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Why Intervention in Venezuela Must Be Rejected

Ben Denison considers [1] how successful an intervention in Venezuela is likely to be if it happens:

In November, national security adviser John Bolton gave a speech in which he called Venezuela part of the Western Hemisphere’s “troika of tyranny.” The Trump administration announced Wednesday that “all options are on the table” for Venezuela, refusing to rule out military intervention.

So far, there are no signs that military intervention is being planned. But academic research shows that any effort to overthrow the Maduro regime is most likely to end with the U.S. military occupying the country for a long time, whether policymakers planned for it or not.

Regime change wars rarely work out as their supporters expect, and they are always more costly for the U.S. and the other country than anyone anticipates. Even when the regime is successfully toppled, the ensuing chaos and violence can do enormous harm to the civilian population. If Trump were to order an invasion of Venezuela, it would be the beginning of a long-term commitment of a large number of troops in a country where they aren’t wanted. Supposing that the opposition leader Guaido were to request [2] U.S. intervention, that wouldn’t change the reality that millions of Venezuelans would oppose our military presence and many of them would resist it violently.

Military intervention in Venezuela would normally be very unlikely, but in an administration where the president has repeatedly floated the idea we have to take the possibility seriously. Absolutely no U.S. interests would be served by a Venezuelan war, and it would rank as one of the stupidest wars of choice that the U.S. has ever fought. It goes without saying that it would be illegal. Venezuela is an economic basketcase and a humanitarian crisis, but its government poses no threat to the U.S. and who governs the country is not a matter of vital importance to us.

If the U.S. chose to militarize the crisis, it would be responsible [2] for driving Venezuela into a state of war that does not yet exist:

“Militarizing the crisis in Venezuela would require going basically from 0-100,” tweeted Dan Trombly….“The disorganized and largely non-violent VZ opposition would be unable to match even Libya’s incoherent militia patchwork anytime soon and would very likely require foreign ground support.

“Precisely because Venezuela is *not* yet in a civil war, there is very little the US could even fantasize about doing to strike VZ or militarily help along this opposition without sliding into a full-blown Iraq-like effort to collapse existing Venezuelan state institutions.”

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The administration keeps saying that “all options are on the table,” but militarizing Venezuela’s crisis is one option that should be firmly ruled out.

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9 Comments To "Why Intervention in Venezuela Must Be Rejected"

#1 Comment By SteveM On January 24, 2019 @ 1:13 pm

Oh Boy! Ukraine/Maidan Redux! Venezuela, Hot Dog! More fun and games in the “War Room” hatching the toppling of governments, killing people and wrecking things while using someone else’s money.

Being too smart by half is oh-so-much-fun. Nut-Job Bolton and Fat Pompeo are rubbing their grubby regime-change hands in anticipatory delight. CIA Dragon Lady Haspel is fired up too. She no doubt has assembled a barrel of covert monkeys to launch the usual subversive shenanigans.

Given the history of Global Cop Gorilla interventions, what could go wrong?

#2 Comment By Patrick Constantine On January 24, 2019 @ 1:45 pm

Our deep state was outraged that Chavez died or else they could have ginned up their profitable, elective war of aggression against Venezuela much earlier.

Let’s just mind our own business. No more regime change foolishness please. Haven’t we learned anything from Iraq Libya Syria Yemen etc etc etc.

#3 Comment By Uncle Billy On January 24, 2019 @ 2:06 pm

How did that invasion of Iraq go? How has US interference in Syria gone? You would think that the neocons would learn, but no.

An invasion of Venezuela would be a mistake of historic dimensions. Anyone suggesting it should be shouted down.

#4 Comment By SteveM On January 24, 2019 @ 2:10 pm

A more serious side-note to my first comment. Washington Elites are sophomoric in their foreign policy thinking. The societies of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela are very complex.

But the Nitwits in Washington morph everything into a Manichean black and white reduction, completely ignoring the unique economic, sociological and political stew of each country.

My point here is that even though Chavez and Maduro hatched numbskull policies that wrecked the country, their basis still has a huge internal constituency. I.e., Chavez didn’t just fall out of the sky into the presidency. He was elected for a reason linked to the manifest rejection of Venezuela’s Elite class.

Those underlying complaints by the people still exist. Replacing Maduro with Juan Guaido will not simply make those problems go away. But the idiots in Washington thought that deposing Hussain, Khadaffi and Assad is all that it takes. Swap in a new regime and everything will be peachy. And now they think the same about ousting Maduro.

Those clowns are completely oblivious to the laws of unintended consequences. Because they are so arrogant, they think that they are immune.

Come to think of it, Fat Pompeo should bring back Nitwit Vulgarian Victoria Nuland the lead the job. She has the experience and the warped game-plan is already being dialed in by the Global Cop Gorillas in DC.

#5 Comment By cka2nd On January 24, 2019 @ 3:17 pm

The US establishment isn’t thinking of Venezuela in terms of Iraq, Ukraine or Libya, but of, preferably, Chile and Argentina, hence all of the suggestions for a military coup, or of Grenada and Panama, if necessary. Of course, their doesn’t appear to be the violent infighting within the government and its supporters as their was in Grenada, and Maduro isn’t a former CIA asset like Noriega was, so, I think, he’s got a stronger independent base, if not as strong it was while Chavez was still alive.

#6 Comment By Myron Hudson On January 24, 2019 @ 5:15 pm

The administration has been treating Venezuela as a trial balloon for a while now. There is a convergence of interest. The neocons and militarists in general see action in Venezuela as something they can sell to the public. The administration in particular see a tail they might use to wag the dog.

#7 Comment By Andrew Zook On January 24, 2019 @ 5:18 pm

IMO this is either these 2 scenarios…
#1 (in the white house on some dark night)
Pres.: Hey, Johnny B! I’m being assaulted tremendously here! Can you help me?
John Bolton: Well, now, I think maybe we can help there… 🙂 I get right on Mr Pres!

#2 (in John Boltons office, along with Pompeo and like-minded cronies)
Well, men, looks like the country and the Pres are thoroughly distracted… We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. Time to move!

Either of these (or something else) will lead to death & destruction (except for Bolton et al of course) I can’t see any other outcome other than civil war in Venezuela; and how does that help these warmongers like Bolton? That I don’t understand…at least not as a person with conscience/values etc.

#8 Comment By Dick Younger On January 24, 2019 @ 5:57 pm

Agree with the author wholeheartedly. I was in Vietnam. so, how did that go? Also, I think Putin is setting us up to deploy troops there so we will tie up even more of our resources and money that can be used more profitably elsewhere plus causing the same internal divisions Vietnam did. That, of course, is to Putin’s advantage.He will do nothing if we exercise the military option except outwardly threaten but secretly sit back and smile. Trump does not need to fall into his trap.

#9 Comment By Fran Macadam On January 26, 2019 @ 2:39 am

‘An invasion of Venezuela would be a mistake of historic dimensions. Anyone suggesting it should be shouted down.’

It will be one Hell of a profitable windfall for the usual complex elites though. That’s one definition of success. If you can’t have wars that don’t end, start more of them to replace the income stream.