Published:  01:00 AM, 13 August 2017

Trump is unwise to threaten Venezuela


US President Donald Trump has now threatened military action against Venezuela. Coming on the heels of his ongoing spat with North Korea, the American leader's threat of exercising a military option against Caracas is worrying to the point of being outrageous. The fact of the matter is that Venezuela has been going through a grave political crisis of late, not least because of President Nicolas Maduro's arbitrary exercise of power. He has rammed though constitutional changes despite large scale opposition to the measure. The political opposition has been intimidated while in recent months the economy has taken a steep slide.

There is little doubt, of course, about the involvement of outside powers in an escalation of the crisis in Caracas. Given that Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, have both propagated and implemented programmes with a distinctive socialist hue, one they have described as a Bolivarian revolution, it is natural to expect the forces of capitalism to attempt to undermine the programmes.

There is the record of the past, when successive American administrations tried to destabilize countries like Cuba. Surely the worst instance of how a nation in Latin America was brought to its knees through foreign support for internal subversion is Chile, whose elected socialist president Salvador Allende was overthrown and murdered in September 1973. At the time, it was the Nixon-Kissinger team which decided to make the Chilean economy scream, in other words, doing everything possible to remove the Allende government from the scene.

Fortunately for the world, these are not the 1960s or 1970s. Global perspectives on politics have changed in unimaginable and sometimes dramatic ways. Unfortunately for America, its current leader does not seem to grasp that reality. Or might one ask if he grasps the realities of foreign policy at all? Whatever be the response, the fact remains that the Trump administration will be making a grave mistake if it means to strike Venezuela.

The consequences will be felt all across the world. Through stating his intention of taking military action against Venezuela, President Trump has clearly interfered in the country's domestic politics. It is a step that must be condemned by the world and by politically conscious Americans as well.



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