- By Kate PalmerKate Palmer is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy.
It looks like Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has another reason to hate the United States. According the DC-based Institute of World Politics, several American bloggers are responsible for the breakdown of a $630 million deal in which Chávez was to buy military aircraft from the Spanish firm EADS CASA. The company is claiming that it would have lost money on the deal, but several bloggers who have been following the story, including Professor J. Michael Waller at Venezuelastan, are being credited with forcing EADS CASA to reconsider. SecureTheHomeland.org, for example, initated a letter-writing campaign so U.S. citizens could express their distaste for the deal, even helpfully spelling out some of the negative consequences it perceived the purchase would have for Americans. According to that blog,
Here’s why doing business with EADS CASA is bad for the United States:
It would reward EADS CASA for ignoring US national security interests. It would reward EADS CASA for circumventing our nonproliferation laws and breaking our military embargo. It would pump billions of American tax dollars into a foreign company whose largest shareholders are the governments of France, Germany, Spain and Russia. It would help keep that company afloat as takes business away from American aircraft companies. It would inject cash into a jobs program for the ruling Socialist Workers Party of Spain, at the expense of allies who have stood by the United States and at the expense of American workers and companies. It would subsidize the profitless sale of aircraft to Hugo Chavez.”
The campaign appears to have worked. Waller is calling the reversal “another example of the New Media’s impact on international politics.” (It’s a phenomenon Dan Drezner and Henry Farrell documented in this FP article two years ago.)
For now, Chávez can be added to the venerable list of names thwarted by investigative bloggers. That is, at least until he finds some other country to sell him planes. A country that’s perhaps less inclined to bend to American will. I’m sure he’ll think of something.