Hugo Chaves Trying To Fuel Revolution With Submarines

Hugo Chavez, like most socialists, is starting to have paranoid delusions. He seems to think that America, a nation stuck in two middle eastern nations, led by a President who considers Venezuela to be problem number 16 on a 10-item list, is going to invade Venezuela. And the man who cares so much about his nation’s poor is spending billions on a Navy and air defense system:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his government may buy a fleet of Russian-made submarines when he visits Moscow next week, continuing an arms buildup that has cost his nation more than $4.3 billion since 2005.

“The only way Venezuela could totally discard the idea of not buying submarines is if we didn’t have a sea,” Chavez told cabinet members at a televised ceremony tonight in Caracas. “We have to protect that sea.”

Chavez said he also is looking to strengthen the nation’s short-range air-defense system to counter supersonic and “invisible” radar-evading aircraft he claimed Venezuela would face in the event of a U.S. invasion. Most U.S. analysts deem such an offensive unlikely.

Chavez, who is using his country’s oil wealth to promote socialist policies across the region, often urges developing nations to unite against the U.S. “empire,” winning allies abroad and scoring political points at home by attacking the U.S. for draining Venezuela’s natural resources, propping up a corrupt elite and funding groups that aim to destabilize his government.

Venezuela spent $4.3 billion on arms in 2005 and 2006, more than China, Pakistan or Iran, according to a U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report. More than $3 billion of that was spent in Russia, where Venezuela has signed contracts to buy 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 50 military helicopters and 24 Su-30 jet fighters, the report said.

You don’t feed the poor with Kalashnikov’s. The playbook Chavez is using is not a new one. He’s slowly cementing power, because like all socialist nations, eventually the money supply runs out. He’s already had a coup attempt on him, and he knows that his best bet to remain in power is to make sure his generals are fat and happy, and willing to carry out his rule with an iron fist. That way, when the bottom drops out, and the poor who he’s been feeding begin to tighten their belts, there won’t be enough loose power in society to take him on.

As Eric used to point out here while he was still blogging, the best way to cement power at home is to use an external threat. That’s true whether you’re trying to convince Americans to give up essential liberties to fight a vague terrorist threat, or whether you’re trying to convince Venezuelans to support giving you dictatorial powers to fight off an imagined American invasion.

A few billion military dollars spent, and Chavez is home free. When the Venezuelan people finally realize what’s going on, they won’t have the power to stop him.

  • T F Stern

    Well done Brad, a lesson for anyone paying attention.

  • tarran

    On the other hand, if one fears a U.S. attack, submarines are not a bad bet; Submarines can, by their very existence, prompt a more powerful Navy to stay out of a fight, fearing the loss of capital ships.

    My knowledge of naval technology is about ten years out of date. When I was a naval officer, based on my experiences in exercises and in studying for my oral boards, I considered the greatest threat to a carrier to be a modern diesel-electric submarine operating in home waters with a crew who was skilled enough to target and fire torpedoes without going to periscope depth.

    The diesel submarines tend to be much quieter than nuclear submarines since they don’t use coolant pumps. Intelligently operated, they can be hard to find, particularly if they stay near a friendly coast-line. If they launch a suprise attack, they will likely sink a carrier; carrier crews tend to be sloppy about maintaining water-tight integrity.

    If I wanted to destroy the hegemony of the United States government, I would attack the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar’s value is based on all the stuff one can buy with it. It used to be that without it, it was hard to purchase useful goods. Ten years ago, the only commodity that was only available for dollars was oil.

    In the late 1990’s Saddam Hussein switched to demanding Euro’s instead of dollars in payment for the oil he sells. After he was overthrown, the new government installed by the U.S. army returned to dollar-only sales.

    A few years ago, the Iranian government did the same. And within weeks of announcing their intention to make the switch, influential magazines in the U.S. started calling for the U.S. to militarily intervene in the country.

    I recall that Hugo Chavez has mooted about the idea of doing the same thing, and while rejecting the idea of switching to Euro sales, has claimed that the option is “on the table”.

    It is quite possible that he wants to do this, and that he wants to purchase as much equipment as he can prior to the inevitable sanctions followed by military action that will follow.

  • Graphictruth

    It would seem to me imprudent of other nations to not take George Bush and the Neocons at their stated and implied word. And subs are the logical counterforce to our habit of underlining our foreign policy with a nuke-equipped carrier battle group appearing just outside the international limit.

    The NRA told me to never point a gun unless I’m intending to kill the sonofabitch I’m pointing it at. It also taught me that the proper response to such a threat was a slug between the eyes. Seems to me that if this most sensible principle applies to handguns, it must apply all the more to SeaSLAMS and stealth bombers.

    And the criticism that Chavez is building up military power because he’s “a socialist” and “They always do this to consolidate their power” is an odd argument, considering. Why, then, do WE do it? And are OUR admerals and Generals not “Fat and Happy,” and willing to do whatever George says?

    How is this sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander?