Thursday, February 09, 2006

Bush powwows with Morales

Plans afoot to chalk out another axis against the "evil" Chavez. But will the strategy work?

Dubya must have had to swallow loads of self-pride in picking up the receiver and making that call. Morales has been going around town with his communist agenda and has legalised coca cultivation, something that has raised Big daddy's already furrowed eyebrows.

But geopolitics makes for strange bedfellows. Call it conventional wisdom or considered compulsion, Simon Tisdall gives you a lowdown on just why the superpower is appeasing a local dwarf:

But Mr Bush has increasingly urgent reasons to raise his game. They include Mr Chávez's confrontational stance, his regional oil politics and his alliance with Fidel Castro's Cuba. This week he called on Venezuelans to arm themselves and "launch a counter-attack against US imperialism". His speech followed tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.

The US is also concerned that China, hungry for raw materials and energy deals, is filling a Latin American vacuum caused by post 9/11 neglect. Washington's security, immigration, and drug worries are all linked to the so-called "slow growth trap" in which many regional countries are stuck despite the current commodity led export boom.

Expectedly, the man is a regional superstar.

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