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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hostile regime

Or so says the US about Venezuela. And yet the Israeli arms industry cares little for diplomacy or morality, unless its hand is forced:

"Israel cancelled a lucrative deal to upgrade Venezuelan warplanes under American pressure, Israeli media reports said Thursday.

"Israel Television said Israel was to install its own systems in U.S.-made F-16 fighters for the Venezuelan air force, but the U.S. forced Israel to call off the deal. No dollar figure for the deal was given."


Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Yes the arms trade is inherently amorol, but, I can see the US arms industry seeing the Israeli's as a competitive threat in a traditional US pissing patch - Latin America.

Under the guise of morality the US can impose a heavy handed trade restriction on Israel.

Crikey "Venezuala is the new Cuba" and it was only 43 years ago that Cuba was almost a threat in the "Cuban" missile crisis (actually a Russian missile crisis).

Goddamit those Venus-whalens are gonna host missiles aiming at Texas next!

Saturday, October 22, 2005 9:59:00 pm  
Blogger Human said...

By a least 1 source last year Isreal surpassed the U.S. in Arm sales. I also understood that Venezuela had aquired the newest MIGs that as usual are much better than anything the U.S.has. It was my understanding these Aircraft were being supplied by Russia and Venezuela pilots were to receive training from the Cuban Airforce.
Peace. yf Human

Saturday, October 22, 2005 11:00:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Actually they are called Sukois. They are unique because they can apprently take off from a dirt strip. I think Cuba has these too, thought I can't be sure if they belong to Cuba or Russia.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 1:28:00 am  
Blogger anthony said...

All this talk of the arms trade, I’m reminded of the old adage- guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

Pete, you seem to be dismissing the idea that the Cuban missile crisis was a threat to the US (or a threat at all), care to elaborate? I’m genuinely curious.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 11:12:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...


Have you not noticed that the US has military bases now encircling Russia from West to East? They have bases that can strike Moscow withing 15 minutes. I guess you consider that fair play?

Sunday, October 23, 2005 11:51:00 am  
Blogger anthony said...

You make it sound like the US sees Russia as a primary threat, and its bases are strategically focussed on Russia as if it were still that sickening empire- the Soviet Union.

When you say Russia is circled, I assume you are referring to US bases in Turkey, Germany, Belgium, Bosnia, and Georgia, inter alia.

Bases in Belgium, Germany and other W. European nations are part of the NATO alliance- yes, once targeting the Soviets. Unless Russian defence 'experts' are completely stupid, NATO presence will be seen for what it is- a declining force with a post-September 11 focus on non-state actors.

The US military presence in Turkey isn't aimed at flexing muscles against Russia, if anything the target is the ME.

The US position in Bosnia is part of NATO's commitment to stopping a potential genocide in the area. After the failure of the Dutch under the UN helmet to stop the mass slaughter of civilians at Sarajevo, hopefully NATO will remain in the long-term. It seems to have had more success than Coffee’s little blue troopers ever will.

As for Georgia, the government wants the US there, and its military is receiving training as part of the US GWOT, not readying itself for a conflict with Russia.
(The only link I could find, I must have picked up the rest from conventional sources, but feel free to correct any blatant mistakes)

And the Japanese base isn’t there with Russia in mind.

The US can strike a lot of places in a very short time. It doesn’t mean it’s going to do it, and it doesn’t mean we need to start worrying about air strikes all over the world- Russia least of all. Even from a far-left, anti-US POV, Russia is now the US ally in the GWOT- note Chechnya, despite its human rights abuses.

And what’s this rubbish about fair play? Assuming we are talking about the Cold War, why should the US have been made to ‘play fair’ against an exploitative Stalinist empire?

Sunday, October 23, 2005 1:32:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

You are ingorning the bases in South Asia. And there are many. They are there to cut off Russia from the Middle East and Asia e.g. Caspin Sea. They are also ther to control energy resources.

Fair play hah? These bases are closer to Russia than Cuba is to the US. How woudl the US respnd if Russia attempted to build a base in Cuba or any other part of the Carribean?

And do buy into this GWOT crap. The hawks who are dictating US foreign policy want nothing more than to crush Russia again, especially after Putin cracked down on the oil Oligarchs.

Notice how the US only got interested in Russian law and it's legal system after they nabbed Yukos owner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was trying to sell of Russia oil at fire sale prices to Western Interests?

