Who Cares About Venezuela?

I was chatting with a friend about happenings in the world. Our conversation centered around lamenting the decline of Western ideals in some foreign nations. We looked at different countries that seem to have strongmen taking over and how they outlaw dissension,  pack the courts and curtail some of the freedoms we accept.

I mentioned Venezuela and he said: “Who cares about Venezuela?” He went on to say we have no interest in that country that should require us to concern ourselves with it. That millions had fled the brutal dictatorship of Maduro, that many others were hard pressed to find their daily bread, that inflation mirroring that of Germany after the First World War was ongoing, and that its economy had been driven into the ground was not our concern.

I told him that we had already stuck our nose into it in the first place. I asked whether he though we should have pretended everything there was well. Or, did he think that the extent of our involvement should be no more than recognizing someone else other than Maduro as president. He said we should not even have done that. He said: “We should do nothing. It’s not our problem. Why do we care what happens there?”

I said I’ll tell you one party that cares about Venezuela is Russia. It recently landed 100 special forces and 35 tons of military supplies there to support Maduro. I asked him if that bothered him. It didn’t. I asked him whether he though Trump’s statement to the Russians to get out would be effective. He laughed. “When has Trump ever backed his words with action,” he said. The Russian response to Trump was to say: “To tell Russia to ‘get out of Venezuela’ is going completely over the top. This is total boorishness on a global scale.”

I wondered how Trump’s “America First” got him involved a spat with Putin. Maybe he heard of the Monroe Doctrine? Will this be a rerun of the Kennedy/Castro stand off? Does Trump have any wise men around him? Does Putin think he’s a big bluff? Will it affect the planned Trump Tower in Moscow?

I asked my friend whether he saw in Venezuela a replay of what happened in Syria? I said we didn’t care enough for the Syrian people to act in a forceful way so the Russians came in, backed the brutal leader Assad, and frightened us away. We confined our involvement to aiding others who were fighting ISIS in northern Syria. We left the rest of Syria to Assad, Russia and Iran.

He returned to his mantra saying: “Syrian’s problem is the problem of other people not our country. We never should have done anything with respect to Syria.”

I wondered how pervasive that attitude has become. I thought one of our goals as Americans was to spread the idea of freedom throughout the world, to assist those who sought freedom, and to hold up the light of freedom to other people. I wondered if it was only under Trump this new attitude existed. Had it existed before and if so when?

In 1823 we didn’t think like that. We issued the Monroe Doctrine which set out that we would not interfere in European wars or the places in this hemisphere that had already been colonized but that:  “(3) the Western Hemisphere was closed to future colonization; and (4) any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere would be viewed as a hostile act.”

How did we do with that doctrine? Pretty well through the remainder of the 19th century if we leave out our wars in this hemisphere against others like Mexico, Spain and ourselves as well  as those in the Far East against the Philippines and China.  We did get into war in Europe in WWI against Germany. But we could always point to Germany first breaching the terms of the Monroe Doctrine when it tried to enlist Mexico to attack the United States as shown in the January 1917 Zimmerman telegram.

Likewise with WWII we could claim Germany in its alliance with Japan had attacked us requiring us to respond. After WWII with the defeat of the brown-shirted Nazis, black-shirted fascists in Italy, and the militarists in Japan we saw the ascendancy of the Western ideals throughout all parts of the world. We taught our enemies our ways and they adopted  them. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the Soviet states shortly after that the Western ideals spread even further. They washed right up against the ramparts of former dictatorships such as Russia.

The United States did care about other countries. We recognized that democracies do not fight against each other. When did we develop the attitude that what happens outside our border is not our concern? Was it during the Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton years? No, Reagan cared about Lebanon and Grenada; H.W. Bush about Panama and Somalia. Was it with Clinton? Who did he care about? Bosnia for one. G.W Bush had no choice after 9/11 with Afghanistan. Obama, he inherited two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but launched airstrikes or military raids in at least five other countries: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

Why did these presidents care about what happened outside our borders? Has it all been one big mistake? Can we watch democracies crumble without doing anything about it? Can we live in a world where the majority of countries outside our borders are hostile toward us?

