• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Taunting Secretary Gates: A Red Card for Bolivia’s Morales

    On the way to a defense ministerial in Bolivia, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was asked about Iran’s growing presence in South America, particularly in Bolivia and Venezuela. He answered most cautiously:

    Bolivia, obviously, can have relationships with any country in the world that it wishes to. … But I think Bolivia needs to be mindful of the number of United Nations Security Council resolutions that have been passed with respect to Iran’s behavior.

    Gates said exactly what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last year. Nevertheless, at the defense ministerial—designed to advance inter-American security cooperation—Gates, in the best Obama Administration manner, offered an olive branch to his Bolivian hosts.

    As a hemisphere, we are more tightly linked than ever; never before has our collective well-being depended so much on one another. As Peru’s recent Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa once said, “one can’t fight with oneself, for this battle has only one loser.”

    For his effort at diplomacy, Gates was taunted for an hour by Bolivia’s populist authoritarian president, Evo Morales. In a raging discourse, Morales, playing the role of victim and winner, said the following:

    • He claimed that the U.S (under Presidents Bush and Obama) have/are working to destabilize Latin America, plotting coups and assassinations;
    • Despite “U.S. interventions,” the people’s revolutions are ahead in the game. Claimed Morales: “Latin American compatriots, we must recognize that the U.S. beat us in Honduras, the North American empire beat us. But the people of America also won in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. The score is 3–1
    • He accused U.S. Representative Connie Mack (R–FL) of being “a confessed assassin” and “conspiratorial agent against our brother Hugo Chavez.”

    For a player like Morales, who makes the rules as he goes, taunting the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. was all in a day’s work.

    On Iran, Morales proclaimed: “Bolivia under my government will have an agreement, an alliance, to anyone in the world! Nobody will forbid us!” Read: the U.S. has no international or moral authority to comment on any alliance or friendship that Bolivia chooses to make, particularly with Iran.

    The Gates fiasco in Bolivia yields four takeaway points:

    1. While he may not be the nightmare to the U.S. he longs to be, Morales demonstrated in his speech a quantity of venom, a lack of restraint, and complete disrespect for the U.S. that befits a bully and tyrant. It is time for the U.S. to speak up and go on the offense.
    2. The State Department’s tireless efforts to curry favor with Morales continue to fall on stony soil. They should cease.
    3. Regional organizations like the Organization of American States and events such as the Defense Ministerials of the Americas cannot bridge the ideological divides and pacify bad actors. Senior U.S. officials do not have to travel and pay to be publicly humiliated.
    4. Our new U.S. Congress needs to look closely at aid to Bolivia, whose president insults cabinet members, attacks individual Members of Congress, and appears to be doing quite fine with Venezuelan, Cuban, Iranian, and Russian help.

    Congress and the Obama Administration should give Morales a red card.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Taunting Secretary Gates: A Red Card for Bolivia’s Morales

    1. Stephanie, Phoenix, says:

      I agree with Bolivia's President. Just because we dont play well with others doesn't mean we have the right to dictate who everyone else plays with. I also think with all of the hatred that has been shown to americans, growing more and more tense over the last few years, we should pull back all of our aid to those countries and work it so it reduces our deficit. If we are not appreciated, we should at least be secure.

    2. Don Harper says:

      I believe Mr. Gates acknowledged Bolivia's right to to build relationships with any country they wish. He merely implied, rightly, that joining the camp of bad actors

      may have unfavorable results.Mr Morales is joining the ego-manical Hugo Chavez. Ultimately, it will not turn out well for either; their chosen path to socialism is doomed to failure. Venezuela's economy is already a disaster.

    3. Ace Sez says:

      The US Gov't has always sucked up to the tyrants in Central and South America and never got 'squat' for their sissy diplomatic groveling. Billions of tax payer dollars have been fwd'd to nations that hate our guts and make no bones about their hateful opinions of the USA–but we still continue to suck up and offer financial support to pll that are our enemies.

      Time to pull back and use the foreign-aid bux for the true benefit of American citizens—spend the money within the bounderies of the USA,

      Unfortuneatly we have a regime in the White House that thinks groveling and bad mouthing the USA makes him a better world leader–all the while we have a-holes like Morales in Bolivia and Chavez in Venezuala building up their armed forces with Russian and Chinese and Iranian weapons and personnel–there's just something internally wrong with our State Dept administration–too much inbreeding?

