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Putin, Xi, Assad, and Maduro vs. the American Hegemon

April 15, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

The American foreign policy Blob’s latest worry is that
Venezuela’s radical leftist government is reaching out to the Middle East for support
against growing pressure from Washington.

Specifically, President Nicolás Maduro is reportedly trying to
establish extensive political and financial links with Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad and his ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. The latter has repeatedly condemned U.S. policy towards Maduro, and
already appears to have shadowy economic ties to Caracas. There are
indications that Maduro’s regime may be utilizing Hezbollah to
launder funds from the illegal drug trade.

Washington’s fear is that lurking behind an
Assad-Hezbollah-Maduro alliance is America’s arch-nemesis, Iran,
which has close relations with both Assad and Hezbollah. Tehran’s
apparent objective would be to strengthen the Venezuelan regime,
boost anti-U.S. sentiment in the Western Hemisphere, and perhaps
acquire some laundered money from a joint Maduro-Hezbollah
operation
to ease the pain of U.S. economic sanctions
re-imposed following the Trump administration’s repudiation of the
nuclear deal.

Although Iran, Assad, and Hezbollah remain primarily concerned
with developments in their own region, the fear that they want to
undermine Washington’s power in its own backyard is not unfounded.
But U.S. leaders should ask themselves why such diverse factions
would coalesce behind that objective.

It is hardly the only example of this to emerge in recent years,
and the principal cause appears to be Washington’s own excessively
belligerent policies. That approach is driving together regimes
that have little in common except the need to resist U.S. pressure.
Washington’s menacing posture undermines rather than enhances
American security, and especially in one case—provoking an
expanding entente between Russia and China—it poses a grave
danger.

The current flirtation between Caracas and anti-American
factions in the Middle East is not the first time that American
leaders have worried about collaboration among heterogeneous
adversaries. U.S. intelligence agencies and much of the foreign
policy community warned for years about cooperation between Iran and North Korea over
both nuclear and ballistic missile technology. During the Cold War, a succession
of U.S. administrations expressed frustration and anger at the de
facto alliance between the totalitarian Soviet Union and democratic
India. Yet the underlying cause for that association was not hard
to fathom. Both countries opposed U.S. global primacy. India was
especially uneasy about Washington’s knee-jerk diplomatic and military support for Pakistan, despite
that country’s history of dictatorial rule and aggression.

Alienating India was a profoundly unwise policy. So, too, has
been Washington’s longstanding obsession with weakening and
isolating Iran and North Korea. Those two countries have almost
nothing in common, ideologically, politically, geographically, or
economically. One is …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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