The unending bedlam that follows in Trump’s wake can sometimes be hard to follow comprehensively. One minute he’s chortle-screaming about Muslims, the next he’s getting to second base with a flag. There’s one especially pernicious situation that’s recently taken a backseat to the usual Trump schtick we see in the media, and that’s his handling of Venezuela.
A quick summary: the current Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, is fending off Juan Guaido, an opposition leader attempting to have Maduro ousted because he claims Maduro is a crook and that his recent reelection was illegitimate. The politics here have a long history, but in essence, Maduro is a biblically unpopular shithead. Generally speaking, the west seems to want Guaido, and the east, including China and Russia, want Maduro. The Trump Administration officially recognizes Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s president.
A small number of Russian troops, surely for some nefarious reason, have been sent to Venezuela as “consultants.” This is absolutely not the Russian’s typical sphere of influence, and I can only imagine that the hegemony Putin holds over Trump has something to do with this brash move. On the American side, Trump’s discount plumber of a Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has been ramping up the war rhetoric against Maduro in a futile attempt to make a fully-entrenched dictator with a military on his side have a come-to-Jesus moment and acquiesce to American interests. This is where it gets serious.
Trump is about as popular as a corpse in a McDonald’s ball pit, and even he knows that a surefire way to cultivate some more support is by starting a “military intervention,” i.e. a war without approval from Congress. Starting a war is to a president’s approval rating what some cheese and garlic is to frozen broccoli – it can make something unpalatable suddenly appealing, and that’s dangerous for the Democrats in 2020.
Don’t let Trump drown us in his chaos. We need to scrutinize what the Trump Administration does in Venezuela so as to ensure they aren’t headed down a disasterous, confrontational path. Trump surely has friends who could profit well from a war in Venezuela – people who might be inclined to thank him in some way. As Trump is further inundated by investigations and the burden of accountability, we must not forget this. Venezuela cannot become Trump’s Iraq.
Democracy thrives in snarkiness