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Home/Daniel Larison/War with Venezuela Is Unnecessary, Illegal, and Wrong

War with Venezuela Is Unnecessary, Illegal, and Wrong

The Trump administration is once again floating the possibility of attacking Venezuela:

There are absolutely no vital U.S. interests at stake in Venezuela, and the Venezuelan government poses no threat to the United States. There is no way under these circumstances that military action could be “required,” so when Pompeo suggests that it could happen we are clearly talking about a war of choice divorced from any U.S. security interests. It would be a war fought solely for the purpose of achieving regime change, and the only reason why the U.S. would do that is to vindicate the Trump administration’s reckless blunder of taking sides in an internal political dispute. No Americans should die for the sake of Trump’s ego or for the ambitions of hawkish senators.

Attacking the Venezuelan government would be a terrible error and a violation of international law. It would be a calamity for the people of Venezuela, who would bear many of the costs of turning their internal crisis into an international war, and it would likely cause more displacement and increase the number of people fleeing the country in the short term. I suspect it would also be a more difficult and costly war than most of us expect, and it would be a massive waste of U.S. resources and American lives in an unjustified and unnecessary war. If all that isn’t enough, an unauthorized Venezuelan war would also be completely illegal under U.S. law. The American people have no appetite for a new war for regime change anywhere in the world, and there is not much support for it even in Congress. If Trump tries to take the U.S. to war in Venezuela, he will be in clear violation of the Constitution and should be impeached for it.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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