The Spine

Show Of Force

By and

DEBKAfile, an intelligence Internet site put together daily by ex-Mossad staffers and other former Israeli security personnel, has often been on target and prematurely so. Sometimes it has been wrong. I don't know whether what seems to me to be the quite plausible report on a military alliance cemented at the 14th conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana earlier this month is reliable or not.

The coalition--uniting Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela--seems to be taking shape at the initiative of Hugo Chávez, but with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad providing the show weapons. Castro apparently knows what taking risks with America's allergy to long-distance weaponry in the hemisphere can do. Also involved, says DEBKAfile, are Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The involvement of Somalia and Sudan wouldn't surprise me. Iran and Venezuela can bankroll even a very ambitious set of operations, that's for sure. What would Bush do? What would the Democrats do? Both are interesting queries. I'm more interested in what a Democratic response might be. Or even if the Democrats are still able to think about such topics.

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