José Cárdenas on how the Obama Administration is losing Colombia:
After more than a decade of close relations, the U.S.-Colombia strategic partnership is fraying under the Obama administration. Begun under the Clinton administration with the implementation of Plan Colombia and supported throughout the George W. Bush years, the partnership has brought manifold benefits to both countries: Colombian cities are now safe from narco-terrorist violence and stability has been restored in a strategically located South American country. Sadly, this alliance is now adrift.
The first blow was the Administration’s failure to move with any alacrity to secure congressional approval of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, negotiated under President Bush. Recent stirrings on this front do nothing to mitigate the harm this has done to U.S. credibility in the eyes of most Colombians — not to mention the rest of the region. Hugo Chavez has a had a field day with the issue, telling anyone who will listen that this is where you will wind up when you put your trust in the yanquis: alone at the altar.
Unsurprisingly, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has sought out new economic partners, which has forced him into a shaky détente of sorts with Colombia’s nemesis Chavez. As Defense Minister under former President Alvaro Uribe, Santos surely has no illusions about the dangers Chavez poses to Colombian sovereignty with his support for Colombian narco-terrorists. That Santos is willing to take the chance on seeking an accommodation with Chavez speaks volumes about his lack of faith in the current U.S. administration to stand behind him.
This should send chills down one’s spine, if one wishes to see American foreign policy interests advanced.
But wait, there’s more! Greg Scoblete points out what has happened to the Obama Administration’s best-laid foreign policy plans. Of course, plans often have to be shunted to the side in the wake of events, but it is more than a little astonishing that a candidate ran for President in 2008 on a foreign policy platform that called, in part, for a course correction after “a little bit of a Middle East detour,” as though the United States did not have interests to pursue in the Middle East–especially after 9/11–and as though successors to the Bush Administration would not have to worry all that much (if at all) about what goes on in the region. Haven’t recent events proven the silliness of the notion that the Middle East was just some kind of “detour,” allegedly detracting from supposedly really important stuff?