Published on: Apr 3, 2019 @ 15:57
A couple of months ago, U.S President Donald Trump’s administration was sure that the collapse of the “regime” of the president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, is inevitable and close. Spring would come soon, and as the metaphor goes, love was in the air. But the Washington Post has been a critical voice against Trump’s moves in Venezuela, but not from the intervention-cautious point of view that its own center-left audience would think, but quite the opposite – it is for not going in hard and fast enough.
And now already the Trump administration itself is increasingly lacking confidence when discussing the situation in the country, writes The Washington Post, one of the primary print publications under the authority of the U.S Democratic Party and NATO’s media vector, the Atlantic Council.
These Atlantic Council attacks on Trump for his lack of aggressiveness on Venezuela are telling. The lack of clarity from the EU on the subject can be better clarified when their positions are understood in their own words, and not through the lens of American media, which distorted the EU’s positions. American media engaged in a campaign of quoting various EU parliamentarians, combined with appointed or elected officials in ‘lesser importance’ EU countries, and mislabeled these ‘EU’s Position’. In reality, the EU never recognized Guaido, continues to recognize Maduro, and when some long-past deadline where the EU urged new elections passed, the EU in fact did nothing. Maduro’s ‘recognition’ was not reversed, the EU engaged in no new sanctions against Venezuela of note. The existing EU sanctions are nominal and symbolic, targeting less than a few dozen individuals, and banning weapons sales to Venezuela. But no institutions of scale were targeted, and Venezuela’s prior weapons deals with the EU were never anything to write home about. Most importantly, the EU’s direct banking, energy, and investment portfolios are intact.
It is important to recall that the Monroe Doctrine is not about the U.S simply controlling Latin America, but about being the middle-man for all Latin America dealings with Europe. Presently, EU-Latin America relations are far more direct. Therefore, Putin’s moves in Venezuela also protect EU interests, and bring Russia and the EU closer together on this tender question. Trump administration moves tend to further exacerbate the tensions and divisions within the Trans-Atlantic alliance, and let us all see that Atlanticism on the whole is in serious decline.
Regardless of the severity of the U.S sanctions compounded economic situation that gave rise to the political crisis, “the president did not come a step closer to losing power” (paraphrase – ed), the newspaper notes. The fact is that, although opposition leader Juan Guaido was recognized as the interim president of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, Maduro enjoys the support of China, Iran, Mexico, Turkey and, above all, Russia.
“[T]he Kremlin does not disappoint him,” the Washington Post notes with regret. So, Moscow is apparently trying to compensate for the country’s losses from American sanctions, helping with the processing of heavy oil. In addition, Russia is increasing the supply of wheat and medicine. And this week a Russian diplomat in Caracas confirmed that the Venezuelan delegation will arrive in Moscow to discuss investments in the field of mining, agriculture, and transport sectors of Venezuela.
However, what happened at the end of March attracted particular attention in Washington, apparently shocked the Trump administration and the American media. Two aircraft with about a hundred Russian military on board arrived in Venezuela. Shortly after, the Chinese arrived. At the same time, Russia rejected US criticism and, in particular, presidential adviser on national security, John Bolton, who accused the country of “provocation”. They assured that the military are called upon to help Venezuela in servicing the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems against the background of constant power outages.
“We do not believe that third countries should be concerned about our bilateral relations with any states. We in no way interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela, we expect that third countries will follow our example”, said the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov . “As for the United States of America, they are present in many parts of the world, and no one tells them where to be, and where they should not be.”
At the same time, according to The Washington Post, money plays a significant role in the Russian “intervention” in Venezuela. Thus, the country owes the Ministry of Finance of Russia $ 3.1 billion, and another $ 2 billion to the Russian oil and gas company Rosneft. Moscow believes that Russian investments may be under threat under a new government. However, the publication believes that the financial issue is not of paramount importance for the country. First of all, they care about their international prestige there. At the same time, they justify their actions in Russia by accusations that the United States is striving to “liquidate the governments of inconvenient countries.”
Nevertheless, The Washington Post believes that protecting Russia’s vision of a different international system is a very difficult task.
“There is an understanding that Venezuela is a rather serious test of Russia’s ability to defend its interests on a global scale,” says the publication of the words of the Director of the Moscow Carnegie Center, Dmitry Trenin .
