"[The United States is confident that its own relations with Western Hemisphere countries] "will in no way be diminished by a few, aging Blackjack bombers visiting one of Latin America's few autocracies." --Sec. of State Condaleeza Rice on the imminent death of the Monroe Doctrine, Ap, 09.18.2008
Caracas, Venezuela--Blackjack, or Applejack? As a point of fact, the "Blackjack bomber" Tu-160 isn't as old as our still-operational B-52 bomber (deployed after 1952), having first been deployed in 1987. The Tu-160 was stationed in the Ukraine, and by its appearance, was a response to the development of the American B-1 bomber. One look at it tells you that it works and that it's a worthy weapons platform, Rice's overblown rhetoric aside.
It's only logical that a nation will begin arming itself because a neighboring country has been illegally invading and destabilizing other nations and has become interventionist again, and that's exactly what Venezuela and Russia are doing these days. They aren't alone in this.
Iran and China are also entering into economic relations and blocs with nations like Venezuela. With American military aggression under the administration of George W. Bush and the last few sessions of Congress at a fever pitch, who could blame any nation for a defense buildup? The American press, of course:
Russia's economic influence is clearly expanding in the Americas. Bolivia announced Thursday that it would sign an oil and natural gas exploration deal with Gazprom. Terms of the deal weren't immediately disclosed.
And Sechin announced that five of Russia's biggest oil companies are looking to form a consortium to increase Latin American operations. State-controlled Rosneft, Lukoil, Gazprom Neft, Surgutneftegaz and TNK-BP hope to build a US$6.5 billion refinery to process Venezuela's tar-like heavy crude, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported. ("Venezuela-Russia ties deepen despite US pressure," AP, 09.18.2008)
All that this country desires is to see the neighboring countries stable, orderly, and prosperous. Any country whose people conduct themselves well can count upon our hearty friendship. If a nation shows that it knows how to act with reasonable efficiency and decency in social and political matters, if it keeps order and pays its obligations, it need fear no interference from the United States. Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society, may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may lead the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power.