National Security

Trump increases pressure on Venezuela, weighs options

The U.S. has deployed significant assets in the region.

The U.S. military, under the direction of President Trump, as of Tuesday has moved a sizable amount of military assets into the Caribbean and areas immediately adjacent to Venezuela.

U.S. Army, Marine, Navy, Coast Guard, and other forces are there to interdict drugs flowing to the U.S. from Venezuela. U.S. courts have recently indicted Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and his cronies for drug offenses.

But the deployment is also in indirect support of the effort to oust Maduro from office. His regime is not recognized by the U.S. and many allied nations. The legitimate government is led by Juan Guaido, the former President of the National Assembly.

Many are comparing this buildup to the preliminary moves against Panamanian dictator and drug runner Manuel Noriega in 1989. Granted, the U.S. operation to topple Noreiga was swift and efficient. However, expect no overt move like that from Trump. He has long been on the record as against foreign military adventures like the war in Iraq.

The Venezuelans would have to mightily provoke Trump into serious action. Given the president did not move in strength against Iran, though he was on the brink of doing so, after the Iranians fired missiles at our troops in Iraq and harassed ships in the Persian Gulf, it is unlikely he would proceed with a large military intervention in South America alone and without a quick exit plan.

If, on the other hand, he had allied assistance, and the Colombians and Brazilians would probably give it, then a rollback of Marxism in the hemisphere, somewhat like the Grenada operation (though one would hope better executed) could transpire.

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The Venezuelan people would welcome it, but would wait it out in their homes to see who won the conflict. Maduro’s army would likely disintegrate in the face of such an onslaught. Even with that rosy eventual outcome Trump would still not be a fan of military intervention. Recent history bears out his views.

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