June 25, 2006
This fall the U.N. General Assembly will choose the next group of five countries to serve as rotating members of the Security Council, and the leading candidates from Latin America are Venezuela and Guatemala. U.S. diplomats sent a note to a number of other countries, one of which divulged it to the BBC. The crux of the U.S. argument: "We are deeply concerned that Venezuela would seek to disrupt the work of the Security Council and use the Council for ideological grandstanding rather than concrete problem-solving." Well, there's not much question about that. There is a big question, however, as to whether anti-American sentiment abroad is so strong that it will translate into a reckless vote in favor of Venezuela. The work of the Security Council could easily grind to a halt at some critical moment, giving ammunition to Neocons and others who would prefer to minimize U.S. reliance on the U.N. and multilateral diplomacy. (I'm not a big fan of that approach, but it would be foolish to throw away a potentially useful tool, as the Neocons seem eager to do.) Venezuela's presence on the Security Council would exacerbate a polarizing dynamic in global politics that is already very unhealthy.
I've been watching a few of the soccer matches off and on, and I've learned that if you step away for even a minute, you will probably miss a goal, and perhaps the only goal of the match. It must be a corollary of Murphy's Law. Among the countries of Latin America, anyway, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Ecuador made it to the Round of 16, while Paraguay, Costa Rica, and the U.S.A. were eliminated. Ecuador lost to England yesterday, 1-0, and Argentina prevailed over Mexico today, 2-1. Brazil is heavily favored to defeat Ghana on Tuesday. Wouldn't that be something if Brazil faces Argentina in the final match on July 9?
As expected, Pres. Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva announced that he will in fact run for reelection in October. He remains fairly popular, in spite of various corruption scandals involving his Workers Party, but he has acted in a responsible way so far, and it will be hard for anyone to beat him.