Here's a snapshot from the strange world of 21st century politics in Venezuela, where left-wing dictator Hugo Chavez is hyping the possibility of a US assassination attempt against him:
Bush administration officials may not hide their distaste for Mr. Chávez - that, everyone agrees, is a big part of the problem - but American officials still cringe at the accusations, which they dismiss as ludicrous.
"The U.S. has not planned, is not planning, will not plan and cannot plan to assassinate Hugo Chávez," the American ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, said in Caracas. "It would be a violation of both U.S. law and policy."
In Venezuela, though, where state television has broadcast video images of American officials criticizing Mr. Chávez as the evil empire music from "Star Wars" plays in the background, the threat is taken seriously.
It's the symbolic equivalent of asymmetric warfare - using our own pop culture against us. I'd love to see that video.