Popularity at Any Price?

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jul 03, 2009 4:14 PM
In a little-commented-upon development, President Obama has moved to restore full diplomatic relations with Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.

In the meantime, Chavez is blaming the US for the constitutional crisis in Honduras.  Obviously, he knows who the senior partner is in the new US-Venezuela relationships, and is feeling his oats.

News analysis has focused on the restoration of diplomatic ties as a way for Obama to enhance the "popularity" of the US down in South America.  Fair enough -- but are we talking popularity at any price?

After all, no doubt President Reagan would have been much more "popular" wtih the USSR if he had simply decided to continue President Carter's policies of weakness and appeasement.    But Reagan understood that, first and foremost, he was supposed to be looking after America's national interest -- not his own personal popularity or the welfare of the world at large.