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No, Mr. President, War against Venezuela Is a Bad Idea

October 7, 2018 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

America’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who routinely
promotes the agendas of friendly dictatorships such as Saudi
Arabia, recently stepped out as a defender of liberty to denounce
repression in Venezuela. She evidently wants regime change, via
means unstated. Furthermore, President Donald Trump supports
military action. But intervention in Venezuela is a dumb idea.

The Maduro government is a disaster. Little pretense remains
that the country is a democracy; the regime maintains power through
brutality and violence.

At the same time, President Nicolas Maduro has proved to be an
enemy of the poor. Social services, including health care, have
collapsed. Getting enough to eat has become a major challenge in
this oil-rich nation, with roughly 90 percent of the population now
falling below the poverty line. Amazingly, the ruling regime has
“turned natural resource wealth into a curse,” as noted
my Cato Institute colleague Juan Carlos Hidalgo. Millions of
Venezuelans have fled in despair.

The result is a widespread desire to free the nation from
incompetent dictatorship. Haley joined demonstrators outside the UN
and declared that “we are not just going to let the Maduro
regime backed by Cuba hurt the Venezuelan people anymore.”
How she planned to stop Caracas, however, she did not say.

It would be another
nation-building disaster.

But Haley sounds moderate compared to others. For instance, last
year the president, who ran as an opponent of Hillary Clinton’s
continual war-making, proposed the “military option.”
Faced with opposition within his administration and throughout
Latin America, he publicly dropped the idea but apparently has not
forgotten it. For instance, U.S. administration officials most
recently encouraged a coup. Trump also observed that
“It’s a regime that frankly could be toppled very
quickly by the military, if the military decides to do
that.”

He isn’t the only one urging war. Florida Sen. Marco
Rubio, who repeatedly backed counterproductive military
intervention in the Middle East, now argues that Venezuela poses a
security threat to America warranting possible military action.
Fernando Cutz, who formerly served as staff for the National
Security Council, urged a multilateral response. Venezuelan
opposition leader Antonio Ledezma promoted “humanitarian
intervention.” Expatriate Daniel Di Martino argued that
“American intervention could have economic benefits for both
Venezuela and the United States.”

The contention that Washington should wreak death and
destruction for the money is frankly ridiculous, but the argument
for humanitarian intervention is taken more seriously.
Nevertheless, a war would be a great mistake.

First, Venezuela is not unique. Other brutal dictatorships have
oppressed and killed their own people while creating economic
misery. North Korea, Eritrea, Burma/Myanmar, Egypt, and Zimbabwe
come to mind. Sometimes U.S. sanctions have compounded grotesque
domestic misrule, as in Cuba, Sudan and Iran. China …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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