Mona Charen

In the final days of the transition, Obama gave an interview to Univision in which he mentioned that Hugo Chavez's Venezuela "has been a force that has interrupted progress in the region." He also mentioned that Chavez, a Castro acolyte, has been funding the FARC in Colombia, the revolutionary insurgency that has engaged in a terror campaign including murder and kidnapping. "We need to be firm," said President Obama, "when we see this news that Venezuela is exporting terrorist activities or supporting malicious entities like the FARC. This creates problems that are not acceptable."

Well, Chavez was not happy. "No one should say that I threw the first stone at Obama. He threw it at me " In 2006, Chavez made world headlines by saying of President Bush during an appearance at the United Nations, "The devil came here yesterday. And it smells of sulfur still today." Last week, responding to President Obama, Chavez said "I hope I am wrong, but I believe Obama brings the same stench, to not say another word."

What inflamed Chavez? It wasn't the cowboy boots or the Texas twang or the "go it alone" arrogance of George W. Bush. It was the truth. Was it an accident that Obama took such a firm line against Chavez, or was he ensuring that he will never be obliged to live up to his unfortunate campaign promise to meet personally with America's enemies?

As for Hizbollah, Iran, Hamas, al-Qaida, even, to a degree Russia, they have their own reasons to be hostile to us and to our interests. The new occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. won't make a particle of difference to their implacable enmity or menace.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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