After waging a successful campaign to lift term limits in February, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is on a rampage. He recently sent the military to take control of all the nation’s rice processing plants. According to the National Election Board, the change in the country’s Constitution was approved by 54.3 percent of the population. But despite his narrow margin of victory, Chávez plans to proceed with his imposition of socialism on the nation, and can now potentially run for president indefinitely.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) leaders in Ramallah, West Bank, on March 4, including Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and President Mahmoud Abbas. Reuters news described Fayyad as the "pointman in Western-backed reconstruction plans for the Gaza Strip that freeze out the territory's Hamas Islamist rulers."
A report released in January by the U.S. Joint Forces Command is warning of the potential for "rapid and sudden collapse" of the Mexican government. The "Joint Operating Environment 2008" document also lists Pakistan as one of two large and important states that "bear consideration," explaining that these would be "worst-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world." In addition to the report, countless government officials both in the United States and Mexico have offered similar analyses.
During a Gaza reconstruction conference held at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, on March 2, international donors pledged $4.481 billion in aid help the Palestinian economy and rebuild the devastated Gaza strip. The United States was represented at the conference by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who pledged $900 million — $300 million for Gaza reconstruction and another $600 million to support the Palestinian National Authority's (PNA) budget shortfalls and operating expenses.
In her first trip abroad since becoming secretary of state, Hillary Clinton traveled to four Asian countries including China, the world's most populous country, where human-rights concerns were trumped by global economic concerns during Clinton's February 20-22 visit. China is still an openly communist nation and has a dismal human-rights track record. But it also has the world's fastest-growing major economy and is the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities.