Venezuela Crisis Offers United States No Easy Choice
The United States is treading down a familiar path as tensions with Venezuela heat up. The U.S. has a long, convoluted background of intervening in Latin American governments, boasting direct or indirect participation in at least 41 regime changes in the region. While most of the more controversial instances of U.S. involvement featured the nation’s encouragement of harsher dictators in favor of socialist or communist regimes, many fear that, in the case of Venezuela, history will repeat itself.
So what is the likelihood of the U.S. executing military intervention to overthrow Nicolas Maduro’s corrupt, authoritative government? The world waits with bated breath as the man in charge of this decision — President Donald Trump, infamously known for his overzealous nationalism and hubris — seeks to solidify the U.S. as the sole superpower.
While Trump wants "a peaceful transition of power,” he has also relayed that all options are open, suggesting that the United States is prepared to carry out a military intervention should Maduro refuse to step down. Maduro has labeled Juan Guaidó, the progressive opponent who is globally recognized as Venezuela’s interim president, a servant of the U.S. and responsible for the oil sanctions that have contributed to the nation’s economic issues.
The President’s decision will regardless mark his administration as hypocritical. Trump directing the U.S. to assume its role as a champion of democracy would necessarily bypass the wishes of other ignoring other authoritative ally governments. On the other hand, staying out of Latin American affairs would essentially amount to turning a blind eye toward the human rights atrocities taking place under Maduro’s oppressive rule.
In taking a stand against fascism, Trump can possibly debunk his critics’ comparisons of his governmental administration to authoritarian, right-wing political systems. However, his attempt to end Maduro’s reign, one marked with corruption and human rights violations, will stain his administration with hypocrisy as the President and his advisors ignore the abuses of other American allies, including Saudi Arabia.
Senator Bernie Sanders is one of many vocal politicians discouraging military intervention, fearing that any direct participation in the regime change will prove to be a slippery slope. Among the many risks of military intervention in Venezuela, there is a chance that the U.S. could end up making things worse for Venezuelans. American interventions in the 1960s saw the country overthrow nine of the governments that fell to military rule. By not getting involved, though, the U.S. runs the risk of losing its self-proclaimed identity of supporting and protecting democracy and defending human rights across the globe.
The atmosphere in which the U.S. intervened previously in Latin America was the result of global strategy to secure global power, specifically during the Cold War, and attempts to garner domestic support for the government. Trump’s isolationist political policies and nationalist vision for the U.S. might be a sign of non-intervention, but his detractors in government, growing in number, could complicate the conversation.
Trump’s abrasive stature, xenophobic political campaign, and unwavering opinions regarding domestic policy suggest that no one will be able to predict the likelihood of military intervention. One thing we can know for sure, though, is that we will first hear of his decision via Twitter.