There are a number of reasons why the current crisis in Venezuela is very interesting and could have far-reaching political consequences. The US has always looked at Latin America as its “fiefdom” in which they are free to establish rules and to punish for disobedience of the disobedient. The Monroe doctrine in 1823 had actually introduced a model of “limited sovereignty”, which became even more relevant during the cold war.
Objectively speaking, the geopolitical logic of the US it is possible to understand that Latin America is their “garden”, a strategically important region close to us borders. American investment in the economies of Latin American countries is huge, their elite many generations were educated in the United States, Americans for centuries have trained military in the region and supplied with Latin American countries weapons. There is a considerable technological complication in the region on the United States.
In addition, Venezuela is one of the main suppliers of oil to the United States. While Americans are extremely annoying not only the independence of the Venezuelan foreign policy, but also left-wing reforms of the last 20 years the governments of Chavez and Maduro, and the increasing political, economic and military presence in the country of Russia and China. It is important here and active cooperation of Venezuela and Cuba.
C the end of the cold war, the Americans had originally decided to at least formally comply with the “rules of the game” and not to overthrow democratically elected governments in the region, using other, more flexible methods of influence on the situation in individual countries of Latin America. Exceptions were unsuccessful attempted coups in Honduras in 2009 and again in Venezuela (against Chavez) in 2002. From this point of view, the attempt to offset Maduro is relatively unusual for a new American policy in the region and could mark the next revision of the regional strategy.
Another specific feature of the current situation in Venezuela is that it is an eclectic mix of approaches used by States in several Latin American countries in the last 60 years. A failed gamble with the landing group, the contras at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, is widely known. The logic of the CIA behind the action – no one was hoping that this group will be able to deploy a large-scale operation to fight the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. It was assumed that she would be able to gain a foothold in the limited territory to proclaim an alternative government, which will be immediately recognized by Washington and asked about the introduction of American troops to “support the legitimate government”. Gamble scandalously failed, but the idea of creating a fake “alternative government” was enduring and repeated now in Caracas in the form of a constitutional coup.
The precedent for the current US tactics are and the events in Chile in 1973. Older people remember well telecapri of those days – well-fed, clearly not crushed by the work of Housewives from wealthy families demonstrate, loudly banging pots and pans and screaming about how they are starving on the streets of Santiago. The same tactic is used today – economic sanctions imposed deliberately destabilizes the economic situation in the country, already weakened by government experiments “bolyarsko socialism” in order to accuse Maduro of inefficiency and cause discontent among the population (however, even today, opponents of Maduro failed to push him lower strata of the population, constituting the majority in this developing country – these people remember what Chavez and Maduro have given them access to education and healthcare, dramatically improved living conditions).
The third model is still at an embryonic stage – it is based on the experience of the Panama operation in 1989. If the first two options don’t work, provoked outbreaks of violence are attacked on members of the opposition or provoked attacks on American citizens.
Against this background, under the pretext necessary to restore order and ensure the safety of U.S. citizens can begin the American intervention.
The first two of these models in Venezuela have already been tested, not too successfully. The question is whether trying to advance to third. And here again there arise two interesting questions. Coups in Latin America are usually possible, if the government turns the armed forces – as long as it continues to support Maduro. Moreover, in 2002, it was the support of the military saved Hugo Chavez and prevented the success of the first coup, prepared from the outside. The question will remain whether this support and whether the United States to offer military leadership “gingerbread”, is able to change his views?
The second question concerns the President of the United States. Donald trump came to the White house two years ago, is surrounded by right wing political reformers, firmly tuned to radically revise both domestic and foreign policy of the United States. In foreign policy, this new approach was based on the rejection of interventionism, focusing on internal growth, the recognition that the world system shifted from the North Atlantic to the Pacific basin, and the perception of China as a major geopolitical threat to the United States.
The latter meant that the U.S. had to build a new system aimed at deterring China, which meant improving relations with Russia, the natural counterweight to China. Hence the beginning of a tariff war against China, the destabilization of the WTO system and free trade in General, which were seen as favourable to China than to the United States.
But trump is not without reason the American elite perceived as a systemic threat, were under continuous attack. He was not able to implement many of their ideas (and the biggest was resistance to his efforts to improve Russian-American relations). Gradually, the majority of right-wing reformers left his entourage (especially the big loss was the departure of Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorki) and in their place came the traditional neo-interventionists such as John Bolton, the current adviser to the President on national security.
Coupled with the loss of Republican control of the House of representatives in November 2018, the approach of presidential primaries, the growing instability on the stock exchange, the relatively low presidential ratings, and the continuous attacks on trump’s political establishment and “elite” media, it strengthens the position of those who urged the President to initiate his “small victorious war”.
After all, trump is the first two generations of the American President, who still has not started any new military intervention.
The President is here between two fires – to put pressure on him as a traditional American right are dreaming about a demonstration of American power and the overthrow of recalcitrant regimes, the Democrats who hope in this way to force the President to break his campaign promises, to draw him into a long military conflict. To politically discredit and weaken it ahead of a new presidential election campaign. Trump probably realizes that the game is played not only against Maduro, but against himself, and therefore continues, making loud political statements, to figure out all the options.
The current situation has other, broader international dimension. The world community was split against Venezuela. The US supported Canada, Brazil and many countries in Europe and Latin America. But the unity here, however. Many right-wing governments in Europe, including Italy – a country where the government is very close to the Trump ideologically, were sceptical about the attempts to “find Venezuela another wife”.
More importantly, the position of the new, leftist President of Mexico lópez Obrador – he understands that if we assume essentially a constitutional coup in Venezuela, Mexico may be the next. In addition, the confrontation between Trump is a win-win game for any Mexican policy in the context of growing tensions between the U.S. and Mexico on issues such as migration, trade tariffs, and many others. About the same thinks and President Erdogan of Turkey.
But, of course, a key role is played by the positions of Russia and China. These countries in recent years actively collaborated with Venezuela, while the volume of Chinese investments in the economy of Venezuela is higher than Russia’s by almost five times. However, China is very careful in its actions because it is already under American pressure and did not want to give Trump another reason to blame yourself in the growing expansionism.
Therefore, even though China could easily offset the loss of Venezuela the U.S. oil market, it is unlikely he will make demonstrative steps that could further aggravate Sino-American relations. Therefore, the initiative in support of Maduro apparently will remain in the hands of Russia. Though behind China in terms of investment, Russia remains the main supplier of weapons to Venezuela (the total volume of sales of Russian arms to Venezuela is about $ 12 billion). Significant Russian investment in oil and other sectors of the Venezuelan economy.
The current situation involves many unknowns related to the actions of players both inside Venezuela and in the United States, Russia, China and several other countries. Therefore, as the course of the conflict and its outcome may have global significance. There will be an answer to the question whether the return of American policy to the rails of the traditional Imperial interventionism or go the other way.
The crisis and its outcome can have a serious impact on the political situation in the United States. Significant role belongs to the potential of “controlled crisis”. The chance of a political provocation aimed at drawing the administration of the tramp in a military conflict, is big enough – because the dynamics of the Venezuelan situation in the long term to decide the fate as Maduro and the tramp.
Andrei Korobkov, LOOK