Trump’s Venezuela Intervention: There Is No Vital US National Interest In Venezuela For An Unwise Military Intervention
Vice President Mike Pence was dispatched to South American where he called for immediate action against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. It appears to be an attempt to rally South American countries against Venezuela and pave the way for US-led intervention, which will not likely play into the power dynamics of the region. Although the US has long sought the ouster of the Venezuelan Socialist Party under the leadership of Maduro and his antagonistic predecessor Hugo Chávez, a prolonged political crisis created by the collapse of Venezuela’s economy and Maduro's tightening grip on power has sparked an ever-worsening humanitarianism crisis. The willingness of opposition leader Juan Guaido to assume the role of interim President in response to the years-long crisis and a contested Presidential election has transformed Venezuela into a battleground for existing geopolitical conflicts. Like his predecessors, US President Donald Trump has taken a position against the Chavez-Maduro government. Making Venezuela a top priority of his foreign policy, Trump has warned that war could be coming while providing humanitarian aid, which has been blocked by Maduro’s forces. With the US flying increasing numbers of reconnaissance flights over Venezuela, war could soon be a reality.
Unfortunately, the Maduro government has grown increasingly undemocratic and unresponsive as it has attempted to navigate an economic crisis. Under duress, Maduro has indulged his authoritarian instincts and the authoritarian nature of his socialist government. Had Maduro been willing to abdicate his throne, even if he had simply ceded control to a member of his own party, the political elements of Venezuela’s crisis may not have become so detrimental. If Maduro had been willing to embrace some market reforms and allowed private companies to bring goods into Venezuela, the humanitarian crisis may not have grown so severe. As a socialist society, which requires self-sufficiency, Venezuela should have never relied on the capitalist markets of the global economy while attempting to crushing capitalist endeavors at home. Where US sanctions against Venezuela played a role in creating the crisis, the collapse of oil prices had a far larger impact due to Venezuela’s over-reliance on oil.
The simple truth is that the policies of the Maduro government are mainly to blame for Venezuela’s woes. Quite frankly, the removal of Nicolas Maduro would probably help Venezuela start the process needed to resolve its economic and political issues. Given the extreme divide between capitalists and socialists, as well as the structural issues of Venezuela’s natural resource-dependent economy, Maduro’s ouster would not solve Venezuela’s crisis, though it would give Venezuela a chance to change direction. That said, intervention in Venezuela is not within the vital national interests of the United States nor is it a wise policy course for the US. In fact, political and military intervention in Venezuela is analogous to US political and military interventions in the Middle East, which were disastrous. Under the Trump Administration, the US has begun to untangle itself from the Syrian Civil War as it, potentially, moves toward disengagement from the Middle East. Given the endless conflicts and lack of direct benefits to the US, Middle Eastern disengagement is appealing, but a South American pivot that includes US military intervention and political interference is a failure to learn from recent history.
Like the Middle East, Venezuela has a great deal of oil. Venezuela has, in fact, the world’s largest confirmed oil reserves. As such, it is within the interests of the US-dominated International Community to secure Venezuela’s oil reserves for the global market. Although South America faces political strife, the region is far less unstable than the Middle East. Where civil war and the activities of violent extremists destabilize the Middle East, the regional security of South America is threatened by criminal enterprises. Drug cartels may be as brutal and violent as terrorists, but their success depends on stability. Criminal syndicates thrive in lawless environments, yet their enforcement activities foster a kind of stability. Consequently, it is easy to assume a successful US military intervention in Venezuela would not lead to prolonged and costly commitments like those seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also easy to assume the greater cultural similarities between Venezuela and the US, coupled with the less perceived barbaric nature of South American leaders, would help the Trump Administration avoid the negative connotations of working with alternative leadership in Venezuela.
Furthermore, military intervention in Venezuela on humanitarian grounds appears just as appealing as military intervention on humanitarianism grounds in places like Syria. From a capitalist-versus-socialist, Cold War mindset, the Trump Administration’s push for intervention in Venezuela appears just as appealing as the George W. Bush Administration’s call for military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Obama Administration's calls for action against Russia in Ukraine and the Assad regime in Syria. Outside of diehard Trump supporters, however, the Trump Administration’s push to intervene in Venezuela does not resonate with the American People. There are people in far more dire circumstances than the Venezuelan People while the US has continued to cooperate with far less unsavory leaders than those of the Maduro government.
More importantly, the American People are no longer emotionally invested in the capitalist, social conflict that dominated the Cold War. In the minds of men like Trump and Pence, whose world views were established during the Cold War, the war against socialism is far more important than it is to the American People. The Americans have also acquired a distaste for intervention, which is something Trump’s anti-globalist, “America First” political platform capitalist on. For the bulk of the American People, Trump’s push to intervene in Venezuela is simply a political move. It is something that would directly help distract people from Trump’s domestic policies, much like Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interventions in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, and Syria were intended to distract the Russian People from his oppression and corruption at home. Interventions in Venezuela is neither in the interests of the United States nor something the American People want. Humanitarian aid for Venezuela is a constructive and welcome foreign policy, if it can be delivered without starting a war. Intervention is not.
Read old posts