Atmospherics Are Important . . .

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 2, 2011

Which is why the decision to have Secretary of State Clinton pose happily with the dictator, Hugo Chavez, after Chavez rejected the credentials of the American ambassador-designate to Venezuela, and dared Washington to break off diplomatic relations in protest, is a ridiculous one.

I recognize that Chavez aims to provoke the United States, and that oftentimes, it is necessary for the United States to be seen as not taking Chavez’s bait, but there are times when it is necessary for the U.S. to show some semblance of displeasure in response to Chavez’s antics. This is one of those times. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever for Venezuela to reject the credentials of Ambassador-designate Larry Palmer, save a desire on the part of Hugo Chavez to pick as many fights as possible with the United States in order to distract from the awful conditions to be found in his own country. And at some point in time, it would be helpful for the Obama Administration to put its foot down and make it clear that Chavez’s antics would no longer be tolerated. Denying Hugo Chavez smiling photo-ops may serve as a good start.

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