Does Trump believe: “any attempt by a European power to oppress or control any nation in the Western Hemisphere” is a “hostile act?.” Will he allow Russian to build bases in Venezuela? Should we care about Venezuela?

13 thoughts on “Who Cares About Venezuela?

  1. Wa-llahi! The imperialist Monroe Doctrine is the American version of the Iron Curtain. The quyet sung phong!

  2. Wa-llahi! Abrams will foment a civil war in Venezuela, and, Glorious Leader will intervene militarily to protect his gusano puppet, Guaido. Venezuela has tremendous oil deposits. If Trump thought Iraqi oil was for the taking, it stands to reason, he wants to take Venezuela’s oil. American imperialism, and, it’s wants, will lead the US into a long term guerilla struggle that will spread into Colombia and Brazil. Think about an Afghanistan style campaign lasting decades in South America

  3. Does anyone support American missles and personnel in former Soviet bloc countries? How can we point fingers if we invalidate some of the premises upon which the withdrawal of Warsaw pact nations from the Russian yoke are undermined?

    With the bully’s idea of diplomacy (shoving 5′ 2″ diplomats out of his way), do you really think he could muster another “coalition of the willing”?

    1. Growing up, some of my pals of Lithuanian ancestry were children of the Forest Brothers. I think the Lugens will give battle, if Russia tries them. They’ll fight hard right down to the last man. They’re the best of allies, and, deserve all the support NATO can give.

  4. Matt :

    Yes. You may bemoan all things political, social and spiritual during a Republican administration.

    Barak’s Syrian … Red Line … Leads to your door .

  5. You sound like a Neo Con. Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz would concur with you. Should we send troops to Venezuela as you suggested we do in Syria? All these regime change foreign wars have been a disaster. Hillary and Obama said Assad must go. They along with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, NATO, Israel and the U S supplied the rebels , most of whom were Jihadists. We and our allies were supporting Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and ISIS. This misguided approach led to 400 thousand deaths, millions of refugees and Assad still in power. It was a total failure. We never should have invaded Iraq and Libya let alone supported Assad’s removal. Ben Franklin’s advice of commerce with all war with none should be adopted. 2. America was respected in the Middle East when we stopped the colonial powers of France and Britain , along with Israel from invading Egypt in 1956. Ike stopped that aggression. Foreign adventurism doesn’t work and isn’t in our best interest. Going abroad to seek monsters to destroy is the wrong policy. We can’t police the world. Peace be upon you.

    1. I agree with NC, and I oppose both the Neocons on the Right, and the Hillary HIllarian Interventionists Imperialists, Pax Americana, perpetual war mongers on the Left.
      Peace to all persons of good will. To those not of good will , , ,Special Forces
      Negotiate and make peace, not war
      Recognize other countries spheres of influence

    2. NC:

      Who needs troops? Who said send troops? A few tough sanctions on Russia would send them back out of our hemisphere. Too bad Trump is in bed with Putin.

      You seem to have forgotten about the real problem which you must be hiding behind the Bush – you seem to have forgotten him. You thing Ben would have gained much doing commerce with the Nazis?

      America was never respected in the Middle East. It was always used in the Middle East.

    3. Wa-llahi! America replaced colonialism(direct control) with neo-colonialism (indirect control). How’d that work out for the folks being neo-colonialized? Did they profit from the semantic change? Enlighten me, NC.

    4. Ike, eh? I heard the Kremlin flew airborne troops into Cairo. I suppose it depends on who is writing history.

  6. Michael Cohen lied? Shocking!

    BBC to pay ‘substantial’ damages to Ukraine president over false claim he authorised corrupt payment to meet Trump

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/bbc-ukraine-poroshenko-trump-michael-cohen-defamation-a8844061.html

    Petro Poroshenko took legal action after the broadcaster wrongly claimed Michael Cohen, the US president’s former personal lawyer, received a $400,000 (£305,000) payment to help secure “substantial talks” with the US president.

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