Chavez Prepares for War on Colombia
6:14 PM, Nov 9, 2009 • By JOHN NOONAN
He's going through the motions at least. It's doubtful that Chavez initiates a conflict with his better-armed neighbor while he's still waiting for those big Russian arms shipments. Chalk this up next to the dictator's long list of prior attention whoring: hosting of Russian supersonic bombers, his announcement of the uranium sharing plan with Iran, and his long history of blustery rhetoric against America's closest South American ally.
Colombian troops are better equipped, better trained, and are battle-hardened from years of fighting the FARC. The only edge that Chavez has is in the air, with his relatively modern Russian Sukhois and F-16s vs. Colombia's aging Kfir (Israeli modified Mirage 5) fighters, but that could be offset with one U.S. AWACs providing aerial radar assistance. President Obama will likely avoid involvement--not necessarily an unwise move considering Chavez wants to play up the U.S. as an imperial aggressor meme--but providing some token assistance in the form of a non-combat support role (like AWACs) might be enough to put Chavez in his place. And it would further signal other U.S. allies that the White House still takes our defense alliances seriously.