Bret Stephens writes in the Monday op-ed that the Obama administration should "take note that we are now on course for a replay" of the Cuban missile crisis — which saw a faraway power at odds with the U.S. deliver a threat to America's doorstep via a Latin American country.
Rather than Cuba hosting Russian weaponry, this time the suggestion is that Iran has quietly climbed into bed with the regime of Venezuela's Hugo Chavez in hopes of establishing a stable uranium supply to fuel its nuclear reactors.
Stephens lists a number of already-established industrial links between Tehran and Caracas, including an Iranian tractor factory, dairy plant and even a bicycle manufacturer on Venezuelan soil. All of these ties have also yielded very direct transport and shipping links between the two countries.
According to the article, Iran and Venezuela have now signed an agreement to hunt for what could be a vast uranium deposit in a remote Venezuelan region called Roraima Basin. A mineral resources company which operates a large uranium mine in Canada told Stephens the Roraima is the "geological look-alike" of its Canadian site, suggesting potentially huge amounts of the radioactive material.
In another fairly direct indication of the shared nuclear ambitions of the two countries, Stephens notes that senior officials in Venezuela's state-run oil company, military-industrial complex; state-owned mining concern, and the Minister of Interior himself are all Venezuelans of Iranian descent.
"Forty-seven years ago, Americans woke up to the fact that a distant power could threaten us much closer to home," concludes Stephens. "Perhaps it's time Camelot 2.0 take note that we are now on course for a replay."