      We're gaining more enemies than allies under Obama's administration–we've almost bcome spinelss with liberals' agendas—I'd hate to see what happens if we had to invoke a mandatory military draft now-a-days—the Canadian border would be over-run with wimps and cowards !! All the more reason to honor and respect the ppl that have voluntarily enlisted in our military and are fighting for protrection of our Nation !! That's my opinion and I won't apologize for it. !!

    4. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      If you play with liars, cheaters and corruption you become one of them. Stop all aid to countries that want to play with the scum of the earth. Let them and their new friends taste the burden of such friendship.

    5. R Holland, Chandler, says:

      If you play with liars, cheats and corruption you become one of them. Stop all aid to countries that want to play with the scum of the earth. Let them and their new friends taste the burden of such friendship.

    6. AD - Downey CA says:

      Stephanie, does that mean that the Obama Administration shouldn't be interfering in the internal affairs of Arizona?

    7. Don, Saugus, CA says:

      Stephanie: You are correct, we don't have the right to dictate who "everyone else plays with" but, as this article says, we don't have to play whipping-boy in their ridiculous sophomoric games. As both you and the article correctly point out, the US Congress has a responsibility to the American citizen to ensure that any funds spent further AMERICAN agendas and goals. If other nations wish to advance their own goals, they should advance their own money.

      Nowhere in either Mr Walser's post or in any of the quotes he included is the US attempting to directly prohibit association between any two countries. Instead, Sec. Gates, like Sec Clinton, has attempted to remind Bolivia of the INTERNATIONAL condemnation of Iran for failure to participate in the society of nations like responsible players. He is warning Bolivia that associating with criminal regimes has consequences. Or it should at any rate. I have yet to see anything serious come out of this Chamberlain-esque administration.

    8. Daune, Pearl River, says:

      I remember Adolf Hitler very well, he was constantly in the news always smiling like a little tin solder, but he was no solder, no, he was a monster who was responsible for over seven million human deaths. However the godzilla of those days, (the forties) was another monster named Joseph Stalin who murdered 20 million of his own people.

      Today the monsters run rampant all across this planet and one day, probably in the next decade, the United States may no longer exist as a free nation. Assuming it still exist's.

    9. Bill Hodges, Oakland says:

      I know that it will probably not happen with this administration, but it's about time we start kicking some butt, and teach these "children", some manners.

      Just my opinion.

    10. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Bolivia must be one of those State Department triumphs that Hillary was talking about in her Wikileak squeek, uh, speech. All over the world, big successes like this have made us all proud. Oh! The World will be so thankful to America for redistributing all our wealth to them. And leaving Americans starving for a change.

      This reminds me of the old Domino Theory, Hugo, A Mad Dim Jihad, and this late comer all vomit on Gates, things Mdm. Secretary (Oops!) forgot somehow to handle. Pretty soon the whole world will be dumping on Hillary, "Well gosh! We'd better pay them off!" (some more). Monroe Doctrine has bought us what? And at what cost! Maybe Clinton is bragging about losing all the good will there ever was for America in this Hemisphere.

      Say! Wasn't it this Administration that keeps denying trade agreements with Columbia? I couldn't find a single thing Hillary did that actually benefits the United States! So, does anybody know what she was braying about? Hasn't Mexico gone to Hell? Do DINOs bray too? Hillary Clinton is no Democrat! There aren't any Democrats.

    11. Gualberto Monrroy says:

      The visit of Secretary Gates consolidates on motion only, and that is that Bolivia is not ready to engage with the U.S. in a friendly manner. In other words, the exchange for ambassadors; should not take place yet. Morales being the leader of a Nation, should have kept his posture as a leader; and not disrespect anyone, specially a diplomatic envoy. It is very clear the Morales obey the mandates of an extreme view of the past, rather than moving forward. He had his change to really represent the Bolivian people with dignity, but his emotions are the major driver of his policy of hatred. Take a look of what is taking place now, in terms of human rights? He and his government are systematically dismantling the family of that nation. Religion persecution is now at a high level, the Education system and the Freedom of Speech are locked up in his will; a will that obeys other international agendas, besides Venezuela. I could never imagine, that peaceful nation became a threat, not just for America, but for the entire continent. The narco-economy is well established and now the corruption have reached to the highest levels, making prior government’s corruption look small.

    12. InsightSur says:

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I'm only surprised that Gates went to Bolivia to begin with.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×