Friday, May 01, 2009

Clinton Claims 'Engaging' Hugo Chavez Could Counter Chinese-Iranian Inroads in Latin America

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today defended the Obama administration's "engagement"--code for appeasement--of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and other left-wing, anti-U.S. Latin american leaders as a way to counter "quite disturbing" Chinese and Iranian inroads in the region. AFP reports:

Clinton said President Barack Obama has had to take a new tack after his predecessor George W. Bush's efforts to isolate such leaders only made them "more negative" toward Washington and receptive to other powers.

"I don't think in today's world ... that it is in our interest to turn our back on countries in our own hemisphere," Clinton told diplomats and other State Department staff.

She described the new world as "a multipolar world where we are competing for attention and relationships with at least the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians," adding such countries can soon fill the void.

"If you look at the gains, particularly in Latin America, that Iran is making, that China is making, it's quite disturbing," the chief US diplomat said.

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