Skip to comments.Putin's billion-dollar arms sale risks souring Western détente
Posted on 07/24/2006 7:14:32 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
HUGO CHÁVEZ, the ardently anti-American President of Venezuela, arrives in Russia today to sign a billion-dollar arms deal that has infuriated and alarmed the US. The self-styled leftist revolutionary will sign an agreement with President Putin to buy 30 Sukhoi Su30 fighter jets and 30 military helicopters worth $1 billion (£540 million).
The two leaders will also discuss plans to build two Kalashnikov factories in Venezuela to add to the 100,000 Kalashnikov AK103 assault rifles that Venezuela has bought from Russia in the past year. The arms deals and the visit by Señor Chávez are the latest evidence of Mr Putins drive to re-establish Russia as a counterbalance to the West in international affairs.
But they threaten to sour relations with Washington only a week after Mr Putin and President Bush reaffirmed publicly their friendship at the G8 summit in St Petersburg. The US has repeatedly asked Russia to reconsider its arms sales to Venezuela, which the State Department says does not co-operate in the war against terrorism.
Washington has banned US arms manufacturers from selling to the oil-rich South American state, citing its support for Iraqi insurgents and close ties to Cuba, Iran and North Korea. In the international communitys fight against terrorism, Venezuela is a liability, Frank Urbancic, a senior State Department official, told the House International Relations subcommittee on terrorism recently. He also expressed concern that Venezuela planned to sell on its new Kalashnikovs, or the guns that they replace, to help to undermine pro-American governments in the region.
Military experts say that the Sukhoi jets could transform Venezuelas air force into the most powerful in South America within years. Señor Chávez, who calls Mr Bush an alcoholic imperialist, says that the hardware is needed to repel US plans to invade Venezuela and take control of its huge oil reserves.
He even said recently that he could imagine the Sukhoi jets firing missiles at an American aircraft carrier off Venezuelas main La Guaira port.
Russia says that the sales do not violate agreements and are breakthroughs in a region traditionally dominated by America.
Señor Chávez is visiting several countries including Belarus and Iran.
In Belarus yesterday, he proposed forming a combat team with President Lukashenko, whom Washington calls Europes last dictator.
surely there is someone in Russia we could pay to cause old Hugo to have a little accident ?
it is really not intelligent for us to just allow him to
go on & on . Haven't we learned a dern thing from Castro?
This is the same as the US selling top-line arms to Chechens, and Boris knows it. What an a**hole.
"The two leaders will also discuss plans to build two Kalashnikov factories in Venezuela to add to the 100,000 Kalashnikov AK103 assault rifles that Venezuela has bought from Russia in the past year. The arms deals and the visit by Señor Chávez are the latest evidence of Mr Putins drive to re-establish Russia as a counterbalance to the West in international affairs. "
Nice narrative but it's just Russia trying to make a buck.
got me by two minutes : )
Explosive belts give you far cheaper martyrdom.
Venezuela is not and never will be a real threat to the US. The only real weapon they have - oil - is the one they can never use. Keep sending that $$$ to Russia, Chunky...you'll soon be out of it.
I think it's time for the U.S. to change it's policy. Let it be known that from this day foward, the U.S. is gunning for all these two-bit dictators. You can bet they're all gunning for Bush. So what the hell. Let's kill 'em, kill 'em all.
Putin had a chance to do some good for Russia ... and he blew it
This is very doable and should be done under deep, deep cover very quickly.
I think so...throw out the rules !
It is going to take steel cajones to win this war
on these creeps . Let's show some!
Yes, indeed and Chavez is a cocky commie b@stard that doesn't deserve to be breathing our air. We need to hit him now before Castro dies and he declares himself the hardline ruler of the southern hemisphere.
Some American copper-clad weight loss capsules would do the trick. Applied to his head, we'd lose about 200 lbs of ol' Hugo.
"Nice narrative but it's just Russia trying to make a buck."
They are already doing that with the artificially high oil prices due to the instability Russia has created in the world.
I much prefer the clandestine approach. Same results and less anti-American b.s. we have to listen to.
I'd like to think that eventually people in Venezuela will rise up against him. Hunger turns into anger pretty quick. Might be wishful thinking though.
the USSR is up to no good again...
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Thanks for the post and the ping.
Before he spends too much building up his defenses against us, he should go have a talk with Saddam before he stretches a rope and ask him how his military buildup worked against the US.
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