Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mattis Talks Latin American Politics

Two days ago I criticized Defense Secretary Jim Mattis for his comments on China's role in Latin America. I wrote that I hoped he had better messages during his trip. Fortunately, there have been some. In a talk at Brazil's War College, he touched on three things I very much agree with.

First, there needs to be a regional response to the Venezuelan crisis that is not led by the United States. The U.S. should provide humanitarian and other assistance, but this should be a Latin American initiative.

Second, Venezuela is "not a military matter." I am glad he reiterated that given Donald Trump's trap flapping about all options being on the table. Using the U.S. military, or any other military, should not be on the table.

Third, the military should not participate in election campaigns. This was in pointed reference to Jair Bolsonaro's running mate, retired General Antonio Hamilton Mourao. The "retired' part is a gray area for me. In my mind, the line is drawn when the individual is running as a retired general, as an identity. Mourao has just been chosen so I don't know how the campaign portrays him, but we do know he's been public about possible military intervention, which is dangerous.


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