150,000 after he was imprisoned for attempting a coup d'etat in 1992. Since then, Mr. Chavez has repaid the favor with interest, harboring FARC leaders, providing them with diplomatic cover, and, now, threatening a new war for the slaying of their leader.

This is not all that different than the way Iran games the world in regards to the conflict in Israel. Iran helps arm, fund, and support the terrorists in Hezbollah and Hamas. At moments when the world is ready to close in on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program for example, the Iranian proxies escalate the war on Israel and the world is forced into conflict resolution. Iran gets off free. Is it any wonder that the Iranians conferred their highest civilian honors on Mr. Chavez last June, or that Mr. Chavez has hired Iranian consultants for his own Spanish language satellite channel?

The OAS is now convening a dialogue between Ecuador and Colombia regarding the events of last Saturday. The Bush administration has been supportive of Colombia, but it is also showing signs of going wobbly. "We certainly understand the concerns that the Ecuadorian Government has raised," quoth a State Department spokesman, Tom Casey, "and that's why we support there being a discussion and a resolution of this issue involving the two parties and the OAS." It was a blunder that Mr. Bush, after speaking with President Uribe, had to repair, saying: "I told the President that America fully supports Colombia's democracy, and that we firmly oppose any acts of aggression that could destabilize the region."

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Mr. Bush would be wise to consult one other president than Mr. Uribe. We speak, of course, of President Monroe. There is always the possibility is that Mr. Chavez will stand his rickety tanks down and go back to helping the FARC destroy Colombia. Just as Iran may one day even suspend enrichment of uranium and be content with helping Hamas and Hezbollah destroy Israel. But there's also a chance he will make a military move, just as there is with Iran. And, though we haven't heard much along these lines, we suspect there's a chance that he'll do this with the help of Iran, whose president has been showing up all too frequently in Latin America. If that happens, President Monroe's Doctrine will need dusting off.

March 6, 2008 Edition > Section: Editorials > Printer-Friendly Version