Commentary Magazine


Contentions

When Hugo Chavez passes on…

I certainly won’t shed a tear should Hugo Chavez succumb to cancer. Instead, I will look at his passing as an opportunity to bring accountability to the policy and intelligence community. Just as during the Cold War, there were anti-communists and anti-anti-communists, today the same dynamic is in play when it comes to counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation. Too many academics and analysts have dismissed the growing cooperation between Iran and Venezuela. Behind-the-scenes, Chavez has allegedly even provided a safe-zone for Iran to conduct some nuclear work.  There’s that persistent problem of the Iranian-built tractor factory in Venezuela which has never produced a tractor, but somehow merits imposition of a no-fly zone over its facilities.

When Hugo Chavez dies, we will finally have a reckoning for analysts. Who was right? Who was wrong? Who dismissed reports of Iranian involvement in Venezuela and who turned a blind eye to the fact Iran might work with other rogue leaders to farm out nuclear work. Alternately, were those concerned about Iran’s behavior simply alarmists in their analysis?

On a broader scale, however, it’s time for those who fancy themselves counter-proliferation experts as well as the anti-counter-proliferation (i.e., anti-sanctions) side to have a serious discussion: Chavez’s death may lead to a treasure trove of new intelligence about Iran’s activities and intentions. If Iranian activities in Venezuela were meant to augment Iranian terrorism or the Islamic Republic’s nuclear capabilities, what should be the consequences for Iran and for U.S. diplomacy? Will those who until this time seek to give the benefit of the doubt to Iran’s regime commit themselves to broader, perhaps even regime-crippling sanctions? Can we finally put aside this fiction that Iran’s nuclear program is meant only for civilian energy purposes? Will it be time to have a serious discussion about the need for regime change in Iran?


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.