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Military Force Will Not Achieve U.S. Objectives in Venezuela

May 8, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Trump administration says it is determined to alleviate the
plight of the Venezuelan people. And they are suffering. The Hugo
Chavez-Nicolas Maduro regime has proved to be a horror show:
undemocratic and brutal, ostentatiously destroying the
nation’s economy in the name of socialism.

But President Donald Trump cares little for those suffering even
more elsewhere. For instance, he backs Saudi Arabia in an
aggressive war which has killed tens of thousands of Yemeni
civilians. He bestows symbolic hugs on Egypt’s President
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who slaughtered hundreds of protestors and
jailed tens of thousands of critics, demonstrators, and stray
Egyptians caught up in ubiquitous dragnets. For the Trump
administration, Venezuela is only about politics. Votes in Florida,
specifically.

Yet the administration can’t even get the public relations
right. A few weeks ago, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to
Venezuela’s neighbor, Colombia, to strike a Reagan-esque pose
in calling on the Maduro government to open a bridge into Venezuela
to allow entry of humanitarian aid. Alas, few observers saw much
comparison to President Ronald Reagan’s memorable trip to
Berlin when he urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear
down this wall.”

Venezuela’s national
implosion is a tragedy, but it is not Washington’s
responsibility.

Worse, the administration’s grand architects of regime change
have proved to be exquisite blunderers. Their incompetence likely
has made Nicolas Maduro’s ouster significantly more difficult to
achieve. They could be called the gang that can’t shoot straight,
except that they don’t plan to get anywhere near any fighting that
occurs. They see their jobs as organizing other people to do the
hard work, take the risks, and bear the costs of failure.

A few months ago, the administration triggered the current
process, recognizing Juan Guaido as the legitimate president. He
had colorable authority, through the National Assembly, of which he
is president, but the backing of Washington and fifty-three other
governments so far have proved to be worth little more than a cup
of coffee in Caracas.

The Trump administration assumed a quick victory. It invited the
Venezuelan military to abandon Maduro and side with Guaido.
However, Maduro and Chavez before him had transformed the military
leadership after an unsuccessful coup attempt against the latter.
There were a number of low- to mid-level defectors from the armed
services, but not nearly enough to undermine regime control.

Which left the administration fulminating helplessly. It imposed
sanctions, to little effect other than to worsen the suffering of
the Venezuelan people. The president and his officials blamed
everyone else—the Cubans, Russians, and Chinese, as well as
Guaido, for misleading them about his support. After lecturing
Russia that spheres of influence were no longer …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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