As noted by The Washington Post, for all the rhetoric and posturing from the American government, there are also fears of a further aggravation of the situation in Venezuela. And even Washington’s hawk Bolton is holding back enthusiasm when discussing the country’s future. Now, claiming that Maduro’s power is not as strong as it seems, Bolton still makes the reservation:
“This is a struggle against an authoritarian government, and obviously it will take some time.”
As FRN reported earlier today, the so-called “president” of Venezuela, Juan Guaido , proclaimed by the United States, was deprived of parliamentary immunity. According to the decision of the National Constituent Assembly of the country, the pursuit of Guaido is now officially sanctioned by law. According to Venezuela’s President of the Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, Guaido can be held accountable for illegally traveling abroad, while the court forbade him to leave the country.
There are several fascinating ways to read these events, but in looking at the history of Trump’s appointees, it is hard not to consider that he’s engaged in a strategy of having war-hawks ‘choke on their wishes’. When we consider that the Washington Post attacks Trump from the perspective of pro-war advocacy, not only in Venezuela but infamously in Ukraine and Syria, it raises some serious questions.
Nikki Haley, apparently from the John Bolton school of International Relations, shared his theory on the purpose of the UN, and was a student of his diplomatic style. She was, even from the point of view of U.S imperialism, one of the least effective appointees ever to sit in the U.S delegation seat. When Bolton himself was brought in as National Security adviser, it became difficult not to view this as yet another sign to the rest of the world, that opposing U.S moves would be an easy sell.
Trump’s approach to international relations and diplomacy is at the same time raw, tinged with too much honesty, and tosses to the wind many concepts such as R2P, human rights-based interventionism, and has disrobed the American interventionist facade by speaking plainly in terms of the Monroe Doctrine, spheres of influence, and other rational-realist approaches to IR and GP. Idiot-hawks eat this up, perhaps this is a question of ideology, of intelligence quotients, or perhaps even some desire for openness and honesty about what the American Empire is and means.
It is almost tempting to look at the appointment of Abrams, whose war-criminal track-record, over-confidence, and antiquated approach to regime-change science, as clear and open signals to the Axis of Resistance and Multipolar vectors, to get themselves ordered. The use of Abrams becomes something very apparent, not needing explanation or decoding – there is no ‘humanitarian’ veneer or ‘confusion created between the left and anti-imperialists‘ with his appointment. It gives nothing for the European ‘mood’, which is generally center-left, to sink its teeth into.
And this makes sense – the Bolivarian project has been an anti-Monroe project since the start. It sought to remove the U.S as middle-men between Latin America and other trade partners, with a focus on China and Europe.
Thus we can see that the subject of Venezuela is one that drives further divisions in the withering Trans-Atlantic alliance, and then too, it becomes obvious why NATO’s Atlantic Council rag, The Washington Post attacks Trump for being too much a dove in terms of his tempo and unwillingness to commit to military intervention.
Trans-Atlantic, or more clearly, Atlanticist forces in Europe are faced with a very difficult and hard sell when it comes to getting behind any U.S initiative on Venezuela. The banks of Spain, France, and Germany are tremendously happy with Latin American relations that deal with them directly. Just in December 2018, Reuters covered the fact that Swiss private bank Julius Baer (BAER.S) was in talks about transferring its Venezuelan book of business to Spain’s Banco Santander (SAN.MC), as Baer reorganizes operations in Latin America.
What is discussed even less is the fact that Putin’s moves in Venezuela are those which the Europeanist and Eurasianist forces within the EU can get behind, and together these two factions have more economic power than the socio-political power of the Atlanticist vectors in the EU.
The dissatisfaction expressed by the Atlantic Council with Trump’s moves is very much indeed telling. The standard liberal-paradigm critique of leaders, whether corporate or governmental, is that they are ‘stupid’ and ‘ineffective’. This is often a misplaced belief, which takes for granted that the stated goals are the actual goals. It is also based in the liberal tradition of hubris, and a misapplication of the scientific method as applied to natural phenomenon into the humanities. Therefore, the tendency to underestimate Trump, or believe that his moves here or there, which have weakened the U.S empire, not strengthened it, are signs of his own ineptitude is not only a liberal error, but should be contrasted to his own actual campaign message which the same Atlantic Council and Democratic Party perhaps accurately, in some way, described as ‘isolationist’.