Taking Chavez Seriously

Recent developments out of South America seem to confirm the Army’s 2008 posture statement:

Persistent conflict and change characterize the strategic environment. We have looked at the future and expect a future of protracted confrontation among state, non-state, and individual actors who will use violence to achieve political, religious, and other ideological ends.

Of course, Colombia has been in a state of war for decades, something of a throwback to the last era of persistent conflict. But the alarming escalation between it and its neighbors on either side, Ecuador and Colombia, seem to suggest that folks who took Hugo Chavez seriously as a threat to regional stability might not have been mistaken.

McClatchy’s Jack Chang points out, though, that the incident is more asign of Chavez’ desperation than his strength, and notes that the factthat all eyes immediately turned to Brazil demonstrates where the real center of gravity lies on the South American continent.