Trump Declares That Military Options Are Being Considered in Venezuela

Nicolas_Maduro_militarydonald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedAt a time when President Nicolas Maduro is facing rising opposition (even among his traditional supporters), there is one thing that would materially help him rally supporters: a threat of U.S. military intervention. Now other Latin American countries critical of Maduro in the past have denounced Trump’s comments.   It is for that reason that many people were shocked by President Trump’s statement on Friday that he is considering military options in his decision how to respond to Maduro authoritarian policies.  For those of us who deeply opposed both Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro, the statement could not be more disheartening. As noted by the Wall Street Journal, experts believe that Trump gave Maduro exactly what he needed to fulfill his long unsupported narrative of a war with the U.S.  As was the case with North Korean comments and the State Department, no one appears more surprised on these comments than the Defense Department.

On Friday, after renewing threats against North Korea, Trump publicly stated that “We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary.” He then added “We have troops all over the world in places that are very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering and they’re dying.”

The fact that this comment comes after news that Russia is trying to gain control over Venezuela’s oil will only fuel anti-American sentiments in the country — and support Maduro’s arguments that the U.S. wants to gain control over its oil for itself.  It is also a highly implausible threat since there is no compelling justification at the moment for a U.S. intervention.  Moreover, the effort of the State Department to send a high-ranking diplomat to speak with Venezuela is now expected to severely undermined given the implied threat of military intervention.

Ironically, Trump has been hammering his generals on losing in Afghanistan and suggested an interest in a total pullout. Yet, he then said that he was considering an intervention in Venezuela — a move that could unite the country behind Maduro and hand him the very victory that has eluded him.  Maduro’s son is already rallying people against the threatened U.S. intervention.

Maduro can now take that statement to Venezuela’s new Constituent Assembly as he demands unchecked powers.

For the many people who want to see an end to the Maduro regime, Trump’s statement is a serious blow.  There are thousands of people risking their very lives in the streets of Venezuela.  This gives Maduro more justification to ramp up military operations and to blame the United States for the disaster by Chavez and Maduro created in the one prosperous country.

147 thoughts on “Trump Declares That Military Options Are Being Considered in Venezuela

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  1. I think Donald Trump is going to make a lot of noise. And that’s about it. Huff and puff and not even blow anyone’s house down.

  2. Say the words POTUS, Nazi, white nationalists, racists, But you’re willing to start a war here and in other countries as long as your boys don’t have to get their hands dirty. SAY THE WORDS.

  3. For those of us who deeply opposed both Hugo Chavez and his successor Maduro, the statement could not be more disheartening.

    I would be interested, Professor Turley, in the reasons you opposed Chavez particularly, but also Maduro? Was not their intention to make life better for the people of Venezuela rather than simply the oil cartels? Also, Chavez was democratically elected multiple times, no? You have seen what the media does to Trump, I think both Chavez and Maduro also received very biased coverage from industry sympathetic news outlets in the US. I imagine you have good reasons to make such a statement, but a post on the subject would be helpful.

    • Never mind. Here is a recent post which explains your thoughts quite well,

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has held on to power as he and his predecessor Hugo Chavez ruined the strongest economy in Latin America with their “Socialist Revolution.” They combined disastrous economic policy with a crackdown on civil liberties, including unrelenting attacks on journalists and political dissidents. With the vast majority of the nation calling for

      https://jonathanturley.org/2016/10/10/venezuela-awards-first-hugo-chavez-peace-prize-to-vladimir-putin/

      I still think you underestimate the difficulty of trying to change the direction of a country when you have the US along with it’s media and more to the point, the oil industry stacked against you from the start – and given your experience with Trump and the media as well as many institutions in Washington, the need for skepticism regarding information given to the public should be extra sharp in your mind. But, you have made your reasons very clear and so I retract my questions – not that I and I’m sure others wouldn’t enjoy your thoughts on the matter.

  4. Trump has sowed, now he has reaped. Today has to be laid at his knees, because he is and will be up to his neck soon.

  5. Some background information not taught to US citizens: “The cables — which we analyze in the new book, The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire — reveal the day-to-day mechanics of Washington’s political intervention in Latin America (and make a farce of the State Department mantra that “the US doesn’t interfere in the internal politics of other countries”).

    Material and strategic support is provided to right-wing opposition groups, some of which are violent and anti-democratic.”

    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/09/latin-america-wikileaks-hugo-chavez-rafael-correa-obama-venezuela-intervention/

  6. People who are always criticizing Trump are the ones who were and have been the ones who created the completely disastrous results of today. Can they wake up from their delusional state of self grandeur ?