Sunday, October 23, 2005 1:48:00 pm  
Blogger anthony said...

You are ingorning the bases in South Asia.

Not ignoring, just ignorant of such bases (unless your talking about Australian bases). I am, however, always willing to learn Andre…

These bases are closer to Russia than Cuba is to the US. How woudl the US respnd if Russia attempted to build a base in Cuba or any other part of the Carribean?

US bases are relatively close, with Georgia bordering Russia. Likewise, Cuba is virtually within swimming distance to Miami. I imagine the Americans would do a remake of that Red Dawn movie.

Nevertheless, Georgia- thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union- is a sovereign state. If it invites US forces to train its military, then Russian authorities can cry all they like- it is no longer their business.

If Cuba or any other part of the Caribbean invited Russian forces to build bases on its sovereign territory, the US would be far from happy. It has, however, accepted similar circumstances in the past. During the Cuban missile crisis, I believe there were around 50,000 fully equipped Russian soldiers stationed on that cigar-loving island. So called ‘Hawks’ at the time advocated, unsuccessfully of course, an invasion rather than blockade.

And do [not??] buy into this GWOT crap. The hawks who are dictating US foreign policy want nothing more than to crush Russia again,

Russia doesn’t need another tea-bagging, its virtually in ruins. Even if the US military were willing to bother, assuming they could get internal political support, what’s the point? Oil alone? This kinda clashes with your belief that the US oil barons are focusing on the ME. Of course, you could be arguing that the US is going to dominate the world, suck its oil up, kill babies, and remove sacrosanct impediments to cross-media ownership.

Tea-bagging and global domination aside, my understanding is that the Russians are mostly (happily) selling their oil to any buyers.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 2:32:00 pm  
Blogger Human said...

I'm siding mostly with Anthony on this 1 Addam_o1. There Rusia and the U.S. do compete, however strike capalities have been availible for decades. It is the Fundigelicals and Energy and Mil. Corporations that are the driving force in building these bases. It is Iran and Syria that are being surrounded.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 2:50:00 pm  
Blogger Human said...

And the South Central Asia Energy resources that are being secured.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 2:52:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

I don't have a list of sll the bases, but will look into it and get back to you. There are close to 800 bases around the world.

The Caspian sea was originally believed to hold much larger reserves than it panned out. Nonetheless, US bases in Afghanistan have been jsutified bi the GOWT, but have had as much to do with cutting off Russia access to the Caspian.

The Orange revolution last year in the Ukraine was a precursor to installing a US bases there also.

I have no idea about US plans for Russian hydrocanbons, but the devotees of the American Enterprise Institute and their Straussian merry men have a bone to pick with Russia, so their reason for the tea bagging is more a matter of ideology than geopolitical stratergy.

I don't have time to elaborate at the moent, but I will gladly fill in the blanks when I have time.

Controlling the ME enrgy reserves is not about owning the oil so much as control who gets to buy it. Whoever controls this will control the world economically and politically.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 2:52:00 pm  
Blogger Andjam said...

Just because the US says that Venezuela has a bad regime, doesn't mean it isn't true.

I'm a little disappointed at Israel about this.

I'm also a little surprised that Chavez is dealing with the Zionist entity. I would have thought close relations with the PA would be more likely. Norberto Ceresole might like to talk with Abu Mazen about his PhD thesis.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 3:31:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Describing Venezuela as a bad regime means is prety simplisic. OIf you are suggesting that there are aspects of the leadership that warrnats criticism, that's one thing. But what the US has to say is basless and contradictory. If the US had any legitimate criticism of Chavez, the ywoud have produced it. Instead, they accuse him of being a destabilising force in South America, when in fact he is working towards forging closer regional co-operations and greater independence from the US.

The US has laready tried overthrow the Chavez government and continues to finance oppsition groups. There are rumours that miilitary constractors are arriving in Columbia to launch some kind of offensive to destabilise the Chavez government. It seems Chavez has ample reson to be defensine and seek ways to proctect Venezuela from agression.

Chavez is also being very pro active in forming economic and security pacts with countries like Russia, India, China and Brasil. Why wouldn't hey also want to include Israel? It's a defense pact, not a political one.

Sunday, October 23, 2005 3:47:00 pm  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...


In response to your question:

I'm not dismiising "the fact the the Cuban Missile Crises was a threat to the US" I'm pointing out that independent Latin American countries like Cuba and Venezuala pose no threat to the US unless they are used as a springboard by some other power (the only example was Russians in Cuba in 1962).

