Trump Bows to Reality, Stands Down on Venezuela

By Doug Bandow

Remember when President Donald Trump faced down the Russians over their meddling in Venezuela? That was the moment American progressives finally stopped calling him a Putin stooge. Neoconservatives, long suspicious of Trump’s reluctance to use force, at last abandoned Never Trumpism. As the hawks predicted, Moscow quickly caved to the administration’s demands.

Remember when? Actually, it never happened.

Five months ago, after Russia tightened military ties with Venezuela, the president and his colleagues talked a good game, breathing fire and fury against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Why, Venezuela was in American’s most important sphere of interest, and that’s saying something given that Washington treats the entire world as one gigantic sphere of interest.

Then nothing happened. Nicolás Maduro—remember him?—remains in power. Moscow continues to back the Maduro regime. And Russia maintains its Western Hemisphere military outpost. What happened to the tough crew that took over in Washington? The administration just stopped talking about what was once one of its most vigorous foreign policy initiatives.

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In fact, the president’s botched policy towards Caracas offers important lessons for the future.

First, regime change ain’t easy. It’s hard to imagine a less competent government than the one in Venezuela. A kleptocratic, statist political class had misgoverned the country, …read more

Source:: The American Conservative

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