  7. Did you see Chump’s news conference today? With one victim lying dead and 19 others being treated for their injuries, this clown actually made self-congratulatory remarks about how successful his administration has been. He refused to condemn white supremacists. He paid minimal lip service to hate-driven crime and American unity. He showed his true colors.

  8. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-12/dear-president-trump-what-fk-business-venezuela-ours

    “Ten Questions for Trump
    Are you willing to “own” the problems in Venezuela?
    What does “necessary” mean?
    Did US nation building in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan work?
    Did not Vietnam turn out OK starting the moment we left?
    Did the US intervene to stop hyperinflation in Zimbabwe? Argentina?
    Are there not more repressive regimes in Africa?
    What’s different about Venezuela?
    By any chance is this about oil?
    Other than oil, what the F business is Venezuela of ours?
    Regardless of your threats and concerns, when has US nation building ever worked?
    I thank you in advance for your answers.

    Bonus Question
    Dear Mr. President, I almost forgot: How do you propose we pay for a military solution in Venezuela?

    I voted for you and would appreciate some answers.

    Unless you can provide answers, I strongly suggest we do not need another quagmire, we cannot afford another quagmire, and we should stay the F* out of it.”

  9. I am a former Marine , who for the last forty plus years has worked internationally in oil and gas exploration, including three projects in Venezuela. My Marine training tells me the jungle in Venezuela, as in Vietnam ,could hold off any military force invading it.
    My oilfield training tells me any reduction in the importation of in heavy Venezuelan crude to the USGOM refineries would turn Red states Blue….Just my opinion….

    • My oilfield training tells me any reduction in the importation of in heavy Venezuelan crude to the USGOM refineries would turn Red states Blue….Just my opinion….

      This is a nonsensical statement.

      The military would not be entering the rainforest. Hardly anyone lives there.

  10. Interesting that the only people Trump avoids criticizing are Putin and white nationalists. And, yes, I am willing to judge a man by the company he keeps.

  11. People who Cru use trump are the ones who were and have been the ones who created the completely disastrous results of today , but don’t let that reality affect their self grandeur !

  12. https://mobile.twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/896401087003066368?p=v

    Glenn Greenwald
    @ggreenwald
    2h
    Weirdly, Latin America is really sensitive to any hint of US interference, especially military intervention, into their internal affairs twitter.com/AndrewDFish/st…

    Eva Golinger Eva Golinger
    @evagolinger
    1h
    Replying to @ggreenwald
    I wonder why….

    Glenn Greenwald
    @ggreenwald
    Replying to @evagolinger
    Follow
    It’s one of those enduring mysteries, along the lines of “Why Do They Hate Us?”
    9:00 AM – 12 Aug 2017

  13. Headline is misleading since President Trump was responding to a question. It is never appropriate to suggest that we would keep military options OFF the table. As for giving Maduro an excuse – he is doing fine by himself. He doesn’t seem to need an excuse. Very disappointing opinion from you.

    • The question didn’t mention military action. And there was no reason whatsoever for him to bring it up. If he had one miillimeter of understanding or knowledge about Venezuela or anything else, he could have constructed an intelligent answer without using his phony bluster about the military.

      PResident chickenhawk is the most disgraceful COC in history:

      “It’s amazing, I can’t even believe it. I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world, it is a dangerous world out there. It’s like Vietnam, sort of. It is my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave solider,” Trump said in the interview when Howard Stern asked how he handled making sure he wasn’t contracting STDs from the women he was sleeping with.

    • I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that Trump and Tillerson have designs on Venezuelan oil for the benefit of Exxon and the oligarchs. The other day Trump talked about talking the minerals from Afghanistan. He thinks we should have the oil from Iraq. I no longer have any words to describe the horror of our country continuing its mission of murder and mayhem simply to steal the resources of other countries, while pretending it is about “democracy.” Hasn’t it gone on long enough??

      • Dusty

        I agree 100% – but if most of the customers here disagree, it wouldn’t be surprising. It’s unfortunate that JT doesn’t use his influence to help educate the hardened minds of most of his readers about the history of U.S.
        interference thru out Latin America. Presumably JT is well-enough informed to know that our policies and practices have caused misery for the majority of South Americans – but coveting their resources on behalf of the wealthy is what it’s all about, and if it requires military action to gain control over them, JT is with them

          • Paul

            You could be forgiven for wondering how a Law professor could possibly justify a complete violation of international law and the UN Charter – but here he is. Both Clintons did, both Bushes did, Obomba did, and the professor maybe thinks it’s his patriotic duty to bless the actions of the 1% – regardless of their legality,

          • This brings a tear each time read. America should change November 11th back to what makes sense, Remembrance Day, a moment of reflection for all of humanity and the madness of war and not simply for American Veterans, America’s might, America’s ego. This is bigger than the legal mumbo jumbo, trash talking, etc. Yet here we are again with idiots as leaders and perhaps the biggest idiot that ever came along as President. We’re not so different, we and you, North Korea.