However since 1962 US declarations that its little Latin American neigbours have been threats are sabre-rattling, defence budget boosting beatups - often pushed by Miami's Cuban emigre community.

Concerns about a "Russian combat brigade in Cuba" (Jimmy Carter, around 1978) and a few Russian made fighters in Venezuala are "pissing in the wind" when you compare it with the US ability to bomb Belgrade (a country relying on Russia) with little discernable Russian opposition.

Seperately I wouldn't confuse the ability of MIG 29s and Su 27( to 35) to "turn and burn" with their being on a par with F15s, F18s or F22s. These western fighters have the radar and missile avionics to shoot down the Russian fighters long before the dogfighting ability of the Russian fighters can be brought come into play.

Also time and again its been demonstrated in the Middle East that its the quality and training time of the pilots that counts (where the West (and Israel) has always been ahead).

Having a few Russian made jets in Malaysia, Venezuala etc goes more to politically rubbing it into the West than providing a viable jet fighter force.

Monday, October 24, 2005 1:05:00 pm  
Blogger 32325235345dfgdgfdg said...

Pray tell Loewenstein, because you seem to be torn in two different directions in the space of one paragrah, what is the bigger sin here, that Israel made an arms deal with Chavez, or that it cancelled it on the orders of the US?

And yet the Israeli arms industry cares little for diplomacy or morality, unless its hand is forced.

Because you seem to imply here that cancelling the contract was an act of moral and diplomatic courage. And yet, you make a snide remark that Venezuela is only a hostile regime on the word of the US. Is it a hostile regime or not? Did Israel do the right thing caving into US concerns, or is it another example of the immorality of the Israeli nation, they who can be bought and sold under the influence of the highest bidder?

Monday, October 24, 2005 1:23:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Gigolo Pete

I wouldn't place to much faith in the abolities of US pilots. In dog fighting miltary excercises, they rate pretty poorly, comming in behind Indian pilots.

Yo may have a point about the US figh avionics and radar abilities. The US just nixed plans by Israel to fit these to Venezuelan Sukoi's.

I thnk there are a lot of what ifs in these equtions. Neither the US nor Israeli forces have really had any real formidable opponent to prove their prowess one way or another.

When it comrs to militayr arms sales, there is no such thing as morality. The US has prbabyl the worst track record in this regard. Dick Cheney knew of Pakistan's nuclear arms program before it became public knowledge, but chose to keep it from Congress while they were voting on whether to allow sales of F16 fighters to Pakistan at the time.

I assume the fact that his wife sits on the board of Lokheed Martin had nothign to do with it.

Monday, October 24, 2005 1:57:00 pm  
Blogger Ian Westmore said...

human wrote:

I also understood that Venezuela had aquired the newest MIGs that as usual are much better than anything the U.S.has.

Is that the story the Pentagon are running with? LOL The best MiG (or the better Sukhois for that matter) the Russian would sell them isn't a match for a F-22 - one of which theoretically should defeat 4-5 MiG-29s, would be about equal to a F-15, but well short if you factor in AWACs. Even F-16s can still hold their own. The proposed F-35s are probably going to turn out to be turkeys, however.

Not that any of the above matters because:

Venezuela pilots were to receive training from the Cuban Airforce.

I very much doubt that pilots from either country will have anywhere near the training and experience of US ones so they'd loose even if their aircraft were superior.

Monday, October 24, 2005 4:02:00 pm  
Blogger Human said...

Peace to you and yours IAN. Yes I agree American Pilots are better trained, however I doubt that MIGS have been surpassed. They have always been better. Training does matter and that is why Americans usually win in the air(Yes AWACS and other stuff helps). The Cuban Af is anything than 3rd world. I use to stay up on top of military matters so, theyCuban AF) may have fallen off a bit. The supposed targets of any Cuban or Venezuelan are (defensive) ACC battle groups and the (offensive)Gulfo de Mexico oilrigs/lines.
Peace. yf Human

Monday, October 24, 2005 7:43:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

Let's not forget also that Venezuela not only has Sukois, but Russian anti ship missiles - which are unsurpassed. Even the best planes in the world are pretty impotent without an Aircraft Carrier to land on.

landing strips are quickly torn up by cluster bombs. The Sukoi 29's have the advantage of not requiring a runway to take off and land.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 1:43:00 am  

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