Trump’s Reckless Venezuela Bluster
Rod Dreher flagged Trump’s bizarre hint that military intervention in Venezuela might be an option. That would be a colossal error, and regional governments have already made it clear that they flatly oppose it:
Standing at Pence’s side in Cartagena after the two met, Santos said he had repeatedly told Pence in no uncertain terms that the U.S. must not even consider military action in response to Venezuela’s crisis.
The two countries are important allies, Santos said. “But since friends have to tell each other the truth, I have told Vice President Pence that the possibility of a military intervention shouldn’t even be considered, neither in Colombia nor in Latin America,” Santos said through a translator. “America is a continent of peace. It is the land of peace. Let us preserve it as such.”
An armed U.S. intervention in Venezuela would be the worst possible response to the country’s serious crisis, and it would be another completely unnecessary and unjustified intervention that serves no American interests, so it is not surprising that this administration is bringing it up publicly. Even talking about U.S. intervention is a gift to Maduro and his allies, who desperately need the distraction that it readily provides.
Trump’s latest reckless talk is another example of the administration’s ongoing dysfunction. A week before Trump made his reckless threat, his National Security Advisor was explicitly saying the opposite:
The threat of military intervention would also seem to contradict the advice of Trump’s top national security adviser. Citing the resentment stirred in Latin America by the long U.S. history of military interventions in the region, General H.R. McMaster said recently that he didn’t want to give Maduro any ammunition to blame the “Yankees” for the “tragedy” that has befallen the oil-rich nation.
Once again, foreign governments will struggle to know what the real U.S. position on this question is when they have the president sayings things that are completely at odds with what his officials are saying. Once again, Trump makes what everyone hopes to be empty threats, and the rest of the administration is left to handle the fallout from the latest blunder. Meanwhile allied and cooperative governments rush to distance themselves from what they are guessing could be the U.S. position, and that needlessly undermines efforts to present a unified regional front to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela.