Jamie Freeze Baird
The ticking bomb in our backyard
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By Jamie Freeze Baird
September 30, 2009

Love it or hate it, America has become entrenched in foreign affairs. If you turn on the news or pick up the paper you can read a lot about US relations in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. However, if you want to learn more about US relations in Central or South America, you will need to dig a little deeper. It seems strange that we are more interested in foreign policy in places half-way around the world, yet we ignore our neighbors to the south. I have been guilty of skipping Central American news and moving straight to Middle Eastern news, but lately, I have begun paying more attention to our Southern neighbors. In paying more attention to Central or South American news, I quickly realized that America's biggest external threat isn't Osama bin Laden, Kim Jong-il, or even Ahmadinejad; rather, our biggest external threat can be found in Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales.

Venezuela and Bolivia are prime examples of our foreign policy's Achilles heel. Both countries are heavily involved in the drug trade. Morales, the new "President" of Bolivia changed the country's Constitution to make it illegal for a President to hold any other leadership position. However, Morales remains head of the Coca Growers Federation. Yes, you read that correctly. The President of Bolivia not only grows coca (the primary ingredient in cocaine), but he also proudly represents other coca growers. Of course, this fact makes it difficult for Drug Enforcement Agency agents to persuade Morales to partner with the US to halt the drug trade. Morales, in response to pressure from the US regarding drug policies, booted the US ambassador and DEA agents from the country. I suppose the agents did not take kindly to the popular cocaine tourism in Bolivia. The cocaine tourism trade is so popular that people can go to cocaine bars throughout Bolivia. Chavez, "President" of Venezuela aids and abets Morales in the drug trade, yet the US is silent on the issue.

If only cocaine was the only problem the US had with Bolivia and Venezuela, but alas, nuclear weapon proliferation is also a growing concern. In speaking with a Bolivian political analyst who is currently seeking political asylum in the US after Morales tried to assassinate him, I learned that with Chavez's help, Morales shipped yellow cake (a necessary nuclear weapon component) to Iran. Given the fact that Iran has just launched two short-range missiles, I find this information very disturbing. Furthermore, I learned that Chavez has over thirty nuclear weapons that can hit all of the major US cities. I didn't read this in the New York Times, and I didn't watch a news segment about this on FOX. Quite frankly, it concerns me that the media has not brought this to the attention of the American public. The political analyst I spoke with expressed deep frustration with the American media for not exposing this potent danger. He warned me that Bolivia and Venezuela posed a larger, more immediate threat to the US than Iran could ever dream of.

I learned all of this information a month ago. I've done numerous Google and Lexis searches for news stories exposing the Venezuelan/Bolivian threat. However, all I can find are obscure blogs that hint at considerable danger. Obama's website only devotes the following paragraph to Latin American foreign policy:

    "The future of the United States is inextricably bound to the future of the people of the Americas. We are committed to a new era of partnership with countries throughout the hemisphere, working on key shared challenges of economic growth and equality, our energy and climate futures, and regional and citizen security. We are committed to shaping that future through engagement that is strong, sustained, meaningful, and based on mutual respect."

This statement does nothing to reassure me. America was sucker-punched eight years ago from an ignored threat half-way around the world. This time, we are gearing up to be sucker-punched from an ignored threat a little over one thousand miles from us. Will we ignore the ticking bomb in our own backyard? Or will we do something before it is too late?

© Jamie Freeze Baird

 

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Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.

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