A Blockade of Venezuela Must Be Opposed

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

When Trump said he was considering a blockade of Venezuela yesterday, it was possible to dismiss it as a meaningless statement that would have no policy implications. Unfortunately, Trump seems to have meant what he said:

Donald Trump is serious about a possible U.S. blockade of Venezuela, a senior administration official said Friday, saying that the country’s president Nicolas Maduro has a short window to voluntarily leave power.

It sounds like the Trump administration is moving towards military intervention against Venezuela after all. Ever since the failed would-be coup at the end of April, it seemed as if Trump had written off Venezuela and had turned his attention elsewhere. Now it appears that the US could begin imposing a military blockade of the country in the coming months. The humanitarian implications of a blockade alone make it completely unjustifiable. Set aside for a moment the fact that blockading Venezuela serves no US interests and would have no international legitimacy or support, and just consider that it would speed up and exacerbate a likely famine that our government’s sanctions have already hastened. Blockading a country suffering from a major economic and humanitarian crisis would be criminal, and it would inflict even more misery and death on tens of millions of innocent people.

The article adds:

But the official said Trump’s statement should be taken seriously and is the direction US policy is headed with regard to Venezuela. The official asked not to be identified as a condition of participation in a briefing for reporters.

It was just a little over six months ago that the US recklessly took sides in Venezuela’s internal political crisis. Since the start of the regime change policy, the US has imposed cruel sanctions that inflict collective punishment on the population, and it is now heading towards unjustified and illegal military action. This is where misguided meddling in the internal affairs of other countries usually leads, and this is why the US should stay out of the political disputes of other countries.

Congress and the public must oppose any attempt at a blockade by the Trump administration. A blockade of Venezuela won’t make the US or the region more secure, and it is a stepping stone on the path to launching attacks on the Venezuelan government and possible invasion. For the sake of the people of Venezuela, regional stability, and our own interests, we must reject a blockade of Venezuela.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.

14 thoughts on “A Blockade of Venezuela Must Be Opposed”

  1. If President Trump does not want to start a new war before the 2020 election he certainly is roiling up war-like talk and war-like preparations to coincide with the 2020 campaigns. “Do not change your President when we are almost at war” is already a subliminal mantra. This is very dangerous stuff which can slip out of hand at any time.

    So where is his peace-loving base? Absent.
    P.S. In the context of a Venezuelan blockade the government of Curacao is significant. Will it remain neutral or take sides and then which side?

    1. Another possibility is that Trump and his handlers realize that he will probably lose the 2020 election so they need to start their wars now.

      1. DJT would lose the 2020 election, Harold, even if he started his wars now. It doesn’t matter how soon; he’d lose his bid for re-election anyway.

        1. There are people out there claiming the opposite. What matters is how his handlers see the situation, IMO. So if his handlers think he will lose in 2020, he’s more likely to start a war now IMO. He’s also more likely to attack the 2nd amendment now too, IMO, if his handlers think he’s a one term presidential poseur.

    2. “Peace-loving base?”

      Sorry, peace-loving and base are mutually exclusive. Trump’s “America First” campaign is not and never has been “peace-loving.” You can’t threaten and sanction and claim you’re “peace-loving.” In old-school diplomacy, sanctions were an act of war.

  2. I watched President Trump interview on C-SPAN this morning. He talked much staying out of foreign wars. Let’s hope this wasn’t just rhetorical brownie points and that he really means to do so.

  3. It’s a stepping stone to a blockade of Iran. Why the hell can’t people see this obvious fact? Trump undoubtedly got the idea of a blockade of Venezuela because Bolton probably already suggested the same for Iran – which is why the US pushed Britain to seize an Iranian ship and why Trump is pushing for more ships in the Persian Gulf.

    The real target is Iran! Get a clue. Venezuela is just the side-show.

  4. Trump can’t seem to execute a successful intervention all his own, but he’s been caught trying like a motherf*cker. First Korea, then Venezuela, then Iran, now Venezuela again. This assh*le clearly has know idea what he’s doing. He’s hurting a lot of people with his reckless sanctions and blockades, but I have to believe a reasonably sane person would be capable of a lot worse. This is why I still contest that Hillary would have been worse. Her positions on all of these hot-spots is at least as hostile as Trump’s, but her ability to execute these positions is far more exemplary. Voting for Hillary over Trump is kind of like voting for Hannibal Lecter over Multiple Miggs. Both of these options were repulsive but one was certainly more dangerous than the other.

    1. You perhaps have a point, but keep in mind that Hillary may have been competent enough and aware enough that the success of her plans for power demanded that we did not participate in nuclear war, as she may have correctly seen that there was no profit in that.

    2. Kind of makes you wonder, don’t it? If Trump and Clinton were the “best” choices then it says a lot about the state of the American Experiment.

      And trying to justify voting for Trump because Clinton was “worse” is like getting a choice by the scumbag who just broke in your backdoor, “You want me to stick your a$$ or blow you away with my AR-15?” Neither one is good for your long-term prospects.

    3. Hillary would not have been worse, IMO, that’s why Trump’s in the White House and she isn’t. Trump’s an ideologue, a reckless militant zionist extremist, whereas Clinton is just another banal career politician. Our masters need hard core ideologues in the White House like Trump not opportunists like Clinton.

  5. The NFL is just around the corner. Maybe some players will take a knee for the anthem again and Trump can get distracted from doing the blockade. Or maybe another gay woman soccer player can piss him off enough that he’ll spend all his time in twitter wars. His attention span seems short so we can hope.

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