Hugo Chavez: Not Resting in Peace

I’m still playing catch-up after my week away. When I was in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a week ago Tuesday, I heard the news that Hugo Chavez, self-anointed dictator of Venezuela, had finally succumbed to the cancer he had been fighting for some time. He had availed himself of the Cuban healthcare system for treatment, putting his future in the hands of ideological soulmates, believing to the end, I suppose, that the socialist paradise would be his temporal salvation. He was wrong.

Chavez sought to do for Venezuela what Castro did for Cuba, what the family of looney leaders have concocted for North Korea, and what other assorted socialist-communist visionaries have attempted in various parts of the world. He hated the United States, particularly when George Bush was president, calling Bush at one point “the devil.” I think he was a little confused about the identity of the devil; that confusion probably has lifted now:

This motif occurred to more than one cartoonist:

Chavez was also one of the darlings of the radical Occupy Movement. This has certainly been a downer for them:

The cult of personality Chavez promoted in Venezuela was no different than that of Mao’s in China or Castro’s in Cuba. And like both of them, he did his best to bully his opposition by shutting down all media outlets that wouldn’t bow down to his socialist policies. Freedom was becoming a rare commodity in that nation.

While I can feel sorrow for a lost soul, I cannot be unhappy that his reign of terror and error has come to an abrupt end. Perhaps for the people of Venezuela who still understand the principles of liberty, there is hope now for their future.

The Blind Man Can See Clearly

The saga of Chen Guangcheng is not over. For those who haven’t been following this story, let me summarize. Chen is a blind Chinese human rights activist. China’s policy of limiting the number of children a family can have has led to many forced abortions. Chen’s “crime” was to expose this unbridled government genocide against innocent children. China’s history of disrespect for human rights is well documented.

For this activity, he was sentenced in 2006 to four years in jail. When that sentence expired in 2010, the government kept him under house arrest, turning his home into a fortress of walls, security cameras, and armed guards. Somehow, Chen escaped this house prison and made his way to the American embassy seeking protection and asylum.

This became an embarrassment to the Obama administration in the person of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who didn’t want to offend the Chinese government. Chen’s fate hung in the balance for a few days until he was supposedly allowed to emigrate to the United States as a student. He’s still in China, in a Beijing hospital, and until he actually arrives in the US, his friends and supporters don’t know whether to believe it will happen.

The Obama administration kept Chen twisting in the proverbial political winds for quite some time as it tried to figure out what to do.

Good relations with China almost trumped the life of a brave individual pointing out the abuses of Chinese policy. But then why would Obama care much that China forces abortions? Given his own stand on the issue, I doubt that concerns him. He doesn’t mind turning a “blind” eye to what China is doing. It’s more than a little ironic that the blind man has clearer vision than those who say they can see:

This is only one of a multitude of reasons why this president must be turned out of office this November.

The Occupiers’ Supporters

“Occupying” seems to have become a fulltime occupation for some. Hey, it beats working, right? At least that’s the impression some of the occupiers give. Have you seen the list of organizations and individuals that are supporters of this movement? They include a variety of communist organizations, as well as the official Communist Party. And don’t forget the Nazi Party; they’re on board, too. Throw in the Black Panthers, Louis Farrakhan,B and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and you have quite an assembly. Foreign “dignitaries”  and groups who have provided verbal support include Hugo Chavez, Iran’s Supreme Ayatollah Khamenei, the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, Hezbollah, the nation of North Korea, and the Communist Party of China.

Greetings, comrades and jihadists!

Everyone’s anti-capitalist to some extent. Corporations are evil, you see. Inherently so. Don’t make any distinctions between those who provide valuable products and services, and who give massive sums to charity and those who are operated by selfish thugs. Just declare them all to be—in the words of a bygone era—Robber Barons.

Such righteousness on the part of the occupiers. Are you aware that some of the leaders have now applied for a trademark for the name “Occupy Wall Street”? How very capitalist of them.

One cartoonist created a fable of sorts to illustrate the mindset of the occupiers:

Oh, you mean there’s a political aspect to this? Is that why President Obama has made supportive statements with respect to this “movement”? Are these really the people with whom he wants to be associated?

Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to win him many votes.

Cartoon Commentary Today

My topics for the last two days have been the Korean situation and the WikiLeaks problem. How about if we just concentrate today on some of the better cartoons dealing with these two issues? Let’s start with Korea where “maximum leader” Kim Jong-il, not quite on his deathbed but preparing for that eventuality, is ready to pass the baton to his son:

Did I say baton? Perhaps I meant sword. How can North Korea get away with these provocations? What allows them to thumb their nose at the world?

Ah, yes, that explains it—our good friends, the communist Chinese.

On to WikiLeaks, the brunt of which falls on our Secretary of State:

Where will the leaks appear next?

And who will be the next target?

It’s getting pretty bad.

The Korean Situation

Last week, North Korea attacked South Korea. This is an old story: it happened in 1950 as well, which led to a three-year war [police action?] that ended in a truce, but not a real solution to the dilemma.

The North has never given up its original intent—to take over the entire Korean peninsula. It remains one of the most hardline communist governments in the world, and continues to be supported by China. When it chose to fire missiles at a South Korean island, killing civilians, it blamed South Korea and the United States for conducting military exercises. These have been conducted for the past 57 years. What makes them an incitement to action now? The North’s attempt to cast blame on the South is ludicrous, but that’s the nature of the regime. What is America’s response to this outrage?

Well, at least we are blaming the right nation. But are we willing anymore to act on what we know to be the facts of this case? What military options do we have that will show our resolve?

I wonder if that’s one of the options currently under consideration? What will it take before we really get tough with this rogue nation?

That’s much better.

Back in the early 1950s, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who was in command of the U.S. troops in Korea, promoted the use of nuclear weapons to end the conflict. He believed we could use them strategically on North Korea and its ally, Communist China, to resolve the military impasse. I don’t know if he was right in this view or not; I tell my students that I’m not sure it was the best option. Yet there are times when one longs for decisiveness. MacArthur was wrong in going against Truman publicly, since the president was his commander-in-chief. But one can be forgiven for speculating what might have been if his plan had been followed. Perhaps we wouldn’t have this situation facing us today.

Regardless, this is a test of the Obama administration. How will it handle this ongoing tension? What actions will it take to deal with North Korea’s development of nuclear missiles? Will it be firm or will it wilt under pressure?