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Hugo Chavez, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Introduction

Since becoming the President of Venezuela in 1998, Hugo Chavez has turned into one of the most popular figures in the international diplomatic landscape. Under the influence of his populist decisions, Venezuela has undergone a profound political shift. The rise in oil prices boosted economic growth in Venezuela and gave Hugo Chavez a serious strategic advantage over its political opponents, including the U.S. But no other topic has ever generated more media concern than the issue of Venezuela-Iran relations. Today, Hugo Chavez makes everything possible to strengthen Venezuela’s friendship with Iran, while other countries, including the U.S., view such relations as detrimental and potentially dangerous to the stability of the international order.

With Hugo Chavez its President, Venezuela has changed the strategic direction of its foreign policies and diplomatic ties. Russia, China, and Iran became Venezuela’s strategic international partners. On February 15, 2006, after meeting the speaker of the Iranian Parliament, the head of the Venezuelan parliament said: “From our souls, we feel that our two nations are brothers and that together with other peoples we are carrying the flag of dignity and sovereignty” (Holland). The problem is not in that Venezuela maintains close diplomatic ties with Iran. The problem is that Iran is fairly regarded as one of the greatest nuclear threats to the modern world. Iran is the country which continuously neglects the warnings and policy recommendations of numerous international organizations regarding its nuclear developments, including the United Nations Security Council. Venezuelan President was among those, who did not vote for Iran being sent to the UN Security Council (Holland). Both countries express support of each other’s most unpopular policies and constantly strengthen their military and economic ties (Kurtzleben). These relations worry the United States, and many other countries consider Venezuela-Iran diplomacy as the major threat to the stability of the world order. However, Venezuela holds a different view on the issue.

Oil is the basic driver of close diplomatic relations between Venezuela and Iran. Venezuela remains among the leaders of oil production in Latin America, and its partnership with Iran as the second largest member of OPEC is the necessary prerequisite for creating a stable diplomatic alliance (Holland). Yet, Venezuela also enjoys the effects, which its attitudes toward Iranian domestic and foreign policies produce on the rest of the diplomatic world. Chavez says that he “does not really care what Washington thinks. We aren’t making alliances here against Washington” (Sanchez), but he does not try to resolve the mystery around Venezuela-Iran relations. Venezuela uses its foreign policy toward Iran to weaken the strategic position of the U.S. and to create a multi-polar web of diplomatic relationships, in which Venezuela will occupy one of the central positions. Venezuela is bent on becoming a Latin American power and is fanatical in its diplomatic approach to dealing with the U.S. (Morgenthau).

In this situation, Venezuela has at least two alternatives. First, it can stop forcing its relationships with Iran. This diplomatic decision will finally calm down the whole world and will cease the international policy fight over the nuclear implications of these relations. In this case, Venezuela also will lose a valuable strategic partner. Today, Iran actively supports the reformation of the oil industry in Venezuela and helps the country to facilitate the Bolivarian Revolution (Holland). Iranian investments in Venezuelan economy are constantly rising (Morgenthau). The two countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which lays the foundation for closer military support and cooperation between Venezuela and Iran (Morgenthau), and Venezuela would be extremely reluctant to lose Iran and its investments. The second alternative for Venezuela is to resolve the mystery which surrounds its relations with Iran. Venezuela can publicly explain to the world that it does not try to access and use Iranian nuclear achievements and resources. This alternative, however, will not let Venezuela preserve its diplomatic intrigue. Without this diplomatic mystery, Venezuela will not be able to use its relations with Iran as the source of its strategic advantage over the U.S.

International relations theories provide a valuable insight into the most complex foreign policy issues. Realism and liberalism often serve the two basic points of diplomatic analysis. Realism considers material coercive power and military power as the primary dangers to other states (Carr 43). Realists would view the current state of Venezuela-Iran relations as the reflection of Venezuela’s strivings to assume the role of a political hegemon. Realists would reject an opinion that Venezuela-Iran relations are based on purely economic considerations. Realism would push the nuclear and military implications of Venezuelan foreign policies to the foreground. Simultaneously, liberalists would consider the growing diplomatic proximity between Venezuela and Iran as a good means to develop and expand the network of economic and social ties between these countries. As long as Venezuela and Iran remain within acceptable limits of legal and ethical performance, their relations will exemplify a well-performing system of interactions with the potential for mutual gain (Moravcsik 515). Despite potential benefits and mutual gain, these relations are likely to remain an issue of the principal public concern in the nearest time.

Conclusion

In the current system of international diplomacy, the relations between Iran and Venezuela remain the issues of the primary public concern. Because Iran is fairly regarded as the source of the major nuclear threats to the stability of the world order, its diplomatic relations with Venezuela are believed to have far-reaching nuclear implications for the whole international community. In reality, economic factors and oil production are the two basic drivers of this political and diplomatic friendship. Venezuela consciously rejects an opportunity to resolve the mystery surrounding its foreign policies, and uses these complexities as the basic source of its strategic advantage over the U.S. Regardless of benefits and potential mutual gain for both countries, the relations between Venezuela and Iran are likely to remain the diplomatic issue in the nearest time.

Works Cited

Carr, E.H. The Twenty-Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of Internaitonal Relations. Hampshire: Palgrave, 2001.

Holland, A. “Venezuela Iran’s Best Friend?” Venezuelananalysis.com. Venezuelan Analysis, 11 March 2006. Web. 03 April 2010.

Kurtzleben, D. “Iran-Venezuelan Ties Worry US”, Asia Times. Asia Times, 12 August 2009. Web. 03 April 2010.

Moravscik, A. “Taking Preferences Seriously: A Liberal Theory of International Politics.” International Organization, 51.4 (1997): 513-553. Print.

Morgenthau, R.M. “The Emerging Axis of Iran and Venezuela”, The Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal Online, 8 September 2009. Web. 03 April 2010.

Sanchez, F. “Russia Offers Venezuela Nuclear Help, Chavez Says”, Yahoo News. Associated Press, 2 April 2010. Web. 03 April 2010.

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