            A sign of Americans growing beyond their own cloistered reality would be a poppy on every lapel this Remembrance Day.

            In Flanders Fields

            In Flanders fields the poppies blow
            Between the crosses, row on row,
            That mark our place; and in the sky
            The larks, still bravely singing, fly
            Scarce heard amid the guns below.

            We are the Dead. Short days ago
            We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
            Loved and were loved, and now we lie
            In Flanders fields.

            Take up our quarrel with the foe:
            To you from failing hands we throw
            The torch; be yours to hold it high.
            If ye break faith with us who die
            We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
            In Flanders fields.

            Colonel John McCrae
            Soldier, Physician, Poet

            • issac – we were not at Flanders. All war memorials honor their own dead. I have seen pictures of war memorials all over the UK that honor the dead of that particular area. Get off your high horse.

              • The point is America on its high horse and the stupidity that comes with the air up there. Thanks for bringing that up along with your disjointed reference to pictures you have seen, etc. And, we are all at Flanders. Perhaps if the idiots that start these wars along with those that are driven to ‘test’ themselves could get together and duke it out, but, ???? America did not go to war with Iraq to defend America but to exercise the idiotic egos of useless leaders. If America goes to war with North Korea or Venezuela it won’t be to defend America but only as a result of loose screws under nonsensical hairdos. There is certainly a seat on the bus for you, it seems.

                • Issac – I doubt very much if you were at Flanders and I know darn well I wasn’t. At least we were not there during WWI. What started WWI was an anarchist killing Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. Best guess is they got guns and support from the Serbian secret service. So, if you wanted to stop WWI, who do you stop? The Serbs? The anarchists? Archduke Ferdinand and his wife?

                  • Paul

                    As usual, you miss the point. I realize, after having it pointed out repeatedly, that you have read some books and have reviewed history. Now is the time to allow all that knowledge the freedom to roam around and settle into some common sense. Archfart whomever, it is the mindless that are lead by the idiots and in doing so get to pay with their lives or the lives of their children. Almost every war in modern times is a result of idiot leaders. The days of the hordes rampaging in from the North, East, South, or West are over. The US is the most well positioned country in this world today, enjoys all the former colonial powers as allies, and yet we produce this idiot buffoon who is now engaged in a pi**ing contest with another idiot and is also threatening to invade Venezuela. Now, reflect on this; Trump’s hairdo and the Archfart’s fancy hat; not much difference.

                    If it sounds like a mentally unbalanced person, chances are it is. That’s typically where one starts, with the words.

                    • issac – just so you remember, since they may not teach it in Canada. The USA was isolationist for both WWI and WWII, We got into WWI because of the Zimmermann Telegram, WWII because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. England seemed to be the leading country on the Allied side in both wars until we had more troops and supplies in the game. England seems to be the country to be mad at, not the USA.

  14. This “MAD”-URO cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.”
    The Venezuelan people need our support.
    We finally have a President who means what he says
    And says what he means.
    This is not a time for appeasement.

  15. Trump is play-acting as president. If you had any doubts, read the transcript of his call to the governor of Guam. Or listen to it.

    I am grateful to the people who are acting as the de facto “president” and holding the country together. Not sure if they’ll succeed but they are heroes no matter what happens.

  16. Certainly any US intervention not part of a South American coalition would be ill advised. That said, it is hard to predict which way Venezuela will go and when, just as the peaceful transition of East Germany took everyone in the West by surprise. Under the dominant geopolitical theory at the time, the East Germans would use violence to maintain their grip on power indefinitely. This proved wrong. The East German system ruled by fear and paranoia, and thus contained the seeds of its own undoing. Jonathan, try not to be trapped by conventional thinking. There could be a Venezuelan 1989. Can’t predict when. It might actually encourage Maduro’s opposition to topple his regime knowing that the US supports such action. All the better if a coalition includes Brazil, Columbia, Surinam, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay.

    • Columbia and Brazil are the only countries on that list with military forces anywhere near Venezuelan population centers. (Suriname has a population about that of metropolitan Dayton). Columbia and Peru are the only South American countries who have militaries with any seasoning, and that was in counter-insurgency, not conventional warfare.

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