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The War Machine Heats Up

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It is now probable that a military intervention in Venezuela is being discussed at the highest levels of the US government. A rather bleak exclamation mark was placed on this fact when failed presidential candidate and Florida senator Marco Rubio tweeted out a none-too cryptic juxtaposition of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi alive and half-dead, a rather macabre window into the mind of the man who might have been president had 2015-16 gone differently. It may turn out to have mattered little however, since Donald Trump has little to lose politically from launching an intervention, despite the fact that his successor may be left with a toxic foreign policy disaster.

From the earliest days, when missiles were launched into Syria in complete contradiction to promises made on the campaign trail, it was clear that the entire structure of neoconservative advisory which has been in place since the Kennedy era was the hydra of the White House, and its coils would not be easily pried away. While a full-blown intervention in Syria was taken out of the question by the complicated mess of Turkish involvement and Russian entrenchment, and an alarmingly explosive Korean development was defused by the tactful work of the South Korean administration, the spectre of John McCain continues to point a ghostly finger for the next opportunity for war. The crisis of Venezuela, brought about by the machinations of hostile neighbours, a sustained American media and diplomatic campaign against the country stretching back decades, and undeniable mismanagement and corruption within the Venezuelan state itself, has reached a boiling point which may finally allow the neoconservatives the orgy of violence they crave.

In the case of Syria, the threat of another Middle East quagmire, right across the Iraqi border from which so recently American troops had withdrawn, led to a strong outcry against foreign ventures which was picked up on by Donald Trump. Arguably, this was another key reason that things did not escalate further than they did. However, Venezuela was at that time very low on anyone’s list of concerns. Wannabe Cold-Warriors had long seen the bellicose Hugo Chavez as their next shining Manuel Noriega, the wicked witch of the south, but the comparably low-key Maduro, who succeeded Chavez after his death, was generally less interesting. As such, the blank slate of contemporary Venezuela is fit to be filled with all kinds of spurious accusations against the state at the behest of the steel beast, the war machine, with smoke issuing from its nostrils, ready to devour Caracas with drone strikes and well-armed militants. We’ve all heard this story before, from Afghanistan to Libya. If Trump so wishes to appease the neoconservatives and their deep pockets, he could declare a ‘humanitarian’ intervention in Venezuela. Indeed, outright hostile attacks on the country are already being dressed up in humanitarian costume, reminding us of Molotov breadbaskets. But anyone with an elementary understanding of history knows that Molotov breadbaskets are met with Molotov cocktails. The majority of Venezuelans will resent yet more US interference in their country and will resist it, regardless of their opinions on their government. Was this not the case in Iraq? The followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were hardly partisans of Saddam Hussein, but were the most formidable opponents to the US occupation. Not only would military action in Venezuela be met with furious opposition, but it could trigger a wave of refugees that Colombia is certainly ill-prepared to handle.

By the time all of this has transpired however, Donald Trump may have been voted out or retired himself, and it will likely be left to his successor to mop up the mess. It would also likely distract from the fact that by now it is clear that The Wall™ is simply not going to happen, a source of much well-justified outrage from former voters.

Perhaps we now have another opportunity to reflect on the depressing reality of America’s transformation into a colonial enterprise for sale to the highest bidders in Washington, an entity which finds non-intervention quite literally impossible. It cannot help but insert itself into the affairs of other nations, breeding enmity for no benefit which is visible to the country as a whole. When was the last time Americans saw new territory, new resources, new prestige? These wars aren’t even justifiable in purely realist terms. They are the apotheosis of the dominion of non-state actors, namely faceless corporate financiers and bankers who cheer the wars they never fight.

What is to be done?

Of course, every effort should be made to ensure the public know the truth about Venezuela and that public opinion is well broadcast to the political elite. Tulsi Gabbard, current presidential candidate, has already spoken out boldly on the issue and deserves support for her courageous stance. Ultimately however, as in times before, power rests with the executive. Donald Trump can make the decision to greatly worsen the already tense situation for people in Venezuela, or insist that he not follow in the footsteps of his hawkish predecessors, who in fact might better be described as vultures, picking over the corpses of nations unable to defend themselves from the might of the US military. As already mentioned, entering into war in South America will do nothing to help the problem of illegal migration. Trump will accelerate the very thing he ran against as a candidate.

The key question that everyone must ask themselves is what intervention will achieve. If the intention is to improve the lives of the people in Venezuela, then the track record of intervention has to be examined. Have the lives of Libyans improved in their war-torn crater of a country? The answer seems obvious. The one thing that might help Venezuelans right now is removing the sanctions crippling the country, and returning its gold reserves which have been outright stolen by the British government. Don’t hold your breath though. The globalist powers that be have little concern for the victims of the havoc they are so eager to unleash.

Author: K. E. Benois