Saturday, May 04, 2019

More on U.S. Invasion Rationale in Venezuela

Andrés Oppenheimer posits four reasons he thinks U.S. invasion of Venezuela is possible, though still unlikely. The first two are actually points I made back in January and February, and which I have come to doubt. The last two seem more far-fetched.

I feel like we're once again seeing increased invasion talk, including from Congress, and I feel less sure now it might happen even though on the surface it seems like a strong possibility. And yet I could wake up tomorrow and find it happening.

First, the Trump administration is escalating its rhetoric following the Venezuelan opposition’s courageous but unsuccessful April 30 attempt to spark a military rebellion. 

Yes, though the rhetoric really hasn't changed much from past instances. I wrote this back in January when rhetoric was heating up and have come to believe that we need to focus more on what Trump says, not his officials. His language is more careful. Pompeo and Bolton talk endlessly.

Second, the Trump administration may increasingly be worried about not being taken seriously about its vows to help topple Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro. 

As I wrote in February, " My worry, as I've said before, is the Trump Factor. He has been reticent to use force, but is also highly sensitive to being viewed as weak." I just don't know if I believe that anymore or to the same degree. Trump's modus operandi is to talk tough even when failing and ignore the failure. The argument makes perfect intuitive sense, but Trump doesn't operate this predictably.

Third, Latin American diplomats tell me there are ongoing private discussions within the Organization of American States to invoke the 17-country Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance of 1947 — TIAR — also known as the Rio Treaty.

This is an interesting scenario, and although he doesn't say so, I assume the common enemy is Russia. Who else could it be? The problem is that Trump denies that Russia is meddling in Venezuela. He is so cozy with Putin that he might not want to antagonize him this way.

Fourth, a military rebellion to restore democracy in Venezuela may be more difficult now after the Trump administration’s blunder in revealing the names of three top Venezuelan officials — including defense minister Vladimir Padrino — who it says were secretly vowing to turn against Maduro on April 30.

I tend to think now that Trump doesn't care about this too much. Talk tough while the crisis goes on and on.


shah8 11:31 PM  

The main thing that people don't understand well is that Venezuela is just not Iraq, and would be more like Afghanistan, except with more and better armed, trained troops, operating for some sort of central opposition instead of a bunch of warlords.

A *genuine* military intervention against a centralized gov't or governing ideology, with boots on the ground, etc, would be horrifically expensive with not particularly high chances of success and a real chance for destabilization of neighboring areas.

At one point people on Twitter were trying to compare who is likely to win: Singapore or Venezuela, without any grasp of the difference in scale, terrain, etc, no matter the competence of Venezuelan armed units.

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