Tuesday, March 19, 2019

More On Why Invading Venezuela Is A Bad Idea

At Foreign Affairs, Frank Mora writes about what a Venezuelan invasion would look like, with a stark cost-benefit analysis.

There are two plausible ways the United States might use force in Venezuela: a precision bombing campaign and a full-scale invasion. Either course would have to be followed by efforts to stabilize the country and establish a civilian government. That could take years, given the country's size and military strength. Venezuela has a population of 33 million spread across a territory twice the size of Iraq. Its military is 160,000 strong and paramilitaries, colectivos (armed leftist groups that support Maduro), and criminal gangs collectively have more than 100,000 members. Even if a military intervention began well, U.S. forces would likely find themselves bogged down in the messy work of keeping the peace and rebuilding institutions for years to come.
For both bombing and invasion, he lays out best case and worst case scenarios. All of them involve U.S. troops being in Venezuela for years, which would involve ripple effects of violence, death, ruined hemispheric relations, and damaged relations outside the region.

And yet other former officials are saying invasion would be easy.
Venezuela’s constitution ­explicitly allows foreign military missions. That provision would grant legal legitimacy to a multinational force of Venezuelan citizen-soldiers and foreign troops to help keep the peace. Without being drawn into a prolonged campaign, US forces could be deployed to areas liberated by Venezuelans, to detain regime leaders who have been indicted in US courts. Prosecutors can do their part by seeking or unsealing indictments against them; hefty rewards would make it hard for them to hide.
There is every reason to believe it could not possibly be that simple. Put differently, given Venezuela's reality, what reasons do we have to believe it could be?


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