Saturday, December 28, 2019

Getting Trump to Focus on Venezuela

Andres Oppenheimer writes that Trump needs to refocus on Venezuela.

Washington needs to create a strong international anti-Maduro coalition. Instead of vilifying Latin American immigrants, building a useless wall along the Mexican border, separating refugee kids from their parents, cutting foreign aid to Central American countries and slapping tariffs on friendly governments, the United States should build bridges with Latin America and help create a global agreement to impose effective collective sanctions on Venezuela.
This is unhelpful because those are the policies Trump believes will get him re-elected. He clearly does not view Venezuela as terribly important for the Florida vote.

BTW, if we are in the realm of unrealistic shoulds, then I would add pressuring the Russians, since Putin is a major reason the Maduro government has not fallen.

But it's unhelpful for another reason, which is that when Trump really pays attention to a foreign policy issue, he makes things worse for the country in question. He has no understanding of other countries and only understands blunt instruments. What I am saying is be careful what you wish for, because getting Trump to focus on Venezuela and getting him to do something productive in Venezuela policy are two completely different things.

I do, however, agree with him that the Democratic candidates should be pushed on the question. How they answer will say something about their broader approach to foreign policy. My hunch, though, is that most will stay with a vague "international cooperation" and leave it at that. You cannot argue against it and it does not require further details.


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