Conservative anti-imperialism

In Foreign Affairs, Javier Corrales coins a term I had not heard before: “conservative anti-imperialism.”

It describes Chávez’s approach to relations with the US: antagonistic, but not that much; virulently vociferous, but eager to make a sale.

The money quote:

“And that points to a final piece of the Chávez legacy. He wants to be remembered as the most anti-American leader the world has seen since Fidel Castro. In reality, Chávez broke with Fidel’s approach to the Yankee empire early on. To be sure, Chávez has enjoyed provoking the Americans, but only to a certain point, and never so much that the United States brought an embargo down on his head. So he has played his anti-Americanism conservatively: he has sided with the anti-imperialist FARC in Colombia, but  has also managed to stay on good terms with the Colombian government. He has cooperated with Iran, but has also maintained good relations with the pro-American Saudis. He avoided nuclear weapons …

Chávez came to understand that his expensive revolution needed the U.S. oil market and that he couldn’t put his access to that market at risk. If he dies soon, he should be remembered as the United States’ reliable oil partner — the ultimate seller.”