Friday, February 22, 2019

Trump and Maduro, birds of a feather

  Even while still keeping U.S. troops mired in America’s forever wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, President Donald “America First” Trump is threatening to order his army to invade Venezuela in order to oust Venezuelan dictator Vincente Maduro from office and install a pro-U.S. puppet in his stead. As Ronald Reagan might have put it, “There he goes again.”

  In 2017, Maduro used his federal judiciary to annul the Venezuelan National Assembly. He then engineered a new congress that consisted of his lackeys. Not surprisingly, Maduro’s actions received condemnation from all over the world. The head of the OAS called it a coup and declared it to be the final blow to democracy. The U.S. government said it was a “serious setback for democracy in Venezuela.”

  In 2019, the U.S. Congress voted to reject Trump’s request for funding for his immigration wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump’s response? It was no different in principle from that of Maduro. No, Trump didn’t abolish Congress but he has done the next best thing. He has chosen to ignore it, just as Maduro ignores the National Assembly. Trump simply decided to ignore and circumvent the will of Congress by declaring an “emergency.” He now plans to use his army and U.S. taxpayer money to build his wall.

  Trump and Maduro, birds of a feather. One dictator opposing another dictator.

  Trump and his foreign-policy team of loyal interventionists, including John Bolton and Eliott Abrams, are now doing their best to provoke an incident with Venezuela that will enable Trump to declare, “We’ve been attacked! We’re innocent! Another day that will live in infamy! We were just trying to help the Venezuelan people with U.S. taxpayer-funded humanitarian aid. We now have to defend ourselves by invading Venezuela, ousting Maduro, installing our puppet, and granting oil concessions to American oil companies.”

  The strategy, of course, brings to mind President Franklin Roosevelt’s strategy for embroiling the United States in World War II and also President James Polk’s strategy for provoking a war with Mexico to provide a pretext for stealing the entire northern half of the country and absorbing it into the United States.

  Of course, Trump’s loyal followers — his Trumpsters and Trumpistas, who demonstrate the same blind support of their leader as Maduro’s followers show toward their leader — will undoubtedly say, “Jacob, our president loves the Venezuelan people and just wants to help them with U.S. taxpayer-funded humanitarian aid.”

  Really? Then why the wall? If there is anything clear by now, the last thing that Trump wants is even one more person from Latin America to be coming into the United States. Trump’s wall is meant to keep out much more than Mexican immigrants. It’s meant to keep out immigrants from all over Latin America, including Venezuela.

  After all, Maduro’s and his predecessor Hugo Chavez’s socialist economic policies have been causing economic misery and suffering in Venezuela for years. Millions of Venezuelans have fled the country in an attempt to save their lives. Have Trump, Bolton, and Abrams invited those Venezuelans to come to the United States? If you believe that, I’ve got an oil well in Venezuela I’d like to sell you. Their mindset is: “We love you enough to send you U.S. taxpayer-funded, military-provided largess, but we don’t even think of coming here to our country to live.” Trump and his fellow interventionists have as much regard for the well-being of the Venezuelan people as they do for the people of Iran, North Korea, and Cuba, where their system of deadly sanctions continue to target innocent people with death, suffering, and impoverishment as a way to effect regime change.

  In fact, it is a virtual certainty that the CIA, given its history and modus operandi on regime change, has intentionally, knowingly, and deliberately contributed to the economic suffering in Venezuela. As President Nixon put it when ordering the CIA to pave the ground for regime change in Chile, “Make the economy scream,” an order that the CIA dutifully and secretly carried out, with total indifference to the economic suffering it was inflicting on the Chilean people.

  In his threat to employ force against Venezuela for blocking his army’s humanitarian aid, Trump decried socialism in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua. Why no mention of socialism in North Korea, a country ruled by a brutal communist leader who Trump, rather oddly, says he loves? Indeed, why no mention of socialism in North Vietnam? If Cold War dead-enders like Bolton and Abrams are going to be leaders in the new Cold War, why leave those two countries out of the socialist mix?

  Indeed, one might ask Trump, Bolton, and Abrams a discomforting question: Which of the follow socialist programs in Venezuela and Cuba do they object to: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, a central bank, paper money, managed trade, or travel controls?

  Make no mistake about it: Obviously having grown bored with his interventionism in the Middle East and Afghanistan, Trump has now set his sights on Venezuela, with the obvious aim of being able to trumpet a foreign-policy “success” to disguise his interventionist failures in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He says that “all options” are on the table to bring about regime change in Venezuela, which potentially includes the same level of bombs employed in Iraq and Afghanistan. If that means more Venezuelans have to die for Trump’s political ambitions, so what? In the immortal words of U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright when asked about the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions that were intended to effect regime change in Iraq, Trump and his merry band of interventionists will consider any number of deaths of Venezuelans to be “worth it.”

  About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

  This article was published by The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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