The video I just published put me in a depressing frame of mind. Venezuela is definitely something to be taken seriously. People are dying, and a country is disintegrating. The sanctions that the Trump administration announced today could very well cause mass starvation. But do you ever get the sense that this is all a bad joke? On both sides, we’ve got hardliners who talk a lot about opposing the other country on grand principled grounds. But both sets of awful leaders desperately need each other. This whole kabuki theater does get people killed, but the main point isn’t taking down the dictator, or taking down the imperialists.
The main point is holding on to power. Maduro uses aggression from the US to justify his power. US presidents, Republican and Democratic, use foreign leaders who set themselves up as antagonists to justify our defense expenditure and cover up for our own leaders failures. It’s all a really sad joke. A joke that kills people.
Video Transcript after the jump…
So. Venezuela got worse this week. I know why you guys come to this channel, and rest assured you’re going to get it. As with everything else in US foreign policy my position is that Washington DC is screwing this up, and screwing it up terribly. But can we take a moment to appreciate what a crappy president Nicolas Maduro is?
For almost 20 years now the brand of the Venezuelan government has been sticking it to the United States. This is a perfectly valid approach politically, and it wins votes in Latin America for some very good historical reasons. But if you are going to do this, you should be prepared for some pushback. You should be especially prepared if your main industry is selling petrochemicals to the country you are antagonizing.
As I have alluded to elsewhere, the U.S. has used its full battery of dirty tricks against Venezuela’s usually democratically elected government. Attempted coups, sanctions, and most importantly, the US’s dominant legal and financial position have all been used against Venezuela. But this tool box is used against other countries too. Chavez and Maduro have managed to let the US drive their country into the ground extraordinarily quickly.
For 40 years now, the U.S. has been using the same range of tools against Iran, and more extreme ones as well. Iran’s not, you know, doing Awesome, but they are certainly doing a much better job of keeping the US out of their country, and out of their region than Maduro is. And they are doing it with the same vulnerability to the oil price Venezuela has. Closer to home Cuba has been defying the US colossus for a full 60 years now. And Bolivia’s Evo Morales managed to come to power at around the same time as Chavez, with the same political focus, and a lot of the same policies, and make Bolivia richer, happier and more secure. Nicolas Maduro, and Chavez before him are just bad at this. They picked a fight with the United States and they lost, even though oil prices were at record highs for most of their time in power. Maduro really is one of the world’s worst presidents.
Which makes him very lucky to have Donald Trump. Over the past two years Maduro’s failure has fully discredited every cause he has supported. Venezuelans are literally starving and fleeing the country. But whenever he starts looking wobbly, folks like Trump or John Bolton step in to make him look like the good guy. Now from the perspective of the US or one of our European Vassals that’s not what that this looks like. But you have to consider the continent’s history again. All the US has to do for Maduro to fall at this point is step back,and that’s been true for a couple years now. Instead Washington DC insists on playing the perfect comic book villain role Latin American leftists fantasize about. And there are a lot of leftists in Latin America.
Trump has turned This clown Maduro into a hero. He has repeatedly suggested invading the country and has somehow convinced the country that that might be a good idea. Over the past week alone Trump has turned Venezuela policy over to one of Ronald Reagan’s nastiest cold warriors, and gone ahead and discredited the Venezuelan opposition by making it look like a pawn of the United States. And don’t get me started on Mike Pompeo’s choice to use State Department employees as Benghazi bait to start a shooting war. These clowns have managed to make the guy who laughs about starving his country look like the victim. At this point the Trump administration is probably the main thing keeping Maduro go8ng.
Thanks for watching, please subscribe, and you can learn more about the much more devious and effective ways the US has undermined Venezuela in My other video on the country.